eLearning Localization: How to Translate your Online Course for Local Audiences

Updated on October 27, 2022

Looking to offer your online course to an international audience? You’ll need to translate it first! 

There are many benefits to translating your online courses into other languages. You can reach more people, increase your revenue, and expand your business globally. Statistics show that by 2026, the global eLearning market will hit the $400 billion mark, which means it’s a great time to consider localizing your online courses. 

In this post, we’ll show you how you can translate your online courses if you have a WordPress eLearning site. 

Benefits of translating your online course for local audiences

No matter whether your course platform is your primary revenue stream or if it’s just something you work on on the side, translating your online courses is a good idea. It’s not as costly as you might think depending on how you approach it, and there are many ways you can benefit from this endeavor. 

Let’s look at the core benefits of localizing online courses:

You can reach more students and expand into new markets

Statistics show that at least 61% of websites are in English. Given how widely spoken the language is around the world, you can reach a lot of people if you offer your courses in English. However, translating your eLearning site gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience who would otherwise not be able to understand your site.

Different countries have their own cultural nuances that you should take into consideration as you work on eLearning translations. If you have students across the world, localization helps you remove any cultural differences in the font, symbols, gestures, and audio narration in your learning course. 

You also need to consider translation techniques such as voice-overs for videos, subtitling and video transcriptions, text translation, and anything else which will help make learning seamless for your students. Choose the right option for your eLearning course to avoid misinterpretations on the subject matter.

You can improve your SEO

Translating your courses means you can optimize your eLearning site for international search engines too. Bear in mind that if you want to do this properly, you will need to conduct detailed keyword research. Even if your site ranks well in English, there’s no guarantee that it will automatically rank well when you publish it in another language.

It’s not enough to simply translate your courses into another language word by word. The keywords that work in your native language (presumably English) may not be the exact terms searched for in other languages.

Although it’s likely to be minor tweaks, you may need to amend your lesson content, the course title, and other elements of your site when translating them in other to get the best results. 

If you have some technical knowledge or can hire someone to help, you should also follow best practices to tell Google about localized pages on your site

It helps you create better eLearning content 

As you conduct research about your new target market, you’ll develop an understanding of what that audience wants. You’ll learn how they like information to be presented, what topics they want to be covered, and so on. 

Using this information, you can create better content for them which will help improve student retention and engagement. You can tailor specific training modules for them, or add new ones that may be more relevant for learners in a specific country.

How to translate your online course for local audiences

If you want to implement e-learning translation, there are two ways to do it – manually or automatically. How do the two methods differ?

Manual translation 

This is a time-consuming process where each lesson is translated individually by a professional translator or linguist who understands both languages well enough to convey the meaning accurately. 

This translation process is best suited for startups and small businesses that don’t have a lot of content yet. It works if you are starting small with plans to scale up your translation project in the future.

Automatic translation 

Automatic translation tools

The other method is automatic translation, which is better suited for large businesses. This language service works if you have a lot of content and want to scale up faster. Unlike manual translations, this process uses machine learning technology and advanced authoring tools which analyze each lesson and then create their own translation based on their understanding of the subject matter. 

This method can be used if you have multiple target languages. It’s ideal for translation companies that already have an established brand and are planning to expand in additional markets. If you have a huge translation project, your project manager should opt for automatic methods.

How to build easily translatable courses with Sensei LMS

It’s really important to build courses that are easy to follow and well-structured. This makes it easier to translate your courses. SenseiLMS is a perfect tool for building online courses that are easy to localize in multiple languages. It’s a WordPress LMS plugin that can be used by entrepreneurs, academics, coaches, marketers, and agencies.

Sensei LMS

So, what are its key features?

Integration with WordPress

Sensei has native integration with WordPress, unlike other LMS plugins on the market. The main benefit of this is that you can build your courses using the Gutenberg block editor, which makes creating courses simple and straightforward.

Sensei will integrate with your current WordPress theme. You don’t require any modification to the theme’s files. Once you install the Sensei plugin, you can start creating course content. 

WooCommerce integration

Sensei was also designed to integrate natively with WooCommerce. Once you create your course on Sensei, you can sell it worldwide by adding payment methods available in your target countries. 

You can set up WooCommerce Payments to process your purchases, track revenue, and handle all payment activity. WooCommerce Payments is available in 18 countries and accepts payments in over 135 currencies. In addition, it allows you to add multiple payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal allowing you to serve customers from different countries.   

Embed content

You can easily add engaging multimedia content to your lessons thanks to Sensei Interactive Blocks. Some of the blocks you can add to your online course include quiz questions, flashcards, interactive videos, image hotspots, and tasklists. 

How to translate courses built with Sensei

Sensei does not automatically translate courses for you, so you will need a third-party translation plugin. We are going to show you how to translate your courses using two plugins that work with Sensei: WPML and Polylang

Translating online courses with the WPML plugin

WPML is a popular plugin used to create multilingual WordPress sites but you will need to purchase it. Sensei provides official documentation on how to translate courses using the WPML plugin

WPML’s primary function is to make it possible for you to offer your site in multiple languages, as WordPress does not offer this by default. In this guide they have provided, you can see how to set up a multilingual site with the plugin and any other plugins you may need, such as a language switcher. 

As such, the plugin does not automatically translate content for you, but you can use Translation Management to help with that at an extra cost. With WPML, you can create a version of the lesson in English and another one in Spanish (for example) and assign the learners based on their language preference. 

To translate the online course, install WPML and click the Configure WPML button. 

WPML Plugin

Specify the default language and choose the other language you need to translate to, in this case, Spanish. Add a language switcher for your visitors.


Add all the configurations and proceed to translate the content.

WPML courses

Translating online courses with the Polylang plugin

Polylang is another popular plugin that enables you to create a multilingual WordPress site. Sensei provides a guide on how to use the Polylang plugin to translate your online courses. 

It can be used with Sensei LMS to create courses in different languages. When you use Polylang, you’ll need to recreate your menus, one per language. 

Just like WPML, it does not automatically translate content for you. You can use an additional plugin such as Weglot that provides a high-quality machine translation. Weglot automatically detects new content and translates it as you add it. 

Once you install Polylang, select English and the language you want to translate your course

Polylang plugin

The next steps involve recreating the menus, adding a language switcher, and translating the content to Spanish using Lingotek.

Ready to translate your eLearning site?

Localizing your eLearning site is essential if you want to reach more people globally. To make this happen on your WordPress site, you will need a few plugins.

First of all, you need to build well-structured courses that will be easy to translate. Sensei LMS is the best plugin for this, as it has native integration with WordPress so you can create high-quality courses just by using the Gutenberg block editor. You will easily be able to collect your course content, course dashboard, and any other site elements you want to be translated.

You will need an external translation service to localize your courses. You could use an automatic translation plugin for this or get it manually translated. You will also need to use a plugin such as WMPL and Polylang to set up multilingual options on your site. 

If you are looking for a tool that allows you to create and sell online courses which you can easily translate into multiple languages, get started with Sensei today!

Keep the conversation going…

Join the community
Sensei P2

Follow us on Twitter

Stay up to date
Join our mailing List

Choose Your WordPress LMS

We know you’re a genius. Now let us help you share your brilliance with the world.

Host Anywhere

Download our free plugin to use on any WordPress site, and upgrade to Sensei Pro at any time.

  • Open-source and extendable
  • Works with any WordPress theme
  • Integrates with 100s of WordPress plugins
  • Choose any web host

Host With Us

Get blazing-fast hosting, Sensei Pro, backups, and security all in one discounted package.

  • Sensei Pro courses, and quizzes
  • WooCommerce payments
  • Jetpack security and marketing
  • WordPress.com scalable hosting