Best Practice: Multi-Language Course

Jun 27, 2016

Hello everyone! Once again, my apologies for this quick slam dunk question without proper review of possible discussion material. I have published dozens of Articulate Presenter "courses" in the past years with or without Engage interations and Quizmaker quizzes. Some courses have had up to 150 slides. Now I am faced with a customer who would like to have one module including 20 different language-based slides (69 slides x 20). I assume it's still not a smart choice to build such a module (Storyline or Presenter) with 1,380 + slides, correct? My initial approach would be 20 modules that link to one another but the client is keen on having the entire mother board within one module. The monster module would require replacing one or multiple images in the future due to a merger, hence the previous question pertaining to the catalog of images (possible ease of replacing one image and having this change cascade to all relevant slides where the image is being used). Question A) does everyone agree with me that the multi-language course be split-up into 20 instances (either Storyline or Presenter) or if you see no problem with such a large instance, B) what would be your approach to navigate from that first slide, selecting the applicable language; 20 boxes / links or would a drop-down list within the slide's content slide be (somehow) possible? Again, my bad for not doing pre-homework and just throwing this at you and in advance, a huge thank you for quick and helpful responses. Thanks! Cheers, Jason

20 Replies
Christie Pollick

Hi, Jason -- Thanks so much for reaching out here! And while I will defer to your fellow community members to share their own advice and ideas, I did want to pass along the following discussions related to multiple languages in one course:

And I wanted to note that you are also welcome to seek out additional opinions over in our Building Better Courses forum, as well. 

Jackie Van Nice

Hi Jason -

Oh my! A 1340-slide monster module seems inadvisable for lots of reasons - so your instinct to split it up seems spot-on to me. 

As to how to design the language selection screen, it depends on what else is on that screen - but I'd go for a nice graphic representation (shapes with the name of the language in that same language in each one) - rather than a drop-down. Just seems more appealing to me.

Best of luck to you. What a project! 


Jeff Kortenbosch

I'd never do it but I've seen various versions of something like this.

  • Using states for anything containing text. A language selection screen will set a variable that will set the required language state. I would not recommend that when using 20 languages but it could work with a couple.
  • Scenes. A seperate scene for each language. Again it would probably be a nightmare to do that for 20 languages. The range of variables and object names you'd have to consider. Plus tracking completion... brrr don't even want to go there.
  • The smart choice: Do NOT create all languages but create a language version for each. Your LMS will probably allow to put them together on a course page/learning plan with a setting that one of the items completed means the entire learning plan is competed.

I've done dozens of translation projects and each language is a project on its own. I've never had all languages done at the same moment but because we do everything as a stand-alone version we are able to deliver the languages as they are done (another pro). If someone would hire me to do 20 languages in one course I'd probably try to explain all the downsides of such a project. If they would be adamant I'd either not take the job or tell them to quadruple their budget.

Hope that helps!

Courtney Peeler

I agree with Jeff that the smart choice is to create a different version for each and make them equivalents within the learning plan in your LMS system. You could also create equivalent learning plans for different languages. It's just too complicated to create triggers within a single module for different languages. I can see it bogging down the player and you would need to be very detailed and diligent in your testing of every angle.

eLearning Development


I did a large project that was only English, French and it was a challenge enough.  I was able to break it up into modules and do both languages separately which helped.  I was able to link all of the modules together using web objects with a central menu.  I am completely unfamiliar with your thought of replacing images throughout the modules through an image bank.  If it is possible I look forward to hearing how.

Good luck with your project.


Brett Rockwood

Phil makes a good point about the player only being limited to a single language for each course. We often do two languages, English-French, English-Italian, etc., and have created new language sets for the player where we've added both languages to the translation. For example we create a language set called "ENFR" for English/French. Then we modify it so it contains both, e.g, "Yes/Oui" and "No/Non". It's kind of clunky but it works. For the "Next" and "Previous" buttons we just use the greater-than and less-than characters: < > with no words at all.

Nick Elkins

I once had a project for a client using Absorb. They wanted 17 different languages,a total of about 2500 slides, all in one SCO. This is because of the way the LMS tracks the completion, it apparentlycouldn't be set up as separate SCOs.

We ended up adding a custom HTML language selection page at the top level of the main SCO and then used JavaScript within each Storyline file so we could publish each version separatelyand track properly to the LMS but all using different files. Made file management and productivity so much easier.


Big thanks to this forum and Steve Flowers for coming up with the solution.

Richard Gregory

Definitely break the module up, Storyline is good but probably not good enough to handle so many pages. Also think of the rendering and processor power needed to open let alone publish the file.  I've never seen this done but perhaps other community members have tried this but one thing to look at is whether you can link assets such as videos and images together between modules. If you want to change one image last thing you want to have to do is open and then publish 20 seperate files. To be honest there are other authoring tools that would get you past this issue.... hopefully Storyline 3 will tackle this common problem!

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.