“COVID-19 has jolted businesses into changing [behavior] holistically, and learning and development (L&D) departments are uniquely positioned to be at the [center] of that change.”1
The Increasing Trend Toward eLearning
Well before the onset of the latest pandemic, there has been an increasing trend in eLearning investment. Why? Well, for starters, online learning requires on average 40% to 60% less time to complete than traditional classroom learning. It is also generally less expensive and requires less complex logistics. There is no need, for instance, to organize the travel and accommodations for instructors, no need to rent space, and no need to ensure all learners are available at the same location and at the same time. And when multilingual voice-over and subtitling are added, companies are better equipped to involve and engage a more diverse workforce — key differentiators for global companies with an international workforce.
Companies are also increasing investment in multilingual voice-over and subtitling technologies to enhance the eLearning experience. Since eLearning narration with subtitles helps to personalize and humanize the learning process, international employees are better able to retain and absorb newly acquired skills, adding value to the overall learning experience. In fact, by enhancing eLearning courses, companies are better able to stimulate interest and increase productivity — and that leads to a greater return on investment.
eLearning for a Diverse Workforce
“In global, multicultural organizations, simply expecting all employees to speak one common language, such as English, marginalizes the potential impact of international talent and leaves monolingual staff ill-equipped to help the organization compete effectively in a globalized environment. “2
Forbes Insights, in collaboration with Rosetta Stone, conducted a survey of more than 100 executives at large U.S. companies “and found that language barriers have a broad and pervasive impact on business operations.”ibid In fact, 84% of the surveyed executives agreed that employees are more productive when their managers or executives communicate with them in their native language.
Although the survey primarily centered around improving the multilingual skills of a company’s entire workforce, the results emphasize the many benefits a company and its employees stand to gain when language barriers are removed. eLearning classes that offer multilingual voice-over and subtitling options are one powerful way to remove these barriers.
The Many Benefits of Enhanced eLearning Courses
Trying to absorb new information is already challenging enough. So, when employees whose first language is not English are offered English-only eLearning content, the learning process becomes that much more complicated and confusing. This is where multilingual voice-over and subtitling services come into focus. Investing in quality eLearning courses with these advanced technologies will help to strengthen cultural understanding and respect while increasing productivity, efficiency, and the quality of work. In fact, in some environments, adding voiceover translation and subtitling for online training courses also helps to promote a safer work environment, “an issue of significant importance for many firms that have opened overseas and domestic manufacturing facilities employing foreign-born workers.”ibid
The ability to read and listen to eLearning content in one’s own language has a significant impact on how well the content will be understood and retained. It removes any ambiguities and ensures that the messaging remains consistent. Whether employees are learning new material, upskilling, or reskilling it is highly advantageous to them — and to your company — if the material is offered in their native language and dialect.
Three Ways to Enhance the eLearning Experience
“[P]rior to the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990, which mandated that all new model television sets be equipped with closed captioning decoders, the demographic who bought the most closed caption decoding equipment in the U.S. were ESL learners.”3
Closed captioning is often used as a primary tool to assist learners within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HoH) communities. However, all learners can benefit from closed captioning. In fact, “a study conducted in the U.K. and reported by the BBC found that 80 percent of people who used closed captions… have no hearing loss at all.”ibid Those, for instance, who are not native speakers often follow closed captioning as a means to strengthen their language skills. Closed captions are also a very welcomed tool in sound-sensitive environments or in circumstances that require the audio volume to be lowered. For eLearning, closed captioning boosts knowledge retention and appeals to a broader range of learners.
Slightly different from closed captioning, subtitles do not explain the background noises or give any other context cues that closed captioning provides. Simply put, subtitles provide a text alternative to the audio being presented and have become an invaluable part of the eLearning experience. Efficient and accessible, subtitling can also be localized into any language. When your global workforce can read subtitles in their preferred language, engagement, comprehension, and retention will likely all increase.
Voiceover technology, if professionally crafted, helps to connect with learners regardless of their demographic. Multilingual voice-over helps to deliver your eLearning material and messaging as a genuine, meaningful, and valuable resource to your employees. In fact, voiceovers offer a sense of authenticity that eLearning courses on their own sometimes miss. By investing in multilingual voice-over services you will provide your international employees with a fully localized eLearning experience.
