Building Shared Communities in Multiple Languages

When building a community online, language should be a key consideration. While it’s true that our francophone users would be able to reasonably navigate an English-language platform, their opportunities for community may be restricted to our forums, minimizing connections with other areas of the platform and, more importantly, with course content. At the same time, anglophone users wouldn’t be able to meaningfully connect with their francophone colleagues in the forums without the kind of translation capability our Translation Manager feature is working to create.

TechChange, in partnership with Chemonics and the USAID HRH2030 program, recently launched a platform and course on Capacity Building for Malaria. Alongside advancements in our newly piloted Translation Manager, the Capacity Building for Malaria platform is the first of its kind in offering a fully integrated, bilingual experience for its user base, which is around 75% francophone, and 25% anglophone.

Given that a strong cohort of both French and English speakers were set to use the platform, the Instructional Design team opted to include both languages on the platform, with the French translation of course content appearing first to represent the larger cohort of francophone users from primarily West Africa.

It isn’t enough to offer resources on the platform in both English and French — in order to create a user experience that speaks to both our anglophone and francophone users, integration across the back end and front end is entirely necessary. As studies have shown, we connect with and retain information with greatest ease when it is presented in our primary language — when it comes to online learning, therefore, nothing should prevent this from being a priority. Narration, both in online courses and in video content, and subtitles are equally important considerations when constructing content in multiple languages.

TechChange’s recent partnership with Family Care International (FCI) resulted in two separate animations, one produced in English, the other in French, to reflect the dominant languages of target audience members, who were primarily from Kenya and Burkina Faso. Check out that project here, and stay tuned to learn more about TechChange’s advances in language integration.


avatar