Our top tips for collaborating with global teams to translate learning and training content

After weeks spent developing and translating a new series of training programmes, you’re finally ready to launch across the international offices. You heave a sigh of relief as you hit send on your email to the local market. However, within days you’re caught in a storm of feedback, multiple revisions and back and forth with the local market teams. You’re told that the title doesn’t make sense in Spanish and the Italian team aren’t happy with the style of writing.

Now you need to wade through the responses and make sense of revisions. Both teams are frustrated and time feels wasted.

We’ve heard this story from several clients over the years. Getting feedback from multiple parties can escalate, let alone when you add in sensitivities around different languages and cultures. Multiple revisions are not only time-consuming and costly, but demoralising for everyone involved. There are ways to make the process a lot less painful, though.

Here are three tips you might find helpful when collaborating with your colleagues in the local market to produce multilingual L&D programmes.

There’s no I in team – except in French (équipe)

Getting your local market counterpart involved sooner rather than later can save time further down the line. By working together from the start, both teams benefit from each other’s knowledge. It also sets the foundation for collaboration, making everyone feel involved and accountable.

Once the English version of your L&D programme is finalised, share it with an English speaking local market team member. Ask your colleague to look for any potential issues that could arise in the translation of the content.

When we say content, we mean everything, from the words on the page to the tone, layout, style and imagery. Your local market colleague should have a better grasp on cultural or demographic nuances. It might be something as small as changing a photograph or more complex, like replacing a learning module with one more fitting for their market. Make the most of your bilingual colleague and spot these potential conflicts early to save time later.

Agree on review guidelines

Get the feedback you need by agreeing what this covers early on. This might include feedback on key terminology, cultural differences to be aware of, style, tone and imagery.

You can’t expect local market teams to be mind readers – let alone in a different language. Agreeing review guidelines beforehand provides a framework for the review team to work to.

This is hugely beneficial when you have multiple team members working on one programme, or a series of different programmes being edited at once.

We suggest making the guidelines another point of collaboration. That way you can agree on terminology and style from the off.

Speak to your translation partner

An experienced translation team can work between the local market colleagues and the central team, to ensure the needs of both teams are heard and resolved.

Your translation partner will listen to any considerations the local market team has from the start to align these objectives. They’ll take on board the local market feedback and ensure that they’re kept in the loop throughout the translation and localisation process.

By promoting good communications with all parties, and taking a collaborative approach in translating your learning and training content, you’ll build trust and get the multilingual versions of your programmes signed off with the minimum of stress.

Please don’t forget to get your copy of our latest translation guide for L&D teams. If you think there’s scope to improve the effectiveness of your multilingual L&D programmes, this guide will help you identify where there’s room for improvement. Download your copy today.

 

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