How to effectively set up your SAP training materials in any language

October 15, 2012

Similar to an engineering translation, an SAP international training initiative can pose unique difficulties due to legal regulations and specific terminology of the target country. Since user adoption is crucial for the success of a global SAP initiative we’ve provided seven tips for how to set up your SAP training materials in any language.
Tip #1: Layout your Localization Plan
The critical success factor of your SAP international training will depend on its specific objectives. Whether you are localizing to take advantage of a global business opportunity, streamlining global training, or as a cost-cutting initiative, you must first clearly define your corporate and local goals. Your SAP international training program may be targeted to different groups such as your SAP project team, functional and technical analysts, and SAP end users. Start off with a training needs analysis to determine what each group should take away from the training. Set up your localization strategy from the start and commit to the resources needed to unify your objectives.

Tip #2: Get Local Support
Put your plan into action only after an in-country buy-in event.  Local leadership needs to understand the importance of aligning the business to SAP and must have an in-depth knowledge of the SAP international training program’s structure and resource requirements. This will ensure that the local leadership team will be able to fully support the project.

Tip #3: Gather your Forces
Successful international SAP training requires a flexible team of linguists trained to handle a full range of multilingual solutions including training documentation translation, online reference content creation, system usability testing, screen capturing, and in-country reviewing. International bilingual staffing providers can help ensure you get top quality employees for your extended team but solid communication is crucial. Project management should be centralized and an on-site coordinator should be nominated as the local go-to person. It’s a good idea plan weekly project meetings to make sure all teams are on the same page throughout each stage of the project.

Tip #4: Adapt your Content
Differences in local legislation and limited access to resources can affect the adoption rate of your international SAP training program. Cultural factors and differences in the business environment can affect the success of your program as well. For example, a culture that ranks high on the uncertainty avoidance index may become frustrated when presented with test or that they were not prepared for. A cultural audit of the target culture is recommended in order to adapt the content to the needs of your users. It often helps to approach these issues from a framework perspective, such as the Hofstede’s dimensions.

Tip #5: Translation Considerations
Many potential difficulties may impede your SAP translation such as misleading source content, lack of target language terminology, or regional vocabulary differences. A company that provides good multilingual consulting and translation services will be able to assess your needs and help you decide when to use cost-effective translation memory and machine translation as opposed to human translation. As a general rule, machine translation is used for a high volume of low value content with no branding implications. This is appropriate for training materials to be consumed within the company such as reference manuals or technical translations. Professional human translation is the best option for a lower volume of high value content with branding implications. This should be used for training coursework, all audio/visual media and any published content.

Tip #6: Technological Considerations
Internationalize your content. This means minimizing language-specific features that may pose problems when the product is localized. Keep files small, use as few authoring tools as possible, and design screens for text expansion and text direction. And the most important rule when constructing your technology platform: always check connectivity issues. If users can’t load the program, all your hard work will be for naught.

Tip #7: Strive for Perfection
SAP projects are highly visible mission critical corporate events that must meet aggressive
time-to-market requirements. There is no room for error. Plan ahead, cover all your bases, and follow these tips to ensure that your SAP international training program goes off without a hitch!

If you would like additional information on this topic or have questions on planning and executing your next translation or multilingual initiative, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation or call us at (800) 413-7838.

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