Large MNCs roll out many eLearning programs for their employees spread across the world. In some cases, a standard course developed in English might be sufficient but in certain training programs, it is preferable to get the courses translated into the language the learners are most proficient with. Accurate comprehension of the content is crucial for effective knowledge transfer in certain critical training programs. Let’s see what they are.
You may be an MNC with offices spread across different countries. You would like to roll out a common ‘Ethics training program’ to sensitize employees about respecting company values, integrity, work ethics and operational excellence. If majority of your target audience do not speak English or if English is not their primary language, you may want to reach out to them in their native language so that they can comprehend the subject matter in a better manner. This is an important consideration when dealing with sensitive subjects such as ethics because the meaning of certain content can be construed differently in different regions. Therefore, ethics training is one category of eLearning or training program that needs to be translated.
Work place harassment/sexual harassment prevention training:
It is important to convey the accurate and correct message about an organization’s policies with respect to work place harassment or sexual harassment. What is acceptable in some countries may be objectionable in others. In such situations, training has to be comprehensive to incorporate a wide cross section of employees. It is always the best practice that the original version is developed first in English keeping in mind that the course has to be translated into multiple languages. It is called internationalization of the course before being translated into other languages. Just as ethics training, there is a possibility for misunderstanding and wrongly interpreting content in workplace/sexual harassment training as well and hence it is best deployed to employees in the language they are most comfortable with.
One of the trainers who had gone to China to train employees about eco products says, despite all efforts “there is always an ample opportunity for miscommunication and confusion”. He goes on to share how the word ‘paint’ in mandarin can be interchangeable with ‘label’ resulting in some confusion in the minds of learners about what the trainer intended to say. Therefore, an eLearning course can yield effective results when it is deployed in the local language so that that the workforce completely understands sustainability and endorses the organization’s sustainability policy.
The objective of compliance training is to ensure that the employees adhere to the stipulated rules and regulations. We know that individuals learn best in their native language and therefore, it helps to train employees in their native language regarding compliance and regulatory matters.
Safety training is very important both for employees and organizations. When matters related to safety are involved, it is an absolute necessity that the employees understand the safety precautions that are involved in a process or procedure. An eLearning course in English may not always be well understood and therefore it needs to be translated into the native language of the employee, who is expected to adhere to the safety norms.
Other eLearning courses for product/process training or training for healthcare providers also require translation because one cannot afford to have key points misunderstood or misinterpreted. Very often, trainings are conducted locally by managers or local partners but some aspects may be left out or overlooked and the head office may not have any control over the quality of the training program being delivered. Therefore, it is advisable that the courses are centrally developed and translated into local languages for consistency of message and quality.
Have you come across instances where courses in English language had poor enrolment but when they were offered in native languages it was received better? Would love to hear such experiences. Do share them here.