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ATD Blog

The Future of Deskless Work: The Rise of Multilingual Training Technology

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Studies show that today’s US workforce is more than 30 percent monolingual in a language that is not English. In some industries, the percent is as high as 50. Organizations must ensure that learners are trained in a language they understand, irrespective of the company’s location, the employee’s location, and their device availability. Accessible training is not just about mobile devices—it is about generating learning content that can reach everyone.

Misconceptions About Deskless Work

Remote work is one form of deskless work. This is when employees work from a location that isn't the company's office. While remote work has its advantages, deskless work is about much more than that.

Deskless work is the use of technology to connect people who are not working from the same physical location. It's an overall shift in the way people collaborate and get their work done. So, it's not just removing the desk from the equation; it's changing the way employees function as a team. It's about using technology to connect teammates who are working in different locations from different devices, wherever they are in the world.


The Rise of Multilingual Content

When organizations took a closer look at the different languages their employees spoke, they realized that their training materials may not have been relevant to the entire workforce. Multilingual content is the practice of creating and publishing content that is accessible to people who speak different languages. The use of this approach enables employees to learn in their native language, thereby improving their retention and overall experience.


The State of Translation Technology

If you’re concerned about using technology for localization of training content, translation technology is actually improving. For example, the technology used by Google Translate has evolved significantly since its inception. Google Translate relies on an online neural network, which learns and processes language much more efficiently than a single human. This technology exponentially improves as more people use it. This means that Google Translate continues to get better and better with each new translation request.

The Role of Multilingual Software

The most important function of multilingual training software is to translate text and videos—every learner interaction—from one language to another. But multilingual software also seamlessly integrates different languages, search indexes, and glossaries across all documents and videos users may access while training. For example, Opus, a mobile-first learning platform that delivers chat-based microtraining, features robust functionality that goes beyond translation, including translation management, terminology management, and translation memory.

Training is essential for employees, and for optimal results it must be accessible in the language they understand best. Deskless work has created a greater need for multilingual training, and today there are a number of translation tools available to make it easier to create content that is delivered in the right language to achieve the right results.

About the Author

Rachael Nemeth is the CEO and cofounder of Opus, a mobile learning platform that helps employers engage and train their "deskless" workforce. Her background combines decades of experience in the service industry, instructional design, and second language acquisition. Before Opus, she worked for Danny Meyer's, Union Square Hospitality Group, Baked, and Hot Bread Kitchen, an NGO that teaches baking skills to underrepresented women. Her first company, ESL Works, brought industry-relevant English training to New York City kitchens. Rachael is an alum of The New School and is from Kansas City (the Kansas side, if you're wondering).

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