And while voiceover, closed captioning, and subtitling services were already growing in popularity among corporate eLearning circles, along came COVID-19.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Voiceover and Subtitling Demand
Increase in Remote Working
COVID-19 has certainly sparked a noted increase in eLearning voiceover and subtitling demand across industries, including the healthcare and pharma sectors. As Dr Jannuzi, a cardiologist at the Heart Center’s Mass General Hospital in Boston (and professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School) puts it, “[f]rom an educational perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up numerous doors that were not previously opened, including an astronomical growth in online learning… national and international meetings being converted into virtual meetings online, and an enormous explosion of online education…”4
And while some companies have seen a temporary drop in voiceover adoption due to budget cuts, layoffs, and closures, there will undoubtedly be a continued demand for eLearning narration and subtitling for the foreseeable future — it all lies with the growing adoption of long-lasting (and permanent) remote working environments.
In a recent PwC survey, nearly 700 CEOs worldwide “agree[d] that remote collaboration is here to stay for the long-term.”5
Although the majority of CEOs contend that remote working is likely part of their continued and shared reality, one of the most common concerns is the ability to maintain a strong corporate culture. This concern has led to an increased investment in EDTech to better reach and engage a diverse and global workforce.
Increase in EdTech Investment
“With a quick and adaptive approach, ideas such as e-learning, online training, and virtual communication can be successfully implemented throughout the workforce, even from home.”6
Since the onset of the pandemic, companies in nearly every industry have had to shift to remote working environments. This shift has inevitably led to a significant increase in EdTech investment. In fact, nearly half of the 2020 EdTech investment did not come from the educational sector but rather from the global workforce.
As a growing number of industries are now investing in advanced educational technology to manage their remote employees, investment in eLearning will likewise continue to rise, along with accessible eLearning technology.
Accessible eLearning Technology
“We retain approximately 10 percent of what we see[,] 30 to 40 percent of what we see and hear[,] and 90 percent of what we see, hear, and do.”7
We all learn and retain information in any number of ways, but what about those with disabilities? With 20% of UK residents and 25% of US residents living with a disability*, it is not surprising that both countries have implemented laws surrounding digital accessibility. As more and more companies transition online to conduct business, digital accessibility hasn’t just become a hot topic — it has become the law. If you plan on publishing your eLearning courses on your website, and especially if you plan on making them available to the public, investing in closed captioning, voiceover, and subtitling services will undoubtedly help create a more inclusive learning environment while keeping you compliant.
To learn more about accessibility regulations within the United States and how they might impact your company’s eLearning programs, visit the GSA Government-wide IT Accessibility Program.
To learn more about accessibility regulations within the UK and how they might impact your company’s eLearning programs, visit the UK government’s Guidance Accessibility Requirements.
Multilingual Voice Over and Subtitling Services
Companies invest in eLearning programs with three central goals in mind — maintain employee skillsets, develop skillsets even further, and help their company grow. In order to meet these goals, the eLearning material and overall messaging needs to clearly resonate with all learners. Global Lingo helps you convey your eLearning messages more efficiently while boosting engagement with your diverse audience worldwide.
Throughout the years, Global Lingo has worked with dozens of clients in the educational, digital learning, and training sectors providing exceptional voiceover translation, live captioning, and subtitling services. However, since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen a sudden uptick in the number of requests for these specialized services from a much wider range of sectors. Requests for live captioning for web meetings, in particular, have seen a sharp increase over the past year.
Although Global Lingo offers language support in more than 150 languages worldwide, the below table displays the most commonly requested languages for subtitling, closed captioning, and multilingual voice-over services.
- Chinese (Simplified, Traditional)
- French (France/Canada)
- Portuguese (Portugal/Brazil)
- Spanish (Spain/Latin America)
Live captioning has been one of Global Lingo’s fastest-growing service offerings in recent years. In fact, from 2019 to 2020, demand for our live captioning services has increased by nearly 30 percent.
Our skilled, native stenographers offer spoken English-to-English live captioning as well as spoken English to non-English captioning. For non-English captions, we provide both native stenographers as well as advanced machine translation (MT) services for rarer languages.
