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Johns Hopkins University

About K4Health

The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), is a family planning and reproductive health focused knowledge management project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Global Health. To increase access to global health education, K4Health and USAID have collaborated to create the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL), a premier source for free, high-quality continuing professional development online courses. K4Health has managed GHeL since 2005, when USAID first identified e-learning as a solution to growing demand from the field for technical updates. The e-learning courses are dedicated to strengthening the knowledge base of international public health practitioners and disseminating evidence-based, accurate, and up-to-date information to improve health service delivery and health outcomes worldwide.


K4Health wanted to add multilingual capabilities to GHeL’s website, which includes a content management system (CMS) and a learning management system (LMS), both built in Drupal. Prior to working with Lingotek, GHeL’s translation efforts were labor intensive and complex. They would export up-to-date content to a Word file, send the file out for translation, and post the translated file as a PDF on their website. This created functional shortcomings in the usability and accuracy of translated e-learning course content:

  • It wasn’t interactive.
  • It didn’t have the same educational/e-learning interface as the online course.
  • It lacked the features and functions of the website.
  • It was difficult or impossible to include ongoing minor updates in translated versions.

K4Health needed a translation management system (TMS) that could handle the unique demands of translating multilingual course content. “Not all modules play nicely with multilingual formats,” observed Lisa Mwaikambo, Director of KM Integration at K4Health and GHeL project lead. “We realized that we were going to need a lot of expertise to modify and/or build processes around those shortcomings.” The project required taking a very challenging, dynamic environment focused on e-learning and making it multilingual in a continuous translation process. The amount of data to implement and manage would be prohibitive to translate any other way.


K4Health used Drupal and the Lingotek Translation Network as a pilot test on the feasibility and demand for a selection of courses. Lingotek was charged with translating the shell of the e-learning site, which included the front course pages that contained basic information about the GHeL program, and the website. The e-learning courses would be translated into four languages– Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish–for healthcare professionals in Western Africa and Latin America. Technical Lead, Guy Chalk described the critical functionality needed for the successful implementation and maintenance of the K4Health project. “I was looking for a single solution translation network that would allow us to store, track, and manage all of the course content across different enterprise applications and that would give us the ability to update course information and content in real time.”

Lingotek worked to augment the shortcomings of selected Drupal Modules to allow for multilingual content and developed a process to handle nonconforming text translations, while still utilizing the TMS and leveraging its capabilities. Each course was developed in English and translated. Lingotek connectors streamlined and automated the translation process within the organization’s CMS and LMS. Prior to launch, a Website Readiness Review was performed to ensure the success of the multilingual deployment. Three weeks later, the course was available in the four requested languages. The TMS now ensures the continuous translation of course changes, which occur on a monthly basis.


User feedback reports indicate that the project is meeting the needs of program managers and service providers in low- and middle-income countries. In-country healthcare providers in Western Africa and Latin America now can visit the e-learning website and take professional development courses in their native language. The GHeL website currently includes more than 80 courses and 16 certificate programs to help participants focus their studies and expand their knowledge in key public health areas. Today, GHeL reaches more than 130,000 registered users who have earned more than 310,000 course certificates.

  • Streamlined translation
  • Accurate and up-to-date health e-learning
  • To date, translation and localization of 6 e-learning courses
  • Improved workflows and efficiency
  • Accelerated educational content delivery
  • Increased course engagement worldwide
  • Valuable insight into language preferences

As pioneers of online collaborative translation, Lingotek gives entities like K4Health, the industry’s most advanced tools for streamlining the translation process. Unique cloud-based, cutting-edge technology routes course data at scale and in real-time, replacing a cumbersome process that threatened the usability and accuracy of the course content. The use of Lingotek TMS ensures that healthcare providers have access to the most accurate and up-to-date training that will help them deliver quality healthcare and improve health outcomes in their communities.

Next Steps

Since the pilot, K4Health discovered that courses offered in French were the most popular. This information provided valuable insight that was used to inform future course translation decisions.

About Lingotek

Lingotek | The Translation Network
Lingotek’s Translation Network is the only cloud-based solution to connect all your global content in one place, giving you the power to manage your brand worldwide. Our industry-leading technology pairs with the best enterprise applications to continuously push dynamic multilingual content to all of your global markets. Finally. Networked translation.

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