About three weeks ago I wrote an article about European clones, using the example of Spain-based Cursopedia which created an online course marketplace similar to Udemy. I argued that US-based startups usually tend to focus on the English speaking market alone and therefore don’t spend time and money on offering localized versions of their service.
Yesterday Udemy announced that the platform is now available in 9 languages, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Russian and Turkish. Two more languages, Korean and Hindi, are going to be added later this Summer.
I think this shows a distinct difference between the European compared to the US-based entrepreneur’s mindset. Eren Bali, Founder and CEO of Udemy, grew up in Turkey and participated in the launch of a successful startup there before he took the decision to move to the US for his next venture. In the press release he shares some more background on why he believes that localization is important.
“The internationalization of Udemy is a deeply personal project for me. I grew up in a single room schoolhouse in Southeastern Turkey, and while the internet helped me lift myself up in ways I never imagined possible, so much of the great learning content available online is only in English. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of a force that helps remove this language barrier for good, and I hope by localizing Udemy into these 11 languages, we will be one step closer to truly empowering any expert anywhere in the world to give back and teach the next generation.”
And offering content in local languages can pay off quite nicely for both sides involved, the platform and the educator. Targeting Cursopedia’s core market, Udemy announced that one of the first instructors who offered a course in Spanish on virtualization has earned $15k since end of June and a Spanish iOS-programming course earned $32k in two months.
Last but not least, along with the news of adding localization to the site, Udemy also shared that it reached the milestone of 1 million students registered. 50% of the students who visit Udemy are from outside the US and currently Udemy is hosting 600 courses in Spanish and 150 courses in Portuguese.
Of course, just translating the page won’t attract educators or learners in droves. The European market is scattered, there are several startup hubs across the continent and each of them is very unique. Hence, there needs to be a lot of marketing and grassroots work to be done but that again is something the team at Udemy is known for.