How to Translate Courses: A Guide for Online Educators

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Written by

Adedamola Ojedokun

Totally made-up fact: teaching courses to students who don’t speak your language takes visual aids, hand signals, positive reinforcements, and 84 years.

It’s doable.

But if that doesn’t work, find out how to translate courses below.

This article explores the basics of course translation for broadening your audience and making a lasting impact in the ever-expanding world of online education.

Pro tip: Streamline your course translation process and make your courses resonate with learners around the globe by leveraging a localization service provider, such as Centus. Learn more.

Read on to learn:

Benefits of Translating Your Online Course

Translating online courses has the inherent benefit of enhancing the learning outcomes of audiences with limited English proficiency. Other benefits of translating your course include:

Accessibility and inclusivity

One of the main benefits of translating your course materials is improved accessibility.

Language barriers prevent people from fully participating in educational programs. By removing those barriers, you empower students who might otherwise struggle to understand and engage with your course.

In the same vein, by providing equal access to knowledge for all students regardless of their linguistic and ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, gender, or developmental needs, you enable inclusivity.

Expanding market potential

Language should never be a hindrance to education, and by translating your course, you may reach out to new markets and a larger pool of potential students.

There is an increasing demand for multilingual courses due to the globalization of education. This increase in market potential might result in more enrollment and income streams for your online course.

Catering to specific cultural contexts

Translating course materials helps you tailor information to specific cultural nuances, colloquial idioms, or examples that will resonate with students from different regions. This can lead to increased engagement, understanding, and retention since your students can connect more intimately with the course content.

Moreover, since language is inextricably connected to culture, by translating your course, you recognize and respect the diversity of your students.

Enhancing user experience

When students can access course materials in their local language, their overall user experience improves. Complicated concepts, directions, and assignments become easier to understand, leading to increased comprehension and engagement.

You enhance students’ interest in your course and increase their chances of completing the course by creating a seamless experience. A pleasant user experience encourages students to suggest your course to others. This helps you build a good reputation in the online education community.

5 Elements to Translate on Your Course Website

There are different elements to consider while translating your course site to ensure a comprehensive and professional translation. You can provide a seamless learning experience for students who speak different languages and cater to their cultural contexts by translating the following elements:

Course descriptions and titles

Course description and titles Source: Udemy

Translate the course descriptions and titles into other languages to accurately represent the content and goals of your courses. As a result, potential students will understand what to expect from your course and make an informed decision about enrolling.

Instructional materials

how to translate instructional materials Source: Udemy

All instructional resources, such as lecture notes, presentations, handouts, and study guides, must be translated. Ensure that the translated materials are as accurate as the original content so that students can effectively grasp the taught concepts.

Multimedia content

how to translate multimedia content Source: Udemy

If your course contains multimedia elements like videos, audio recordings, or podcasts, the associated transcripts or subtitles must be translated. This will make it easier for students who are not native speakers of the course language to understand the content.

Assessments and quizzes

how to translate assessments and quizzes

It is important to accurately translate assessments and quizzes to ensure fair assessment for all students. This includes not only the questions but also any instructions or explanations. By doing so, you create a level playing field for students from different language backgrounds.

Discussion forums and interactive elements

how to translate discussion forums Source: Udemy

If your course includes interactive aspects, discussion forums, or live sessions, it is important to properly translate these features. This allows students, regardless of language skill, to actively participate in the course, ask questions, and join in discussions.

3 Ways to Translate a Course Website

There are three key options available for translating your online course site. Carefully study their advantages and disadvantages detailed below to choose one that is closely aligned with your specific needs and resources.

Manual translation

Manual translation and interpreting involve the use of a skilled human translator to create multilingual course content. This strategy ensures accuracy while also allowing for greater cultural flexibility and complexity. It is also helpful for communicating complicated ideas while maintaining a consistent tone throughout the course.


  • A professional translator with refined language skills can accurately interpret and express context, idioms, and cultural references.

  • A human translator makes the text culturally appropriate and ensures that it appeals to the intended audience.

  • Manual translation gives you more control over the translation accuracy and allows you to meet specific requirements and preferences.


  • Manual translation and interpreting can be time-consuming, especially for courses with large volumes.

  • Hiring experienced professionals with specialized knowledge and translation skills can be expensive, especially if you need to translate your course into many languages.

Machine translation

Machine translation (MT) involves the use of software for translating text from one language to another without human involvement. This type of translation is classified into three types: rule-based, statistical, and neural machine translation (NMT).


  • It can translate huge volumes of text quickly, allowing you to save time and complete urgent projects almost instantly.

  • MT is less expensive than manual translation, especially for courses with large volumes of content.

  • It helps in understanding the overall meaning of a text, which may be sufficient for certain courses..


  • MT can produce translations that lack accuracy or fluency when dealing with complicated or specialized content.

  • It usually fails to translate cultural nuances, idioms, and specific contexts, thus leading to misinterpretations.

  • It can result in errors or inconsistencies that can harm the learning experience without the oversight of a professional translator.

Learn more about machine translation here.

Human-assisted machine translation

This combines the benefits of manual and machine translation. It involves starting with MT and then having professional translators examine and modify the output.


  • The combined approach is cheaper than manual translation since it bridges the gap between cost and accuracy.

  • Combining the speed of MT with the experience of a human translator can offer efficient and accurate course translation.

