If your business is based in the UK, you may not have considered the benefits of providing multilingual staff training. But what if we told you that delivering training in the learner’s first language could save their life? What if accidents could be avoided because staff understand the course content better? Or what if it could create an emotional attachment to the business and prevent high staff turnover?

English may be the world’s most widely spoken language, but the vast majority of speakers are not ‘native’. Of the approximately 1.5 billion people who speak English, less than 400 million use it as a first language. In fact, in the UK, 7.7% of the population (4.2 million) have a main language other than English.

Even if English is your company’s primary language and all your employees speak it, it is no guarantee that everyone can understand the information you share with them. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that language barriers are a contributing factor in 25% of job-related accidents. This means that translating and localising your online compliance training for your staff could save you many problems down the line.

Five benefits to multi-language eLearning

1. Don’t put safety at risk – Communicating necessary health and safety information and training where there is no common language is challenging for employers. In research by HSE, many workers claimed that their inability to speak English was the reason why they were working below their qualifications or skills. Many admitted to pretending to understand English in case it stopped them from getting work or from losing their jobs if their lack of English became apparent. But this has profound implications, particularly concerning health and safety training, where some admitted they could not follow and understand the training they were given. Understanding health and safety training is crucial. Any misinterpretation can lead to lower productivity, lost revenue and, more seriously, injury and loss of life, especially for workers in high-risk sectors such as manufacturing and construction.

2. Improve learning outcomes – While more and more people speak English, training is more effective when carried out in the learner’s native language. People learn, understand and retain information best if it is taught to them in their native language. First-language training gives employees a better understanding of the subject matter and makes them retain information more efficiently.

3. Build an inclusive culture – When you only offer training in English, you automatically exclude those whose first language may not be English. Employees may feel demotivated and afraid to point out their poor understanding of the training, leaving managers believing that it was successful when this may not be the case. Providing training in the mother tongue of your employees can also help make them feel more included and motivated and can help build a culturally inclusive work environment.

4. Time and cost efficiencies – Comprehension increases when learners can give complete attention to the content without first needing to mentally convert the information into their first language. Learning is more effective when the learner is focused on the subject matter, not on trying to translate and interpret the material. Therefore, training conducted in the learner’s native language is likely to be understood more quickly, completed within the allotted time, and knowledge is more easily applied when back on the job.

5. Boost employee retention – Training new employees can be pretty expensive. Moreover, bringing in new faces on a seemingly constant trend can ruin your company’s reputation and culture and even trigger negativity at work. One way of improving employee retention is to create a comfortable work environment and a supportive culture. That means providing each employee with ample training through multilingual training courses and online course translation. It also means supporting employees who don’t speak their native tongue with all the resources they need to learn how to manage independently. Multilingual eLearning improves the personal and professional growth of everyone involved. It creates a growth-oriented workplace that gets employees emotionally attached, so they don’t want to leave unless they have to.

By training your workforce in their native languages, you can acquire and develop the very best employees. In addition, by doing so, you can close gaps between native and non-native speakers as they collaborate to meet their goals – helping them to feel more included and motivated.

VinciWorks helps businesses break down the language barrier, offering online eLearning compliance, health & safety and performance courses in over 100+ different languages – so regardless of location or language preference, you can provide your employees with the proper training to keep them safe and your business protected.

We specialise in the delivery of multilingual programmes for global organisations. We have developed sophisticated, multilingual capabilities, incorporating professional translation, machine translation and automated voice synthesis, to provide a seamless translation service to our clients.

We have already translated over 250 of our courses into over 30 languages. So, enquire at www.vinciworks.com and find out how we can support your multilingual eLearning strategy.

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