Creating Multi Language E-Learning has always presented a unique set of  challenges.  Some challenges  concern  translation while others  relate to  content production and technology.  While a professional and qualified translation agency can often help  ensure accurate and high quality translation,  Multi Language  E-Learning  remains a technical challenge.   Indeed the problem has become even more  acute with the use of mobile phones as content   needs to be delivered on varied devices. The good news is that with a little planning and the right technology platform many of these problems can easily be resolved.

However, let us first look at some of the  most common problems  encountered while developing Multi Language e-Learning.

  • Need  to Create Separate Courses for each Language:   Till recently,  if you needed a course in 10 different languages  you needed to create 10 separate courses as most authoring systems did not allow you to pack multiple languages into a single course  from which the learner could select a language at runtime.    Creating multiple versions of a course  creates several problems:
    • Additional  effort  for creating each version
    • Additional  effort for testing each version
    •  Additional effort for Maintain and update multiple language versions of a course.
  • LMS Administration overhead .  Multiple languages  need  to be uploaded to the Learning Management  System as separate courses  however these separate course would be treated as a single course for collating scores.  This creates a need to map multiple language versions to a single course adding considerably to  LMS administration overhead
  • Additional server  space is  required as media is duplicated for each language version

Besides   additional effort, Multi language e-Learning also presents a number of  other problems . These include:

  • Distortion of Fonts : Especially for Asian and Non European languages
  • Truncation of Text In some language versions  text would get cut off because of fixed text box sizes
  • Distorted synchronization as  audio and animations fall out of Sync
  • Managing Language specific media Assets is a problem as media assets are included for each language without differentiating between common media assets and language specific media assets
  • Lack of Language Profilers  meant that the course could not automatically adjust to the language of the user’s  device

However today technology solutions are available that can help you overcome most of the traditional problems that are associated with Multi language E-Learning.  However  you need to choose your  Authoring Platform carefully.  Some of the key features your Authoring System  must support are:

  • Ability to export and import text  files easily.   Typically  a good authoring system will allow you to export the XML file with text embedded and send these for translation.  Most professional translators are quite comfortable with working with XML files and usually have tools that help them translate the text in XML files.
  • Ability to export Audio files easily for translation
  • Ability to Include multiple languages into a Single course
  • Ability to define common  as well as language specific media libraries and select appropriate media at runtime
  • Flexible Text boxes to ensure  text does not get  truncated
  • Multiple ways of Audio Synchronization to ensure that your audio does not fall our of Sync
  • Language Profiler  that helps detect device language


 Font fidelity is an extremely important  in translation and deserves a  separate mention. This is especially true  for Asian and Non European languages such as Chinese, Japanese Arabic or Hindi.   A rather unfortunate number of Authoring systems will distort  non Roman fonts  making your courses unintelligible. Canvas based authoring tools are highly susceptible to this problem.  It is a good idea to verify the claims made by your authoring system with respect to  font fidelity of Asian and Non European Languages

To avoid the font  problem it is best to use a DOM based Authoring system. DOM based technology can help you avoid this pitfall entirely.  However do make sure that your Authoring system allows you to include your own font libraries into your course. This can go a long way in ensuring that your fonts stay true irrespective of language or device.