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One of the biggest questions many companies face is whether or not localization works and if so, is there a Return on Investment (ROI)? Granted, the ROI of localization is not just about the numbers – there are non-quantifiable but still important results surrounding the investment to localize (translate) training content into the native languages of the end-users. However, not enough has been said about impacts – dramatic in some cases – to attest that the investment has significant and quantifiable outcomes. The ROI of localization for corporate training content has proven to accelerate productivity, reduce lost time, mitigate injury claims, and improve employee retention. Here are some case studies that demonstrate the ROI of localization for corporate training:

  1. Case Study #1: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that language barriers contribute to 25% of job-related accidents. DFW Airport took this to heart and offered safety practices localized into Spanish to its employees. Lost time dropped to a level of 83% below the Texas state-wide average and the Airport Authority enjoyed a period of 5 years with no fatalities.
  2. Case Study #2: A U.S. food manufacturer found it difficult to train non-English speaking laborers. Their inability to speak and read English made it difficult for them to perform their jobs effectively. The solution was to administer training material in Spanish to 1,265 adult learners. Assessments were conducted by comparing scores before and immediately following training. The impact?
  • Outcome: Scores concerning food safety knowledge and food handling behavior improved dramatically when training was conducted in the learners’ native language.
  • Outcome: Spanish-speaking participants averaged an impressive 96.60% on post-training scores. This clearly demonstrates the impact and ROI of localization initiatives, when presented in native languages.
Localization Proven for Marketing … So Why Not L&D?

Companies are mastering localization when it comes to marketing their goods and services to target audiences in different cultures – because it works! However, there is slower adoption when performing this same service to train employees – why?

It probably starts with budgeting. Companies spend an average of 2-6% of revenue on marketing but often fail to line-item the costs for localization for corporate training. Many proceed down this path, as an after-thought, or with limited resources. But, let’s consider the research behind marketing and buying behaviors when it comes to learning. Nataly Kelly of the Harvard Business Review asserts that “There is an undeniably strong link between in-language content and a consumer’s likelihood of making a purchase.” Common Sense Advisory surveyed 2,430 web consumers in 8 countries and found that 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. 42% said they never purchase products and services in languages other than their native tongue. Even though most Europeans are multilingual, they still exhibit native language preferences. So, if this is true for buying behaviors, it is likely even more so for learning.

Global English may be the language of commerce, but the global economy has employees speaking hundreds of languages. Doesn’t it make sense to provide our employees with learning options in their native language? Certainly, as you can see from the case studies above, a higher level of learning increases the realm of high productivity, innovative thought, and higher retention. And, isn’t a motivated, well-trained employee a huge return on investment, in any language?

Do you need help measuring the ROI of Localization for Corporate Training? Do you need a more effective way to implement localization in your organization? Global eLearning has developed resources to enhance your localization initiatives. Download our free ebook “Creating an Impactful eLearning Localization Strategy” or contact us for a free consultation!

Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson