Following our post on “What is e-learning localization“, find out why a localized training program is critical to international employee development. Here are three important reasons you should be aware of.
In some countries, training programs must be in the language of the learner by law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor requires employers to “instruct its employees using both a language and vocabulary that the employees can understand.”
When staff understand safety and usage instructions better, the number of accidents go down. It is especially important in industries such as mining, manufacturing, and aviation, to name a few. You need to warn and alert employees of hazards before it happens, give instructions on what to do if an accident happens, reporting instructions on the accident as well as what to do immediately after.
A properly localized training program uses terms that are understood clearly in that locale. It does not import terms from the source language if they might mean something different or make no sense at all. For instance, some languages may have words that sound the same but mean quite different things. The Spanish word intoxicado means poisoned, while the English word intoxicated means drunk or affected by some drugs. An expert linguist will know the difference, translate accordingly, and avoid potential accidents.
Clear and in-language safety instructions can save employees from injury, even death in some cases. It provides the company several benefits such as lower insurance premiums, avoiding productivity loss, greater employee confidence and satisfaction, and protection from liability suits.
As employees also become knowledgeable on how to use the machinery or follow safety processes better, it can result in minimal damage or wear and tear to equipment too. Take for instance the usage instructions for nuclear medicine involving equipment used to provide proton therapy. You can well imagine the risk in not translating the usage and safety instructions for such a machine. Nothing should be left to chance. We cannot assume that everyone who is using the machine has understood all the details, when the instructions are not in their mother tongue.
Better engagement, better learning
The students are more engaged when the study material is in their own language. They can understand and digest information faster and retain it better when they can learn in their native or preferred language.
It increases the accessibility of the learning program. The training content does not remain limited to the speakers of one language.
Localization allows you to create region-specific assessments if need be. You might be testing the employees in different locales on different things, or they may prefer a different assessment style.
Building a strong corporate culture and employee loyalty
A localized training program makes it more culturally acceptable. As localization does not stop at translation, the program will be attuned to the cultural and social norms of a locale. For instance, a thumbs-up sign might be perfectly acceptable in the United States but may make no sense in other places around the world. Or even worse, it can be considered rude in some cultures in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, and Asia.
International employees may appreciate the fact that the company has taken the effort to translate the course into their language. This might motivate them to take the program seriously and achieve the goals. Creating multilingual and multicultural training.
It builds a strong corporate culture, as international employees become more aware of the company rules and ethics and understand the processes better. They also come to possess the same level of skills and knowledge as the employees at the company’s headquarters. It helps the employees feel more engaged and empowered.
Localizing a training program for employees around the world comes with certain challenges.