What Kind of Bilingual Training Do You Need?


At first glance, you might think that designing bilingual training is simple. You have a workforce that speaks both English and another language, so you make sure your training materials are offered in two languages.

But the fact is that if you are a training director at your company, there are several kinds of bilingual training you should know about. Each tries to accomplish a different goal, and each requires a different kind of training design. Here’s a quick overview . . .

Bilingual Training Type 1: OSHA-Mandated Safety Training for Spanish-Speaking Workers

If your business requires workers to comply with OSHA-mandated standards for job safety and some of your workers speak primarily Spanish, it is your company’s responsibility to offer them Spanish-language training. Another way of saying this is that if OSHA compliance inspectors visit your company and find violations, you can’t defend yourself by saying that you believed you only had to provide safety training in English. To learn more about OSHA-required training, CLICK HERE.  

Bilingual Training Type 2: Training for Workers Who Will Use Two Languages on the Job

This is required if you’re training employees who will have to speak two languages – Spanish and English or French and English, etc. – in order to perform their jobs. These workers could be customer-service representatives, call center personnel, retail salespeople and all other employees who need to be fluent in two languages. Designing training programs for these functionally bilingual employees requires a thorough assessment of the demands of the job, the development of a working job-related vocabulary of terms to be used when performing the job, and more.

Bilingual Training Type 3: Technical Training for Employees Who Will Continue to Speak their First Languages on the Job

You need this kind of training if you have technical skills to teach but do not require employees to speak English extensively on the job. If you’re training native Spanish or French-speaking employees to assemble products or pick orders in your warehouse, for example, your priority is to create excellent training materials that teach the right skills in the language they understand.  As you can see, this kind of training will look and function differently from the Type 2 training that we described above.

Bilingual Training Type 4: Bilingual Training Designed to Teach Employees to Perform their Jobs Primarily in English

This type of training teaches native speakers of foreign languages to speak English with your customers. For example, you are hiring a number of healthcare workers from the Caribbean who speak Creole French and would like them to be able to speak English with your clients and patients. One focus of this kind of training is developing a working vocabulary of English terms and phrases that they will need to use when doing their jobs.

Bilingual Training Type 5: Bilingual Food Service Training

This training teaches bilingual food service workers the specific – and often complex – skills related to the safe preparation and handling of food products. If you need this kind of training for employees who speak English and Spanish, be sure to investigate Tortal Training’s Out of the Box Training Solution for Hospitality and Food Service Training.

What Kind of Bilingual Training Do You Need?

If you need one of the types of bilingual training described in today’s post – of if you need something different – contact Tortal Training to discuss your training objectives and needs.