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How to create multilingual courses

eLearning allows courses to be delivered anywhere in the world. But how to create multilingual online courses?

One of the advantages of eLearning is the opportunity to create training courses anywhere in the world. The possibilities of expanding online courses became even clearer during the COVID-19 pandemic. This possibility is increased enormously when the course becomes multilingual, i.e. when it is translated into several languages. In reality, it is not simply a matter of translating the content into English or other languages: it is more a matter of adapting the structure and content to another culture.

Creating a multilingual course undoubtedly requires effort but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In the case of companies, this option allows them to reach all employees if they operate internationally. Not only will it be possible to reach all locations and all employees, but employees will get better results by delivering the course in their own language. Multilingual courses also offer a competitive advantage: being able to offer the same course in several languages means opening doors to the world. In terms of growth, it means being able to sell a product to many more learners and companies as the sales opportunities multiply infinitely.

Here are some tips on how to turn your online course into an international product:

  • Analysis of the target country: before relying on a translator, it is necessary to carry out a study very similar to the one carried out in your own country. What is the target audience? What are the best strategies or the most commonly used learning methods in the target country? This is an essential step in planning the adaptation of the content and the platform.
  • Technical adaptations: not all languages are the same, and if care is not taken, this element can compromise the usability of the platform. An example? If you use an alphabet such as Arabic, where the writing goes from right to left, it is likely that technical adjustments will need to be made to avoid creating interface and design problems.
  • Specific terminology: as always, it is essential to consult specialists. In this case, a translator and proofreader are indispensable for an excellent result. The work does not consist of a word-for-word translation, but of continuous adaptation to the specific terminology of the target language. Do not forget to change any information concerning regulations, laws, currencies or the date format.
  • Attention to cultural factors: to avoid problems, it is preferable to have the content and the platform reviewed by a native speaker. Why? Because it is undoubtedly useful that all cultural references are easy to recognise for learners from another country or that, for example, there are no words or content that might be offensive in another part of the world.

Read also How to make MOOCs more accessible to an international audience? and 4 things you can do to maximise the engagement of your international students

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