There are critical steps that are designed to make your life easier and your project more successful when training multilingual teams. The key steps are as follows: know your audience, choose your content, consider language requirements, assemble the right team, complete localization during the design phase, and protect your linguistic asset.
Know your audience
To start, you must know your audience well. Develop a strong understanding of their education levels, motivations, and cultural impacts on learning styles (Hofstede’s Cultural Differences in Learning Styles would be a great place to start). Understand any additional cultural considerations such as customs, cultural attitudes of subject matter, and communication style (formal or informal). Know how your learners will respond to the instructor’s gender, religion, and age. Here are 7 learning styles that can be impacted by language and culture. Set the right expectations and be creative.
By prioritizing content for training multilingual teams, you will have a roadmap from which to work. You’ll need a step-by-step process to stay on track or your project.
Choose your content
As you look at all the content you may need to have localized, start with the areas that have the biggest impact or greatest value. Leadership development, safety training, and compliance programs are great places to start. Along with your checklist, each task should not only have a completion date, but also a delivery schedule.
Consider language requirements
When training multilingual teams, whether your target language is Japanese or Spanish, each language has its own unique requirements. Consider each requirement when developing your project in English. Building your course so that it is internationalized will prevent most of your localization challenges.
Understand that most languages grow at about 125% of English so the white space you can work with will be limited. Keep in mind that languages such as Hebrew go right to left, or up to down, such as Japanese. These complexities add a whole new set of localization issues. If you don’t use American jargon or slang or images that are solely Western, these steps will streamline the process and you will have fewer localization needs and costs. Not every culture in the world teaches or learns informally. So, before you start on the development of your next learning project, be sure to understand your global audience, in-country stakeholders, and their culture.
Assemble the right team
With localization in multilingual training, it’s all about teamwork! Include as many of your stakeholders and end-users in the beginning and throughout the project. That includes your localization service provider partner, review team, and your QA and testing team. Be sure all stakeholders understand the cultural impact your project will have on each of them in-country reviewers can make or break your localization project. Projects are localized then sent for “review.”
As many in-country reviewers (preferably with roles that represent your target audience) should be brought in as soon as you choose a localization partner. How your in-country reviewers and localization partners collaborate will have a huge impact on the success of your project. Developing glossaries and style guides from the onset of the project will shorten the life-cycle of the review and could very well save you a lot of money. The goal is to get your review team to work with your provider and be a committed part of your team. The buy-in you get from them is crucial to the project’s success.
Complete localization during the design phase
An equally important task is to choose the right localization service provider. Choose a partner who understands your industry, your company, and the project subject matter. There are hundreds of localization providers out there. Most are jack-of-all-trades, and provide translation services across all industries so what’s the value there? However few focus on a handful of industries, even fewer are committed to serving just one industry. Partner with a company that understands your challenges, needs, and goals and whose experience will help you avoid serious landmines and critical errors.
Protect your multilingual assets
Lastly, protect your investment. When you spend thousands, sometimes even millions to create your company’s communication, make sure to safeguard your intellectual property and have an entire legal team overseeing all copyrights. Your multilingual assets are valuable.
Be sure to correctly manage all translation memories and glossaries, which are just as much your intellectual property as the source files you created. A crucial part in the management of other linguistic assets, such as style guides and the authoring tools used to create them. You need to be sure your agreement with your localization (translation) provider ensures they deliver all translation memory files when they deliver your project. These files are the building blocks for your future training multilingual projects and will help with consistency, quality and save you money.
Final Thoughts on Multilingual Teams
By using these 6 crucial steps when developing strategy and training multilingual teams, you will have fewer headaches on your next project and much higher success. When you have more projects than people, TrainingPros can help. See our complete list of TrainingPros service offerings and schedule a consultation to find the right talent for your next L&D project.