Four reasons to translate your e-learning content

If you want to learn something properly, you need to go in-depth. Doing that is easiest in your native language – which is why it makes sense to translate the content of online courses. Today, we’ll go through a few more reasons in favor of this, and explain why it involves more than just having content in the right language.

900% growth in the last 20 years and an estimated market volume of USD 300 billion by 2025: there’s no doubt that online learning is booming. After the pandemic-related boost, everyone who has an internet connection is learning online. Educational and training content is piling up at companies – whether it’s interactive onboarding sessions, online training courses, IT and security regulations, or explanatory videos to show off products and services to customers.

But who does this content reach and what effect does it have? If you want people with a range of linguistic backgrounds and cultures to get the most out of it, the answer is clear: go for localization and you’ll achieve a greater impact. For a variety of reasons.

1. There’s a real learning effect involved.

According to a study by CSA Research, a full 90% of people are only able to fully engage with content if it’s in their native language. And this kind of engagement is vital when it comes to learning. If you want to not only achieve (short-term) memorization, but also fully understand and utilize the information – when you need it to click – you have to engage intensively with it.

When it comes to e-learning, this means that people will probably still read through your learning content in a foreign language. But they will only properly retain it in the long term if you speak their native language.

2. Make learning authentic – localization gets to the (right) point.

Online courses include not only text, but also graphics, symbols, icons and other visual elements. These must also be adjusted to the native language and culture. Why? They’re what determine if a user finds their experience of the content authentic. The thumbs-up or the stop sign – two commonly used symbols in online trainings – are anything but universal in meaning. And that’s without starting on images integrated into the program. If they show unfamiliar places or unfamiliar situations, they may not be the best fit for your audience.

Learning habits can also differ fundamentally from a cultural point of view. For example, in the Netherlands, students prefer their learning content to relate to everyday examples, while in Japan, students like focusing on theory with a lot of intermediate tests. In Australia, by contrast, no lesson starts without repeating old material. And even the way you ask questions differs around the world. These are all reasons why localization is worthwhile – it takes cultural norms into account and makes learning natural.

3. New markets are opening up – and so are wallets.

Globally speaking, English learning content reaches 20% of all people. That might sound good at first glance, but in the US, for example, over 65 million people speak a language other than English at home. And when it comes to learning, it’s the most familiar language that counts. With each additional language, you not only improve the learning experience of a large target group, but also maximize your international success.

This is important if you’re addressing multilingual teams as an international company, but even more so if you want to sell something to your customers, such as business tutorials or explanatory videos. According to CSA Research, 40% of people won’t buy anything if they don’t have information in their native language. If you want to have an effective impact in a market, there’s no alternative to translation.

4. Employees and customers are happier.

Authenticity is appealing and leaves a positive impression. The people around you will feel that you want to provide them with a natural and enjoyable learning experience. This makes them feel taken seriously and valued which, in turn, will increase their engagement with future content.

This also makes localization a powerful tool in the retention phase of the sales process – when you want people to commit to your company in the long term. If you want employees to stay and customers to return, localized learning experiences can tip the scales.

Cover image via Pixabay



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