6 key tips to successfully localize and translate e-learning courses

March 8, 2017

Strategic e-learning localization and translation development initiatives help to improve employee loyalty and make for a stable corporate culture and working environment. However, implementing such knowledge across a wide variety of cultures, languages, countries, and target audiences is often considered a daunting task.

Nonetheless, when equipped with the proper tools and knowledge you can create highly successful translated e-learning material. Below we explore the 6 essential elements to consider when localizing and translating e-learning courses.

1. A professional e-learning course demands a professional translation provider.


To truly deliver a valuable learning experience to your audience, it’s best to partner with a professional Language Service Company who is familiar with e-learning and has experience with the industry-leading e-learning software(s). This requires someone who has in-depth knowledge on the cultural norms and backgrounds of your target audience and the ability to customize and translate the content for your learners.

For example, if learning courses require Voice-Over (VO) translation, you should be confident in your provider’s VO experience and resources. Before hand, it is important to ask your provider questions such as: How is the voice talent picked?  Will they be providing voice samples? Be sure to be specific on the exact voice your course requires. Delivery of Voice-Over is important, too. You should discuss: How will the files be delivered? In what format? Will they deliver split files according to in the script? How will the final files need to be delivered? Do the files need to be SCORMed?

 2. You get what you pay for.


As the saying goes: if it feels to-good-to-be-true, it is. While it’s easy for budget restrictions to get the best of you, be weary of vendors who provide a quote with “exceptional” pricing. Technical translation is a complex, labor-intensive job that requires subject matter experts and top-notch quality assurance. Short cuts can be a serious risk in translations of e-learning material.

That said, your Language Service Company should always be up-front and transparent with all costs before any work is done. Keep an eye out for services that make claims along the lines of “cost is subject to change upon completion of project.” Proper translation requires a tremendous amount of testing and tweaking to ensure a successful project. Both you and your provider should be aware of the time and money you’re both investing before getting to work.

3. Translation is an art, not a science.


Translation solutions require an experienced Project Manager who understands the nuances of the technical and document translation process and will effectively manage the workflow to speed up implementation, maximize the impact of your investment, and reduce your overall costs. Because this will be unique to your company and the material you are translating, be sure to consider and properly allocate the time needed for your subject matter experts and translation vendor to discuss any style changes or wording that may need to be altered to fit the company’s agenda.

4. Avoid miscommunication with a terminology base.


A company terminology base provides the words and phrasing that is unique to your company. When starting to work with a Language Service Company, this terminology sheet will help you to hit the ground running. Because no two companies are the same, neither will their terminology base. Be sure to consider the words and phrases unique to your marketing materials and overall content strategy. Enlisting help from your HR or marketing department would be helpful in creating this sheet.

It’s also important to note that any reputable professional language service company will use a Translation Memory (TM) to track past work, repetitions, and preferred terminology, so always be sure your translation work is being incorporated into a TM.

5. Consistency is key.


It is important to find a Language Service Company that will give you a consistent style and learns your company terminology. Jumping from one provider to another will cause your learning material to lack in continuity. You also want to avoid any provider who does not keep a consistent team staffed on your projects. In the world of e-learning, consistent translations provide consistent results.

6. Think outside the general translation.


 While certain sayings may be completely familiar to some audiences, others simply won’t know what you’re referring to. You may be translating from English to Spanish but what Spanish do you need? North American? Central American? South American? European? Is the material going to Barcelona? You need Catalan! Knowing all the sub-audiences to the market you are targeting will provide a better understanding to every member of your audience.

At Translation Source, we use proven methodologies to identify, localize, translate, and develop critical international e-learning training that enhances employees’ core skills. To get started with yours, contact us now.


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