eTeacher Group: A Case of Lost in Translation

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Founded in 2000, eTeacher Group is a virtual language school based out of Israel, specializing in Chinese, English, Modern Hebrew, and Biblical languages using online classrooms with instructors teaching via live video conferencing. Touted features include live online instruction, flexible hours, and the ease of learning from home or work. The company also partners with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to offer college credits for its Biblical Hebrew classes.

(www.eteachergroup.com)

Business Challenge
eTeacher Group is broken into four different "schools": eTeacher Chinese, eTeacher English, eTeacher Hebrew, and eTeacher Biblical (which includes Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and other ancient languages), each with its own website. In addition, eTeacher's thousands of students come from more than 100 countries worldwide, with many different native tongues. Because of this, each school's site also needs to be translated into multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Russian, and German, in order to effectively function for its target audiences. This has resulted in eTeacher essentially maintaining nearly 20 websites worth of content.

Vendor of Choice: iCanLocalize
ICanLocalize was established in 2007 with the goal of making professional translation services available to everyone-not just large corporations. Beginning with website translation with modules to work with various content management systems (CMS), the company now offers services in software localization, text translation, and general translation for more than 40 languages with a network of more than 1,700 translators, all with the aim of helping small businesses go global.

(www.icanlocalize.com)


The Problem in Depth
Teaching a variety of languages to students from all over the world with different native tongues was not a problem for eTeacher’s online instructors, but it did complicate things for its web managers. How would they ensure all their content could be translated into multiple languages and uploaded in a timely fashion, while maintaining separate sites for each of their “language departments”?

Why have separate sites for each offering? Why not streamline all languages into one site with a menu of available classes? While there is one main website with general information on all its offerings and links to individual sites, eTeacher co-CEO Boaz Binnun says, “We want to distinguish ourselves from companies like Rosetta Stone that teach so many languages. We specialize in each niche language that we teach, especially our Biblical languages, and we want to make that clear. Very few companies teach languages like Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic.” Separate sites with unique URLs for each language area offering were key vehicles in accomplishing this goal, he says.

Content for each of these four sites then had to be translated into many different languages in order to reach eTeacher’s potential and current students across the globe. This involved using several independent freelance translators and then hard coding the content to be uploaded separately to each site, each with its own domain. The process was complicated, time-consuming, and unwieldy, to say the least.

eTeacher needed a solution with a professional CMS platform that would allow for a separate site for each language, each with a similar branding but not an identical look. “We needed a content-driven solution,” eTeacher’s Binnun says, “we needed a way to share some content across sites, but also keep unique content specific to each site.”

The company also needed a way to continue the process of translating content and uploading it to the appropriate site. In addition, eTeacher needed to be able to do all of this more efficiently than before if it wanted to continue to grow business, and it needed to do it with a cost-effective solution.

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