What CLOs Need to Know about Localization
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What CLOs Need to Know about Localization

What CLOs Need to Know about Localization


With more and more global companies employing local talent, the need to make training globally understandable and relevant adds to the list of concerns that keeps Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) up at night. Ever since Jack Welch, then CEO of General Electric, made GE the first company to have a CLO in the 1990s, hundreds of organizations have followed suit and have tackled the training issue in many different ways. Localization is the obvious solution for making training relevant globally, but what do you need to know about the process so that you can optimize your efforts? Here are some pointers.

1. Localization companies do much more than translate text

In fact, they’re akin to being your multicultural consultants. As they deal with languages and locales as their bread and butter, they have deep knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in different cultures. Also, they have many other capabilities like multimedia localization, linguistic testing, game localization, and so on. All these can be put to good use in e-learning localization.

2. LSPs can help preserve brand voice and integrity

Your company already produces a lot of content for internal as well as external use. Your employees are familiar with and represent your company’s brand image and voice. Thus, your translated e-learning content should also reflect this image and voice.

Language service providers (LSPs) use technologies such as translation memory to remember what was translated before and render translations similarly in the future, and terminology management solutions to define frequently-used terms so that translators don’t have to research them every time they appear.

These tools can be plugged into existing content management systems (CMS) or learning management systems (LMS) to ensure continuity and consistency of content.

3. Provide for localization from the start

Not all languages occupy the same amount of space on screen. So, make sure your text formatting, navigation options, and other on-screen elements can remain intact in other languages. The material may also need to be modified to be culturally appropriate for your local talent. Hence, avoid embedding images or other multimedia files that may need to be swapped or localized as well. If you consult an LSP early on at the conceptualization stage, things could be made easy for everyone.

4. In-sourcing is tough to scale

If your learning program needs to be rolled out in multiple languages, you may not have the internal resources for all of them. Even if you have bilingual employees, remember that they are not professional translators. Outsourcing translation will help you remain focused on developing the core learning material, and leave the localization to qualified, experienced professionals.

5. Join hands

Your company is probably using an LSP already. If so, don’t reinvent the wheel. Meet with colleagues who are already managing localization to figure out how to best engage with the LSP for your projects.


Making engaging trainings is tough, but localization is a huge step towards making them resonate with your employees across the globe. After all, if you consider employees to be the internal customers of your training department, you must speak to them in their language.