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  • Writer's pictureTy Smarpat - Localization Manager

User Interface and eLearning Design Tips for Global Workforces

While an increasingly interconnected world makes it possible for businesses to expand globally, language barriers can be big hurdles for those used to only operating in English-speaking countries. But a language barrier shouldn’t stop a company from creating and providing high-quality digital learning experiences to its global employees.

Creating multilingual content and investing in eLearning translation services is an effective approach to ensuring your worldwide learners have accessible training courses in their native language.

Since you will be creating content for a global audience, there are some considerations to keep in mind when building out your multilingual material. Here are some UI design tips that will be sure to get your message across.

Keep it Simple

It is tempting to make a flashy presentation that’s heavy with graphics, but complex training materials will be hard to localize. That’s because various cultures use different terms, idioms, and phrases to express the same thing. Plus, an image that may seem innocuous to you could be offensive in other cultures.

Use Clear, Concise Language

Again, staying as simple as possible with your language use is critical. Our linguists will have an easier time translating and localizing clear, concise terms compared to idioms. When you are dealing with training materials, this is incredibly important.

Avoid Passive Voice and Ambiguity

Passive voice is tricky because it can be hard to recognize that you are using it. Paying extra attention to not use passive voice and ambiguity in your training materials will be extremely helpful because not all languages and cultures use pronouns and active voice the same way. This goes back to the practice of avoiding terms or concepts that can be interpreted in multiple different ways, so be as direct as possible!

Accommodate for Different Screen Sizes

While mobile device use is skyrocketing across the world, it’s important to be mindful that your learners may not consume content in the same way you do. Some countries may not have widely accessible wifi that allows people to use mobile phones, tablets, and laptops so they must use desktops. But on the other hand, other countries may only exclusively use mobile devices. In both cases, we recommend doing research on how the different regions you’re targeting consume their digital content, and then design accordingly.

Don’t Use a Default Language

While you can invest in technology that will automatically detect a user’s language by their location or IP address, you don’t want to treat all learners as if they are all the same. Instead, allow them to pick the language that is the most comfortable for them to learn in. This can be extremely helpful for those living in countries with multiple national languages and dialects, such as India, China, or even Canada.

Learn Their Linguistic and Cultural Patterns

There are certain elements of language such as date formats, weights of measurements, and the way a person introduces themselves that need to be considered. For example, most European countries list the date in the form of day, month, year, whereas Americans tend to write month, day, and then year. The English use a weight of measurement called a “stone” which is equivalent to 14 pounds. A Chinese individual will introduce themselves with their family name first, followed by their first name, which can be confusing to some who aren’t aware of this. Simple changes in these linguistic and cultural patterns will go a long way when completing the translation and localization process.

eLearning Translation Services to Communicate With Your Learners

We hope these tips have been helpful when designing your eLearning course. Our team at Language Intelligence is here to help you communicate with your global learners, and our comprehensive eLearning translation services help make that possible. Get in touch today to learn more!


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