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Translating for E-Learning: The Future of Multilingual Education

Education is changing rapidly to keep pace with the digital world. Available anytime from any device that has internet access, e-learning platforms are allowing institutions to reach exponentially wider audiences than traditional methods of education and training. For organizations with global audiences, however, language barriers pose significant obstacles to creating content for e-learning platforms. This is where the role of translation becomes crucial.

As e-learning grows in popularity, many organizations face an increasing need to translate and localize their content. This can be extremely difficult for many educational organizations that create their content in-house. Language translations take time, effort, and expertise. If an organization needs additional resources to create multilingual communication, the best choice is to hire a translation and localization service.

Benefits of Translated E-Learning Materials

E-learning provides a way for people all over the world to hone their skills and learn new ones. Offering broadly available e-learning opportunities benefits educational organizations as well as companies that need skilled workers. Because one of the greatest benefits of e-learning content is its ability to reach geographically dispersed populations, translation is essential. As you make your content available in more languages, your audience and impact grow.

Learners perform best in their first language.

According to UNESCO, 40% of the world’s population does not have access to education in a language that they speak or understand. When learners don’t have access to content in their native language, they face increased risks of dropout and learning loss. Providing access to educational or training materials in learners’ mother tongue increases the likelihood of favorable outcomes.

Translation promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.

When your materials are appropriately translated and localized for diverse populations, you can reach more learners more effectively. In addition to promoting equity in educational institutions, effective translation helps companies attract more talented employees by building skill sets in greater numbers of learners. Hiring a reputable translation service makes it possible to reach more people with the same great content.

Translation is necessary to meet language access requirements.

Federal and many state laws require institutions to provide equal access to training and educational materials for speakers of diverse languages. In these cases, providing translated content is a question of how rather than if. To create equality of access, learning institutions must work with professional translators and interpreters to ensure content is accurate and accessible in a language that each student and their families understand.

The Need for Professional Translation + Localization

While translation is essential for reaching diverse audiences, there is much more to translation than word-for-word conversion from one language to another. Working with an e-learning translator that also provides localization services helps ensure all content is accurate, error free, and culturally relevant to meet your students where they are and satisfy all legal access requirements.

Professional translation and localization helps ensure all content is culturally relevant to its audiences. Many common words and phrases simply do not translate directly from its original language into another. For example, the Mandarin language has a saying: “马马虎虎” or “mǎmǎhūhū,” which literally translates to “horse horse tiger tiger.” Translated literally, this would leave a native English speaker struggling to understand its meaning, which is “so-so” or an action taken carelessly. Professional translators have mastery of both languages, ensuring all content is translated in a way that will make sense to its intended audience.

E-Learning & the Future of Education

For educational institutions, providing equitable access to materials is the law. Schools that plan ahead for language translation are in the best position to empower their students to be more successful and create the most inclusive environment. This can build stronger relationships between students and their school, bolstering the school’s reputation and strengthening the community.

E-learning also allows for greater flexibility with increased opportunities for automation. E-learning activities can easily be tracked and monitored, leaving educators free to do the important work of engaging learners. Additionally, e-learning also allows students to participate at a pace that works best for them and personalize content to match their skill levels.

E-learning is also essential for the future of business. A 2021 McKinsey report found that 87% of companies worldwide currently have a skills gap in their workforce or expect to face one within the next few years. It’s not sustainable for organizations to always hire new employees as they require new skill sets. Instead, they must expand the skills of existing employees to meet the changing needs and challenges of their roles. Online training can play an important role in this effort. Organizations that do not provide training material in their employees’ native languages risk high employee turnover and becoming ill-equipped to handle the evolving needs of their industries. Providing training material in a myriad of languages can work to close the global skills gap and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Learners who can especially benefit from e-learning include

  • Populations spread across locations with limited availability to travel
  • Parents of young children or others with family commitments that do not support fixed schedules
  • Employees who work part-time or on an as-needed basis, such as contractors and consultants
  • Individuals who struggle to participate in real-time communication, such as second-language learners and neurodiverse populations

Language Network has a vast network of more than 2,000 credentialed translators, providing translation and localization for more than 7,000 languages and dialects. Our translations go through a multi-step process of translation, editing, proofreading, and revision. Each translation is reviewed by at least two professional translators. A member of the American Translators Association, the Association of Language Companies, and the California Healthcare Interpreter Association, Language Network can provide highly accurate document translation as well as on-site, over-the-phone, or remote video interpretation. We also offer highly specialized translations such as individualized education plans and transcripts. Language Network translators can work with your organization to meet compliance standards and the diverse needs of your learners. To learn more, request a quote or browse our blog.

About Language Network

Language Network is a language solutions company specializing in interpretation, translation, and localization services for government, healthcare, and international businesses. Language Network provides critical language access and support in over 200 languages. For more information, visit www.languagenetworkusa.com.

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