Today more than ever companies recognize the importance of their employees and the need to enhance their skills and knowledge with proper training. E-learning has established itself as the right platform for both students and employees to access new information at a global level. The industry has seen incredible growth on all continents, however, the North American market is considered to be the most mature market. According to the 2017-2021 Docebo report the U.S. represents the leader in the adoption of e-learning technologies and services.
Company growth and unification are promoted by e-learning courses that reach all the employees of an international company. According to an IBM research 84% of employees in the best performing organizations are receiving the training they need, compared to only 16% of the staff of the worst performers.
For company training to achieve its goals, however, it should be properly presented to all members and preferably done in their own language. Therefore, professional e-learning localization can help reach more people in more languages, improve their understanding and subsequently lead to higher retention and better results. There are some crucial mistakes that companies must avoid to have successful training. Below is a list of 7 of the most common oversights to keep in mind when preparing an e-learning course for localization.
Cutting Costs with “Freebies”
Each company has a budget allocated to training that should be spent in the most appropriate way. However, cutting costs the wrong way is vastly counter-productive both in terms of training success and investment return. It may seem expensive to hire professionals to develop the training course, do the voice over, translate and localize it, but the long-term goals this will accomplish, outnumber the money you think you would save. In their report, IBM established that well-trained teams who used the right e-learning methods save an average of $70,000 per year and lead to a 10% increase in productivity. Each company should decide whether to develop their training course internally or outsource it, and the decision should be made based on the level of expertise and expected results, rather than solely on price.
This is a common mistake made by companies not only in relation to e-learning development and localization but also to any novelty that should be implemented. The urge to opt for a cheaper option proves to be counter-beneficial in the long run, so try to steer clear from this trap.
The fact that e-learning materials facilitate the process of training employees doesn’t mean that simply sharing them across your company staff will do the trick. The key to proper understanding of the subject matter is the proper translation and localization of the course. Therefore, pre-planning of the training materials is crucial. You need to invest sufficient time and efforts to find the best learning style and system that will suit your company demands.
Confusing Translation and Localization
Confusing translation with localization is a mistake that is made way too often. The translation is merely rendering the text into another language. This will help the learners understand it better since they are using their mother tongue. If the examples, videos or images are inappropriate for their culture, however, they will have trouble grasping the important ideas. Hence, localization is vital when we want a successful in-depth training for our employees. It is crucial that all aspects are localized according to the local market where the company office operates. E-learning localization includes the translation of the course but also features changes in audio, video, images, and even colors so that they will be appropriate for the cultural specifications of the target audience. While translation allows learners to use their own language, localization facilitates their understanding of the concepts and company values.
Ignoring Cultural Differences
Failing to research the cultural background and peculiarities of the region targeted by the e-learning course is a major mistake. There are certain concepts, symbols and images that are great for examples in English courses but might be considered offensive if used in another language. Naturally, you are not expected to be an expert in the culture of each country where your company has an office. Here comes the expertise of the e-learning localization professionals who are aware of these essential details and will help your training reach its target audience.
The above three failures are related mainly to the content and ideas of the company training that you need to develop. There are also several important mistakes that should be avoided on the design side.
Using the Wrong Font
To ensure that your online course will be properly translated and localized it is very important to use the right font. Some custom fonts may not be displayed properly on all systems or devices. Therefore, it is better to steer clear from them. You need to avoid licensed fonts as well because of the same reasons. The best option is to stick to system fonts that support characters for all the languages your course is to be localized into. Such an example is Arial Unicode MS. