The influence of geographical borders and the location of people is less important now than ever before. One of the results of this new business reality is that more and more organisations are creating multilingual, multinational corporate training, i.e., training and e-learning content that is suitable for staff in multiple locations.
Multilingual, multinational training content is even beneficial for people who speak the language of the original training course, albeit as a second language. Those people might only have a conversational level of skill in the original language, for example.
Even if they have a good level of understanding, it doesn’t mean they have enough knowledge of the language to learn complex topics or those that include legal or regulatory elements.
So, with multilingual, multinational corporate training becoming more important, how do you get the best results?
Consider Translation and Localisation from the Outset
One of the biggest mistakes when translating and localising corporate training is to leave any consideration of the process until after the original content is created. The best approach is to think about translation and localisation at the outset of developing an e-learning course.
Take videos and animations as examples. Videos and animations can be very helpful in explaining topics regardless of the language spoken or location of the learner. However, videos and animations can also be costly to produce, as text, voiceovers, and other elements will need to be changed for each translated version of the course.
Therefore, a plan needs to be put in place for videos, animations, and all other elements of the course to make translation and localisation as smooth and cost-effective as possible.
Sticking with the example of videos and animations, there are multiple approaches that can be taken, including the following:
- Translate and localise all the text on the screen and the voiceover
- Use transferrable language in text and voiceover scripts, i.e., language that avoids slang, idioms, and local references, as well as (when possible) industry terms and jargon
- Eliminate either text on the screen or the voiceover so only one requires translation/localisation
- Eliminate both the text on the screen and the voiceover
- Choose another method to explain the point – a method that is easier, quicker, and less costly to translate and localise
Use People for Translating and Localising
There are tools available that will automatically translate text from one language to another. However, those tools are rarely suitable for corporate training, particularly in relation to localisation.
After all, translating text is one thing – making e-learning content as relevant and understandable as possible is another. People are better for the latter, so human translations are the best approach for corporate training.
Get the Right Expertise
Creating high-quality multilingual, multinational corporate training requires expertise in developing e-learning courses, as well as knowledge and experience in translation and localisation. Specifically, translation and localisation knowledge and experience relevant to the languages and geographical locations that you need.
Getting this expertise will ensure the process is as smooth as possible. For example, your team might not be aware of a particular cultural sensitivity in a certain location. In this situation, you will benefit from expert advice.
It is also helpful to include team members in the development process who are in a different location or who speak a different language. They will be familiar with your company and what you are working to achieve, so they will be able to provide advice and input on the translation and localisation process.
Consider Language Variations
There is not one version of English that every English speaker around the world uses. The same applies to Arabic and other languages, as it is common to have variations and differences in pronunciation and word usage. This could apply between countries, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It can even apply within the same country, as language can vary from region to region.
It’s important to understand these differences and how they will impact your strategy for creating multilingual, multinational e-learning content.
Finalise the Master Version Before Translating
There is no point in translating and localising e-learning content when it is still going through review stages, as you will have to repeat the process again. This will increase the cost of translation.
The best approach is to finalise the original version of the e-learning course before it is sent for translation and localisation. This includes getting sign-off from all relevant stakeholders.
Consider Future Updates
One of the benefits of e-learning over other corporate training delivery methods is the ability to change the content and then distribute the updated version. This is important as most corporate training topics change over time as existing information evolves and new information becomes available.
With multilingual, multinational corporate training, you won’t have one version of the course. Instead, you will have multiple versions for all the languages and/or geographical locations you have targeted. This point should be considered in the planning stage of your e-learning course.
Getting the Strategy Right
In a future blog, we are going to highlight the main content and design best practices when creating a multilingual, multinational e-learning course. However, as with all aspects of corporate training, proper and effective planning is essential.
With multilingual, multinational corporate training, that means planning the original version of the course. It also means planning for the translation and localisation phases at the same time. This approach will deliver the best results, and the above tips will help.
Author Damian Hehir linkedin.com/in/damianhehir