Breaking language barriers: How translation services can enhance businesses’ learning and development programmes

April 11, 2023

In today’s globalised world, businesses and organisations are increasingly expanding their operations to different countries and locations, and as a result, they need to cater to non-native speaking audiences. Language barriers can pose significant challenges in training and development programmes, hindering the effective transfer of knowledge and skills to employees. This challenge is where e-learning and development translation services come into play, creating multilingual training for your global employees.

Specialist e-learning and development translation services are a vital component of any training programme that aims to educate or upskill employees who do not speak the native language of the business. These translation services can help organisations break down language barriers, enhancing the learning and development outcomes.


Below, we explore a few ways in which e-learning and development translation services deliver these improvements:

Enhanced understanding

Even if your employees speak English, it may not be their first language. Therefore, if you only deliver learning and development programmes in English, you risk reduced understanding.

In a recent UK census, 5.1 million people in the UK reported not having English as a primary language. Of those people, 17.1% could not speak English well, and 3.1% could not speak English at all. For businesses employing individuals outside of the UK, the rate of English proficiency will, of course, be much lower. While many individuals will be able to speak English to some degree, delivering training in a non-native language and risking misunderstandings can cause a wide range of issues around things such as performance, productivity, safety and security.

The primary benefit of specialist e-learning and development translation services is ensuring effective communication that enhances understanding. These services can assist with translating training materials, presentations, and relevant information into the learners’ native language. They can help with localising audiovisual content, such as videos that require subtitles or voice-overs.  E-learning and development translation services can also provide simultaneous interpreting for live workshops.

By providing multilingual training material in the employees’ native languages, organisations can ensure that the individuals fully understand the concepts and skills being taught, which will benefit both the individual and the business.

Cultural sensitivity

Cultural sensitivity is a crucial aspect of delivering effective learning and development programmes within your workforce.

When employing a workforce with different cultures, there will be varying values, beliefs and attitudes towards certain ideas and practices shaped by the individuals’ background. Using the localisation services of a specialist e-learning and development translation partner when creating a learning and development programme will ensure it is appropriate to your audience. Their in-market native linguists can provide first-hand insight into any cultural differences and ensure these are respected in your multilingual training material, avoiding any inadvertent insult or offence.

Moreover, leveraging localisation services to demonstrate an appreciation of cultural differences will help build a positive work environment and increase employee satisfaction.

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Improved learning experience

When learners are taught in their native language, they are more likely to engage with the material and retain the information better. Specialist e-learning and development translation services can support organisations in providing a more personalised learning experience tailored to each individual’s needs, leading to improved learning outcomes.

A study carried out on students who switched from learning mathematics and science in their native language to learning these subjects in English showed a decrease in performance after the change. These findings were found to be consistent with a recent World Bank report that recognised the advantages of employing the native language as the language of instruction in a school. While these studies were on individuals in schools, the same principles can be applied to training in the workplace.

Increased access

By providing training materials in multiple languages, organisations can increase access to learning opportunities for their employees, regardless of their location or language proficiency. This access helps bridge any skills gaps between employees based in different countries or speaking other languages and offers everyone equal training opportunities. It is also fundamental for supporting diversity and inclusion within an organisation.


In some industries, compliance regulations require that training materials be provided in the employees’ native language. E-learning and development translation services can help organisations comply with these regulations and avoid any legal issues or potential fines that may arise due to non-compliance.

Globalization Partners International recognises the importance of delivering training in an employee’s native language, stating that all employees need to understand what they are expected to know and adhere to as part of your organisation. They also recommend partnering with an ISO17100 Certified translation vendor to ensure translation best practices are followed.

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With businesses extending their boundaries and working with individuals in different global locations, it is vital to be aware of the language barriers that may arise. When providing training, offering it in the native language of your employees will deliver not only benefits for the individual but also for the business. E-learning and development translation services can support this requirement and help ensure your training is effective.

Mission Translation specialises in providing translation services for learning and development programmes. As part of our ISO-certified full language service provision, we provide written translation and localisation services, subtitling and voice-overs, and simultaneous interpreting services.

If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with our team.

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