Global Lingo uses both embedded subtitles as well as subtitles provided as SRT/VTT formatting and offers subtitling services for our clients in a broad range of industries. Over the years, we have helped our clients with hundreds of subtitling projects for eLearning, and in the past year, our subtitling services have increased by more than 300 percent.
In just the last few years, Global Lingo has provided multilingual voice-over services for well over a thousand eLearning projects. Our voiceover technology has been well received by our clients from diverse backgrounds, and the demand continues to grow to this day.
When you partner with Global Lingo for your multilingual voice-over needs, you will enjoy a selection of professional voiceover artists and a wide range of voice customization choices around accent, age, gender, tone, and style. Voiceover can be provided as simple narration or with characterization, for complex, multi-character scenes.
Customization with End-to-end Service
Creating and delivering successful eLearning courses is an intense undertaking with many moving parts. After all, many companies are attempting to engage a diverse workforce, hold their attention, and ensure they fully understand the messaging. With so much at stake, expecting internal staff to manage your voiceover translation and subtitling work might not be in your best interest.
By working closely with you to understand your unique eLearning goals, our team will provide you with customized end-to-end language services. Whether you require multilingual subtitling, closed captioning, voiceover work, or all three, our end-to-end services allow us to work with your original video content in the native format and complete the entire process. We’ll handle it all — recording, editing, and QA/testing — so that you can focus on what you do best. Enhance the eLearning experience for your employees by partnering with an experienced eLearning language services provider (LSP).
Let us be the conduit between your eLearning material and your diverse, international learners. Bring new life to your eLearning courses by partnering with Global Lingo today.
1 Training Industry Magazine – July/August 2020, www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20200708/index.php#/p/4.
2 “Reducing the Impact of Language Barriers.” Forbes Insights, Forbes, 2011, images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Rosetta_Stone_Report.pdf.
3 “Hearing Loss Isn’t the Only Reason for Closed Captioning and Subtitles: Video Caption Corporation.” Vicaps, 23 Aug. 2017, www.vicaps.com/blog/hearing-loss-not-only-reason/.
4 Watson, Posted byEmma. “COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on the Pharma Healthcare Industry.” Pupuweb, 26 Oct. 2020, pupuweb.com/covid19-impact-pharma-healthcare-industry/.
5 Courtney, Emily. “Remote Work Statistics: Navigating the New Normal (2021): FlexJobs.” FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog, FlexJobs.com, 8 Feb. 2021, www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/.
6 Courtney, Emily. “Remote Work Statistics: Navigating the New Normal (2021): FlexJobs.” FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog, FlexJobs.com, 8 Feb. 2021, www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/.
7 Principles of Adult Learning & Instructional Systems Design. Federal Highway Administration, www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/downloads/freebies/172/pr%20pre-course%20reading%20assignment.pdf
In addition to:
Gutierrez, Karla. Facts and Stats That Reveal The Power Of ELearning [Infographic], www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/301248/15-facts-and-stats-that-reveal-the-power-of-elearning#:~:text=1.,way%20workflow%20is%20not%20interrupted.
Jay, Allan. “11 New Elearning Trends & Predictions for 2021/2022 and Beyond.” Financesonline.com, FinancesOnline.com, 28 Mar. 2021, financesonline.com/elearning-trends/.
Antonios KoutsounourisFollowOperations Director at Planet LanguagesLike5Comment0ShareLinkedInFacebookTwitter0, and Follow. “ELearning Localization – What’s All the Fuss about?” LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/pulse/elearning-localization-whats-all-fuss-antonios-koutsounouris.
PricewaterhouseCoopers. “PwC’s CEO Global Panel Survey.” PwC, www.pwc.com/ceopanelsurvey.
“$16.1B Of Global EdTech Venture Capital in 2020.” HolonIQ, 5 Jan. 2021, www.holoniq.com/notes/16.1b-of-global-edtech-venture-capital-in-2020/.
“Understanding Accessibility Requirements for Public Sector Bodies.” GOV.UK, www.gov.uk/guidance/accessibility-requirements-for-public-sector-websites-and-apps#:~:text=The%20accessibility%20regulations%20came%20into,accessibility%20statement%20on%20your%20website.
“Disability Impacts All of Us Infographic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html#:~:text=61%20million%20adults%20in%20the,have%20some%20type%20of%20disability.