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MIT Sloan Offers Executive Ed in 6 Languages Simultaneously

MIT is going multi-lingual with an upcoming executive program. The Institute's Sloan School of Management plans to accommodate a set of courses offered in six languages simultaneously using human interpreters and Apple iPads to help with the translations.

The new $14,500 program, intended for foreign executives to learn management skills, will be conducted in Arabic, English, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. About 100 participants will come together for a Global Executive Academy, to be held at the Cambridge, MA campus for a couple of weeks in December.

"Many non-English-speaking executives and managers throughout the world do not have access to top business school education programs," said Peter Hirst, executive director of MIT's Executive Education program. "Even the few programs that are held in their home countries are often conducted in English. Here, the program will be offered in their natural languages, and participants will also have the valuable experience of meeting and networking with other global executives."

Instructors will speak in English, and participants will wear discreet wireless headsets to listen to the translations. Similar to how the process works at the United Nations, behind the scenes a corps of 20 interpreters will handle translations on the fly. During discussions participants will speak into microphones installed on tables, and interpreters will translate what is said into English and then into other languages.

iPads will be used in order to allow the participants to see translations of slides from presentations in their own language synchronized with the presentation on the main screen.

Program organizers hope to draw roughly equal numbers of executives fluent in each language so that when the class shifts into discussion groups, those groups can be organized by language.

Content will consist of four two-day sessions covering innovation, managing technical professionals, strategic marketing, and developing high-performing organizations. Upon completion, each student will receive a certificate of management and leadership.

"We're excited to see what happens when we bring all of these people together from all these different countries using different languages at the same time," noted Hirst.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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