Overcoming the challenges to delivering multilingual eLearning content – learner engagement

Working with eLearning agencies who support organisations across many different sectors, I find they are often united by the same challenges. These can be many, from adapting digital learning to the millennial mindset and demonstrating value to leadership, to improving and quantifying training effectiveness.

These challenges multiply when creating eLearning for a global organisation, as content needs to be developed for different markets. A key question is how to ensure that eLearning content created in English is just as effective in France, Spain, India, Mexico or wherever your clients’ global colleagues are based.

Working with a translation partner can help you support your clients’ L&D departments to overcome the challenge of global learner engagement. Below I discuss how we can help you enhance engagement and improve learning effectiveness.

Learner engagement – making global staff want to learn

A lot of global companies have adopted an official corporate language (English) to simplify communications between different locations and teams. This can be very effective for Town Hall meetings and other situations where participants have a good level of proficiency in English and interpreters can be deployed where necessary. But what about for eLearning content?

Even when staff are fluent in English, untranslated content can be a barrier to engagement. Learners are put off engaging with untranslated eLearning content because it isn’t as easily accessible as content delivered in their native language. Besides, when there are varying levels of English proficiency, there is scope for misinterpretation and misunderstandings, which potentially could have very negative outcomes if you’re communicating important or sensitive information – such as compliance-based learning content.

According to a survey by Forbes Insights and Rosetta Stone Business, language barriers can have a significant impact on productivity, collaboration and engagement. 67% of those companies surveyed said that miscommunication due to language barriers contributes to inefficiencies, and 42% said that productivity is lower than it should be when communications are not delivered in the workforces’ mother tongue.

Therefore, it should be relatively easy to quantify training effectiveness and the value of localised training to your clients and their leadership team.

Making your content translation-friendly to maximise engagement

As with any training content, there are cultural preferences as well as language requirements to factor into translating eLearning content. These projects are inherently complex with multiple types of content to create and then localise for global markets, so it’s important to partner with a translation company with the right experience in digital learning and the technology involved.

Building a relationship with a translation partner you can trust to take care of the project in its entirety (including full translation, voiceover, subtitling, rebuilding modules and implementation) will give you peace of mind that your digital learning content is just as engaging in multiple languages as it is in English.

If you’re in the privileged position of knowing your project will be translated before you have even created the English master, you can also get ahead by developing translation-friendly content from the start. Avoiding cultural references such as seasonal events or celebrities in favour of alternatives that have a cross-market appeal will make the translation process more straightforward without impairing the learner’s engagement. Avoiding slang and idiomatic expressions and considering the tone of voice used across different markets will also ensure your translated content will be just as effective as the English.

Learner engagement is a challenge for eLearning professionals but engaging global learners around the world can be so much easier if you have the right support in place. Expert support from a translation partner can make a big difference to learner engagement, ensuring that training content is localised effectively and delivers the results you need.

If you’re looking for more tips for creating engaging eLearning content for a global workforce and managing multilingual eLearning projects, click here to download our Ultimate Guide.

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