How do I know I’ll get ROI from translating L&D programmes?

Posted: 11 Sep 2023

When you’re new to translating your organisation’s learning and training programmes, it can be challenging to know whether you’ll get a return on investment (ROI) from multilingual translations.

Your gut instinct might be that you will, having read about the benefits of translating L&D programmes on blogs like this one. However, if a budget holder asks you for reassurance that this investment is money well spent, how can you convince them?

Did you know your organisation is missing out by not translating L&D programmes?

In our guide The business benefits of multilingual training programmes (if you haven’t got a copy download our free guide today), we share some interesting facts from a survey by Forbes Insight and Rosetta Stone Business.

One statistic stands out:

67% of respondents said that a language barrier caused significant inefficiencies, lack of productivity, weak collaboration and poor engagement.

Therefore by not providing your learning and training content in the global languages of your organisation, your global staff are probably not engaging with the learning programmes and therefore learnings are not being implemented.

If you’re measuring L&D performance metrics, you may already be realising this and seeing that language barriers are currently having an impact on your global employees’ performance.

By segmenting your data by country, you can measure how your non-translated L&D programmes perform – using the UK workforce to benchmark the performance of your English language training materials in other markets. It’s likely that even when staff in an overseas market have high levels of English proficiency, learner engagement and other metrics will be lower than the UK scores.

With this information, it becomes easier to make a case for investing in translation. These insights can also help you prioritise the markets that would most benefit from localised learning and development programmes.

For many organisations who have made an investment in developing learning programmes for its global staff, the next step will be to translate the content.

If you choose to translate your learning content, here’s the ROI you can expect

  • Better learner outcomes and skills development
  • Higher levels of employee engagement and retention
  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced collaboration between markets
  • Greater adoption of Heath & Safety and legal requirements
  • Increased competitive advantage

Get culturally savvy from the get-go

Before diving in and starting all the content work, it might be a good idea to go back a step… Reflecting on how different cultures like to learn and receive information is just one consideration. Throw in local sensitivities, be it customs, holidays and celebrations, religious views, and you know that there is some homework to do. Cultural competence is going to be the key to unlocking great engagement for all learners, regardless of their location, ultimately leading to much better learning outcomes.

In our webinar Cultural Awareness: Ensuring your learning is truly inclusive, together with Comtec’s Cultural Services Partner, Jessica Rathke, I look at how businesses can meet the L&D expectations of modern day’s diverse workforce.

Proving that you made the right decision

Once you have an agreement to translate a programme, you then have an opportunity to measure the ROI, which can then support future translation projects.

Many of the L&D teams we work with build their measurement metrics into their programmes, for example, by taking employees to a survey on completion of a module. These surveys, feedback forms and post-training quizzes are also translated and localised for each market to boost participation.

Some clients go further and use split-testing to measure the performance of English and localised versions in the same market. Split-testing provides them with some beneficial insights into how effective multilingual content is for their organisation.

Please get in touch with me if you are struggling to understand the potential ROI or need help convincing other decision-makers.

I hope the information above has given you a few ideas of how to make the case for translating L&D programmes and show that positive ROI is well within your grasp.

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

For further info on how we can help you with your translation queries or requirements, please give our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email We’re always happy to talk translation!