  • It can use translation memory and glossaries to maintain consistency in translations.


  • The limitations of MT can affect the accuracy of the translated materials.

Learn how to combine human and MT as well as the pros and cons of both here.

How to Translate an Online Course

how to translate web courses

Using a localization service provider to translate your course can significantly simplify the process and ensure high-quality results. Localization services specialize in adapting content to specific languages, cultures, and markets, giving you the experience you need to translate your course efficiently.

Follow these steps to successfully localize your online course using a localization provider:

Prepare your course materials for translation

Organize your course materials by gathering all text, multimedia content, and materials that need to be translated. This will help in streamlining the translation and provide a clear perspective on what needs to be translated.

To ensure high-quality translation, provide a translator with detailed instructions. Explain the goal of your course, the intended audience, and any specific language or style rules that must be followed.

Use a localization management software

You can streamline the online course translation workflow and also ensure consistency in the translation by using a localization management solution such as Centus. With its help, you can effortlessly extract and prepare course materials, perform machine translation, and ensure rigorous quality control.

Review and implement the translated content

Thoroughly review the translated materials after translating your course. This process includes quality assurance and translation validation to ensure accuracy and consistency. Check the translations for any mistakes or cultural misinterpretations.

It is advisable to seek the help of a native speaker or expert in the subject matter to examine and provide feedback on the translated documents. This scrutiny will help ensure that the translated version accurately represents the intent of the original course.

Test and launch the multilingual version of your course

Test the functionality and usability of the translated course before you publish it. Ensure that all links, multimedia elements, and interactive features are functioning properly. You should also test the course on different devices and browsers to test its compatibility.

Once you're satisfied with the functionality, usability, and compatibility of the translated course, you can go ahead and publish it.

Highlight the different translation options on your course site, promote the course’s multilingual options through marketing channels, and inform potential students that your course is available in their original language.

Simplify Online Course Translation with Centus

Centus is a powerful localization management tool that can transform web courses by simplifying and enhancing the localization and internationalization processes.

Here are the different ways through which the tool can transform your online course:

  • The solution streamlines the translation of course content into different languages, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

  • Course creators can easily modify images, graphics, and examples to suit different cultural contexts.

  • The solution enables the adaptation of buttons, menus, and navigation elements to cater to learners' preferred languages.

  • Centus facilitates subtitling, dubbing, and voiceover localization for audio and video components.

  • Linguistic and functional testing tools help maintain translation accuracy and ensure proper functionality.

  • Centus supports the expansion of web courses to reach a broader audience while maintaining localization quality.

Get a free demo now!

To Sum Up

Translating your courses, automatically detecting the learner’s preferred language, and using a language switcher are crucial to increasing your online educational reach, fostering diversity, and remaining competitive in the global marketplace.

You can unlock the full potential of your online course, enhance its visibility on search engines, and also empower students around the world by partnering with a reputable localization service like Centus. Learn more.


How to translate a Coursera course?

Follow these steps to translate a Coursera course:

1.Obtain permission from the course instructor or organization.

2.Assess the scope of translation required.

3.Assemble a translation team with proficiency in both languages.

4.Create a detailed translation plan with timelines and roles.

5.Translate course materials, including videos, transcripts, assignments, etc.

6.Edit and proofread the translations for accuracy and coherence.

7.Localize visuals and examples to align with the target culture.

8.Implement the translations on the Coursera platform.

9.Conduct quality assurance tests to ensure proper display and accuracy.

10.Launch and promote the translated course to the target audience.

What are the steps in translating online courses?

Here are the steps involved in translating web courses:

1.Conduct project analysis and preparation, where the scope and needs are decided and the relevant materials are obtained.

2.Carry out the actual translation by converting the primary language into the target language while considering cultural nuances.

3.Edit, proofread, and quality control the translated materials to ensure accuracy and consistency.

4.Conduct ongoing post-translation support to resolve user complaints and provide necessary revisions.

How to translate a Udemy course?

To translate an Udemy course, follow these steps:

1.Assess your language proficiency.

2.Obtain permission from the course instructor.

3.Plan your translation approach.

4.Computer with video editing software.

5.Transcribe and translate the content.

6.Synchronize subtitles or record voice-over.

7.Review and edit the translated content.

8.Add the course to your site along with a language switcher.

How to translate a Skillshare course?

Follow these steps to translate a Skillshare course:

1.Review the original course content to get a good understanding of what you want to translate.

2.Determine the target language for the translation and consider any linguistic differences, cultural nuances, or regional preferences that may influence the translation process.

3.Create a glossary of essential terminology and concepts used in the course to ensure consistency and the correct depiction of the original content throughout the translation.

4.Start translating the course script or subtitles into the target language, ensuring that the meaning is successfully conveyed while adapting to the target audience's linguistic and cultural context.

5.If the course contains visual elements such as slides or graphics, translate any text within the visuals to ensure that it corresponds with the translated script.

6.If the original course has voiceovers, record new voiceovers in the target language; otherwise, translate and sync the subtitles with the original audio to ensure accurate translation and synchronization.

7.Check the translated course for consistency, clarity, and coherence, and fix all inconsistencies, grammatical errors, or linguistic issues.

8.Ensure the text alignment and font styles of the translated course align with those of the original course.

9.Conduct a detailed quality check on the translated course to ensure that it accurately portrays the original content and meets Skillshare's quality standards.

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