Effective safety training is necessary to fulfill regulatory requirements and - even more importantly - to ensure the safety of your valued employees. With a diverse, multilingual workforce, however, there are many training considerations you need to make in order to help fully protect your team, and that includes thinking about what languages your employees speak. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), language barriers contribute to 25% of job-related accidents. At Vector, our mission is to help make our communities safer, smarter, and better, and we believe this alarming statistic demonstrates that one of the most critical factors in keeping your team safe is providing training courses in the native language of the employee taking that course. Moreover, 90% of people prefer to learn in their first language.
The benefit of being more inclusive with your safety training has a number of benefits. It doesn’t just improve your team’s on-the-job safety or show them respect - it also helps to make them more productive. In fact, a report from Forbes and Rosetta Stone shows that 80% of employees are more productive when their managers deliver information in their native language.
We sat down with Vector Solutions’ Michael Ojdana, VP of Content, and discussed the most effective strategies to ensure you have the best-translated learning and development content to get the best possible outcomes for your team.
You likely have many options when it comes to content providers, and many considerations to make as you select which provider is right for you. Here are 5 tips to help you get the best-translated content:
Right now, articles espousing the benefit and ease of utilizing AI-powered tools are everywhere. And they may be useful in terms of helping to save you money when it comes to getting eLearning courses translated into many different languages - but the bottom line shouldn’t be your only consideration. You may want to consider going with a provider that can also give you human-translated courses, or a combination of AI- and human-translated courses.
“I'd say going with the cheapest provider likely doesn't always result in the best quality translations … Human translations from scratch can be pretty expensive, and so it's likely cheaper to have machine translations done and then have those human-reviewed as well. A lot of companies might have some courses that are actually human-translated, but then additional ones that are machine translated, as Vector does. So know what courses you need and your most highly utilized courses, and make sure those ones are the ones that are human translated.”
One of the simplest - and yet most essential - strategies you can employ when identifying the best content provider is asking the right questions: How are these courses being translated? By whom are they translated? What standards are in place for quality control? How are these courses being localized for culture and regulatory appropriateness? Ideally, the person at your company to ask such questions would also be knowledgeable about the course subject matter. And finally, you should always ask if you can take the material for a test drive before you fully commit to a provider.
“Obviously talking to the provider and understanding their translation process, viewing the courses that you plan to use, sending them to the people who are actually going to use them, and making sure that they understand them prior to making a large purchase for your company.”
Translating courses is about much more than just translating the words that are spoken. There are also many cultural and location-specific differences that could be a factor in how your employees are able to learn and retain their training. That’s why it is imperative for you to use a provider that localizes their training content. According to EdTech data, this not only helps with safety, but localizing eLearning content for your employees helps to boost productivity by a reported 50%. It’s also important to remember that, depending on what region or country your employees are in, regulations may vary widely. Any provider you contract with for your translated courses needs to ensure that they know and understand what those requirements are and that the translated courses are appropriate to meet compliance.
“Localizing content is when a course is actually changed in order to be more specific to that area or that location. So, changing the regulations to reference a different organization than OSHA or changing the type of outlet that is on the wall in an electrical course because in Europe they use different outlets than they do in the United States. The technical nuances are most important and help employees better relate to the content. When we [Vector] make globalized variants of courses, our development team goes through with an SME and edits the course to meet the needs of a non-U.S. audience.”
You may think that any translated course is as good as another, with there being one-to-one translations from one language to the next. However, some translated courses may translate only the spoken words of the training, and nothing else. The best and most effectively translated courses will translate all parts of the course, including video and photo descriptions, captions, clickable buttons, and more.
“One of the differentiators we also have in our most highly utilized translated safety courses is that everything within the course is translated. So it's not just the captions or the test. The user interface is translated, the video is translated, all the on-screen text, the narration, the captions, the test, and everything that the user experiences is in the language that they prefer. And so it's basically the exact equivalent of the English course, but in their language.”
It may sound obvious, but the main objective of safety training is to help keep people safer. This objective is often a requirement of the law, as well as an ethical and moral imperative to do all that you can to provide your employees with the kind of training that will yield the best outcomes for your team. At Vector, the heart of our mission is to help our community be safer, smarter, and better. It’s important that the company you entrust with your course translations also shares the same value you have for protecting your people, so that you know they are not cutting corners in the work that they do.
“That is our goal with our safety content - to make sure everyone goes home safely to their families. And if we don't offer training that's understandable, there is a higher likelihood that that's not going to happen.”
As companies become increasingly diverse, it is our job as business leaders to ensure that we continue to be as inclusive as possible and provide our employees with the resources they need to stay safe. There are many considerations you have to make when providing your team with the best training that will keep them safe. As Michael shared, “It's extremely important to offer translated courses in languages that your users understand because it improves their retention of the information, their sense of belonging in your organization, and ultimately their safety.”
By investing time in the selection process for your eLearning content translation provider, you can feel confident that you are giving all of your employees the information they need in the language they best understand. Demo some of Vector’s translated courses today.