The benefits of a multilingual intranet are plentiful. Not only do they help to bridge gaps in understanding and communication in international companies. They’re integral for fostering a diverse and innovative environment for organizations spread across continents. Plus, they are vital for companies operating in multilingual countries such as Belgium and Canada.
Over the years, we’ve installed hundreds of multilingual intranets for our customers all around the globe. From talking to our customers, we’ve uncovered the five most common benefits of having a multilingual intranet.
Benefits of a multilingual intranet
1. Creates a united culture
A multilingual intranet creates a single culture that helps to unite teams spread across countries and continents.
Take for example, the market leading tech innovator in textile machinery building, KARL MAYER. It uses its multilingual intranet to “build up a good corporate culture” across its teams in offices located in nine countries, in Europe and Asia.
Anna Sonnick, corporate communications manager at KARL MAYER, said their primary reason for having a multilingual intranet was so colleagues could “share successes, experiences and good things together, all over the world”.
Anna says it is important that every employee and location is represented and given a platform to share their stories to help create a united culture.
2. Improves access to information
Which language should the intranet be in? This is one of the biggest challenges our international customers come to us with. Typically, these customers have one site and publish content in a single HQ or Group-level language.
The problem with this approach is that it creates a two-tier access to information. Desk-based colleagues can access and read the content, whilst shop-floor or factory workers can’t.
KARL MAYER knew they needed to cater not just for their managers, who work internationally, and speak good English, but for local employees in production areas in China and Japan, who don’t speak English so well, too.
KARL MAYER’s comms team was all too aware that its previous intranet had become too exclusive. It only covered news from a few sites in Germany and could only be accessed by German-speaking colleagues.
This separated the headquartered staff from the rest of the world. It initiated a kind of “two-class society” within the company, which was a huge problem. This kept important news away from a lot of target groups that they wanted to reach.
Working with Valo Premium Partner, GIS AG, we created a multilingual intranet that enabled them to reach out and communicate with every one of their employees, regardless of their location, or the language they spoke in. As a result, their multilingual intranet is now a vital news-channel for every employee.
3. Enables native language content hubs
One of the biggest frustrations for content editors in international companies is not having the freedom to publish local and relevant content in their own language.
Daikin Europe, with operations in Belgium, The Netherlands, the UK, Italy and the Middle East, recognised this and created separate Valo Intranet hubs for each of its affiliates.
This means local content teams can not only share news from the corporate level, they are empowered to create localized content too.
With the help of Premium Partner Amplexor, each of Daikin Europe’s affiliate’s intranet homepages are laid so they have the same “look and feel”. The site pages also keep the same structure. However, each affiliate has its own manager with their own responsibilities and freedom to add content.
4. Increases collaboration
Having a multilingual intranet can boost collaboration between teams spread across borders. Publishing content in a local language means employees can stay up-to-date with what other teams are doing in other countries. This encourages teams to share best practice and to collaborate.
The feedback is Valo Intranet has made it easier for colleagues to work collaboratively together.
Staples Solutions uses its multilingual intranet to support its employees in 14 countries. Each country carries content in their native language. When head offices publishes a news item, local admins translate and publish it on their local site easily, thanks to Valo’s multilingual add-on feature.
5. Enhances diversity & inclusion
Virtual teamwork, with people from different native languages, is increasingly the norm. So, creating an inclusive workplace, where everyone can contribute to the conversation, regardless of language barriers, is more important than ever.
From our experience, employees who can read and respond to HQ news in their native language feel more included and like they have a “voice”.
Royal BAM Group (BAM) wanted to introduce a new global intranet, housed on a single platform, where colleagues from all parts of the business could communicate and share knowledge freely with each other.
We wanted a modern and mobile-friendly intranet, that all employees could access anytime, anywhere. We wanted it to have the same professional, uniform template, underpinning our One BAM identity.
It was important that each operating company (OpCo) maintained its cultural identity, and that OpCo-specific requirements were fulfilled, whilst embracing the One BAM approach. And although the business-language used within the company is English, each OpCo has an intranet published in their local language too.
Valo’s multilingual intranet supports 30 languages
Installing Valo’s multilingual intranet is so easy. Our out-of-the-box solution supports 30 languages, making it so simple to localize the content on your intranet.
Here’s how you do it in our intranet solution: choose the page you want to translate. Then choose who translates it. A copy of that page will then be created, translated and added to the pages library as a “local copy”.
But what if you want to translate your entire intranet?
With Valo’s multilingual add-on, we can help you to create new language versions of the whole Intranet. There are possibilities to choose between translating the pages automatically using the AI or manually.
You can divide the content on your site into site collections per country or by language. Or opt for one global content site and multiple country (or language) sites. Of course, there are other ways to set up the information architecture, but this seems to be the industry standard, says Juha Koivula in this useful article.
Get in touch with one of our multilingual experts today to book a demo. Find out for yourself how simple and easy it is to install and use a multilingual intranet.