Delivering world-class training in multiple languages

People are a key asset for any organisation and investing in learning and development delivers incredible ROI. As companies grow and expand their reach overseas, so too does their international workforce. This is where translation and localisation come in. No matter how you deliver your learning and development courses, you have to ensure that the content is available in multiple languages and adapted for different cultures.

In this guide, we will cover

  • A brief look at the global learning and development industry,

  • What to look for in a Learning Management System (LMS),

  • Tips for localising eLearning modules, and

  • How to streamline translation processes for continuous delivery of learning content.

The global learning and development industry

Over the last two years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of enquiries for eLearning translation. If we take a look at the application of learning and development on a global scale it is clear that enterprises are beginning to invest more in employee training and looking for the most efficient and flexible ways to deliver this across multiple time zones.

41.7% of global Fortune 500 companies now use some form of educational technology to instruct employees during formal learning hours

(eLearning Industry)

In early 2019, US conglomerate Ecolab Inc. acquired online training provider Lobster Ink in order to utilise their training capabilities and digital platform. As a result, Ecolab can continually deliver employees, in-country representatives, and end-customers with on-demand training content. Ecolab plans to increase learning and development for hospitality and food service companies in 130 countries over the coming months, with a focus on hygiene, food safety procedures and other critical processes.

In addition to similar M&As, there has also been an increase in the number of private companies that have chosen to maximise on the popularity of learning and development. Names I’m sure you are familiar with include LinkedIn Learning, Udacity and MasterClass.

Asynchronous learning is, therefore, the most popular option for global organisations as it allows their employees to access the learning resources online via a Learning Management System (LMS) at a time that most suits their needs.

What to look for in an LMS

There are three forms of eLearning:



Typically delivered as webinars that allow real-time interaction between the trainer and students.



No direct interaction. Instead the students are able to plan their own learning and development thanks to a library of resources such as learning modules, quizzes, videos and other learning resources.



This approach sees a mixture of the two, with the students and trainer interacting via webinars for part of the course, supported by the training repository for continued learning.

Regardless of the approach, you decide to implement it is important that you have the right technology in place to host and support your learning and development content.

The LMS market is expected to be worth over 15.72 billion USD in 2021

(eLearning Industry)

With so many platforms now on the market, there are a few things to weigh up when approaching LMS providers. Things to consider include:

  • Intuitive UI

  • Responsive design

  • Customisation / personalisation options

  • Reporting and analytics

  • Assessment tools

  • APIs to connect with other systems

  • Multilingual capabilities and functions

The highest proportion of revenue contribution (towards the LMS industry) is expected to be generated in North America

(Research and

Each year, eLearning provide a list of the top LMSs marked against a set of criteria. According to the 2020 update, here are the top cloud-based and open-source systems to help you get a headstart in finding the right LMS for your needs.

Top Cloud-Based Learning Management Systems

  • Adobe Captivate Prime

  • Docebo

  • SAP Litmos LMS

  • LearnUpon LMS

  • Asentia LMS

Top Open-Source Learning Management Systems

  • Moodle

  • Chamilo

  • Open edX

  • Totara Learn

  • Canvas

Since we’re talking about delivering learning and development on a global scale, it is a no-brainer that your chosen LMS should already have in-built multilingual capabilities and functionalities.

Although you will be responsible for localising the actual learning modules, your LMS should come with pre-localised “language packs” that include the navigation, error messages, reminders, location, date and time settings, etc. Moodle provides its users with over 120 different language packs as well as offering further customisation to handle multilingual content.

It is essential that your employees/learners are presented with a truly local learning experience. If you have developed your own LMS then this is one area that you really must address. You can learn about best practices for localising software here.

Tips for localising eLearning modules

Language and culture are critical elements when localising eLearning content for your international workforce.

To eliminate cultural and language barriers you should adapt the content of the learning modules to suit the region and locale of your end-users. Depending on the where you plan to distribute your learning and development materials this may mean that you have to adapt or re-create, the content for each territory.

Learn more about translating eLearning modules in this short webinar.

As learning and development cover such a wide range of industries, skills and professions, there are many different translation processes that can be utilised depending on the content of the modules.

For example, for repetitive or standardised topics such as health and safety training machine translation tools could be used as the first step in the process before being post-edited by a human linguist.

At the other end of the spectrum, sales training will have to be adapted for each target market since there are many cultural elements which have to be taken into consideration during the authoring or localisation process. Therefore, transcreation or copywriting may prove more successful.

Click here to find out more about the importance of using the skills of professional, human linguists in your learning and development projects.

Streamlining translation processes for continuous delivery

Learning and development is a very moveable object. There will always be a need to update your content but the frequency will depend on the training topics your organisation deliver.

For frequently changing topics you are sure to need agile processes that allow you to continually deliver training in multiple languages. This is where automation technology will be of benefit.

Example of a Translation Connector

Example of a translation connector

We introduced the concept of translation connectors in our previously published guide. Just like connecting a Content Management System, a connection can be established between an LMS and Translation Management System.

Working closely with your trusted translation advisor, you can identify the right connection for your system(s). As mentioned above, if your chosen LMS already has API connections available, or an open-API set-up, then this shouldn’t be a too difficult task.

Your translation partner can then work with you to ensure that your eLearning modules are created with localisation in mind, and test that the localisation process can be fully automated.