Mastering multilingual L&D: How to ensure efficient and high-quality translations of your training content

Posted: 11 Sep 2023

Are you looking for efficiency in developing multilingual L&D content?

Striking a balance between speedy turnaround times and high-quality translations continues to be high on the wish list for our L&D clients.

Comtec has recently been collaborating with a rapidly expanding company, which was initially managing the translation of content for new international markets in-house through in-market employees. Limited professional experience in translation led to inefficiencies and low engagement with the translated content.

Seeking a solution, they turned to Comtec for help, and based on this experience we’ve prepared our top four recommendations to help others navigate the same hurdles.

Free multilingual localisation guide

But first, as well as the tips below, check out our eL-learning and training translation guide. It shares more tips for speeding up turnaround times; download your copy here.

Tip 1: Create translation-friendly content

Preparing your eLearning content for translation is an essential step that can often be overlooked. There are two ways to do it:

  1. Avoid culturally specific references
    If speed is the priority, any content that doesn’t readily translate into another language or is too culturally specific should be avoided. Tricky translation content includes idioms and puns, references to local public figures, holidays and landmarks, and popular culture references.
  2. Build in a pre-translation localisation step
    Before your content is shared for translation, ask your translation partner or in-market colleagues to review the English master, highlighting and replacing any culturally specific references with more appropriate local equivalents. Doing this helps to ensure the translated content is equally engaging for the learner, regardless of the language.

Check out this article, which shares tips on how to collaborate on feedback with multilingual teams.

A quick note on culture

Culture plays a huge role in how people learn and interact with training programs.

Check out our webinar, Cultural Awareness: Ensuring your learning is truly inclusive, to see how different cultural groups learn differently and how improving your cultural competence can improve learning outcomes.

Tip 2: Avoid text-based images or videos

It’s true, images and videos can add life and colour to your learning content.

However, they can also add time to your translation project schedule, as additional services such as desktop publishing or video editing are required to insert the translations.

Consider replacing these with image captions or subtitles/transcripts, which can be translated more quickly.

Tip 3: Get your local market review teams on board in advance

Having the right people on your local market review teams makes such a difference to the time it takes to get translations approved and the quality of the final translations. Ideally, they should be native speakers who work in the market and understand the objectives of the training content.

Involve them from the start to help you develop content, create style guides and glossaries of terminology, and agree on review guidelines. This way, everyone can share their input and give the translation team all the information they need to do a great job.

Getting your local market reviewers on board earlier in the process reduces review cycles and revisions later in the project.

Tip 4: Centralise your translations for fewer headaches

We recommend centralising all translations instead of using a different localisation partner or colleague in each market.

Working with multiple providers increases the risk of inconsistencies, quality issues, and diverging timelines, making tight deadlines an even greater challenge.

Tip 5: Work with an eLearning translation partner who supports you

The processes you establish are crucial for fast and efficient translations; ideally, you want to arrive at a process that everyone understands and adheres to so that things run smoothly for each project.

Speak to your existing translation partner about how you work and how they can support you. Ask them to review your internal process and see if they can spot any ways to help you save time.

They should also be able to help you with the tech side of things, from authoring tools and how they work, both in terms of handling export files and the technical quality of their rebuild services.

How Comtec can help

While the above tips cover a lot of the ways you can streamline a translation project, there can be much more to consider, such as text expansion, fonts, special characters, and other technical considerations, all of which have the potential to slow down the translation process if they’re not anticipated.

To help, we’ve created a free-to-download guide to support your next steps in L&D translations. It’s packed with tips and advice!

If you have any specific questions or for more info on how we can help you with your translation queries or requirements, please call our friendly team at +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email

We have more than 40 years of experience in helping clients deliver the highest quality translations and have deep expertise in the eLearning industry. Some of the services we offer have been tailored specifically to the L&D industry, such as eLearning module translation and eLearning video localisation, including synthetic voiceover.

We’ve learnt a lot along the way and are always happy to share our knowledge. Plus, we were also the first translation company in the UK to become B Corp certified!

So get in touch – we’re always happy to talk translation.