Tatsusaburo is the safety training manager of a renowned Japanese heavy electrical equipment manufacturer. Recently, his company set up production facilities in three Indian states. Tatsusaburo’s boss asked him to get the content of their online safety courses translated into the native languages of the company’s Indian workforce.
Gerhard is the product training chief of a German multinational automaker. A few months ago, his company set up a production unit in India, and the first batch of cars from the unit will be rolled out next month. Gerhard was assigned the task of rendering online learning materials, for training the company’s service technicians in the south Asian country in their native languages.
Tatsusaburo and Gerhard are not alone. Training managers of most companies, which have expanded their operations to India need to translate their e-learning content for training their non-English speaking workforce in the country. Although a large number of Indians speak English, they constitute only a small percentage of the country’s population. The fact that twenty two languages and dozens of dialects are spoken in the country only serves to complicate the problem.
How can you translate your online learning materials into Indian languages, effectively, at low cost? You need to focus on 3 key aspects. Let us see what they are.
Determine the languages into which you need to translate your web-based courses
It is true that India is home to several languages. But, this does not mean that you need to render your online learning content into all the languages spoken in the country. The choice of the languages into which you must translate your e-learning courses must depend on where you operate and the languages spoken by the majority of your workforce. For instance, one of our clients, a food processing company, opened a production unit in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The client found that it would suffice to render its technology-enabled learning materials into Telugu, the language spoken by the majority of employees in that state.
You also need to remember that it is better to translate online learning content into the most widely accepted form of a language. One of our clients in the FMCG sector operates its packaging facilities in three Indian states viz. Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana. Employees working in all the three facilities speak Hindi, albeit different dialects of the language. The company translated its technology-enabled learning content into the standard form of Hindi, and the content is easily understood by its workforce in the three states.
Use the services of qualified, professional translators – not bilingual Indians
It is important to keep in mind that the mere ability to speak two languages does not qualify a person to translate e-learning content. Translation is a specialized field of activity, and rendering online courses takes much more than the ability to speak the source and target languages.
Hundreds of thousands of people in India speak both their mother tongue and English. However, most of these people lack knowledge of the terminology needed to produce a high-quality translation of a web-based course.
For example, consider the sentence Photosynthesis is the process of converting energy from sunlight. To produce an accurate translation of the sentence, a person must know the exact equivalent of the term photosynthesis in his native language. Only experts in translation, well-versed in the terminology of both English and the target Indian language can render the sentence correctly. We will see more about the need for hiring specialists in the next point.
Hire a firm that has translated online courses into Indian languages for companies in your industry
Ensure that you partner with a reputed translator who has at least a decade of experience working for companies in your industry. This goes a long way in ensuring the quality of your e-learning course translation. For instance, if your need to render the content of your web-based product training resources in Hindi, ensure that the translator you hire has a proven track record of rendering similar courses in Indian languages for organizations in your industry.
Unfortunately, only a very few firms have the expertise in providing good online course translation services in Indian languages to companies in specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, petrochemicals and so on. It is important that you outsource your e-learning translation project to an experienced vendor, whose “core business” is rendering web-based learning content in Indian languages. This helps you get the best ROI on your translation dollar as the vendor can complete the project rapidly, with minimum cost, while ensuring the highest quality.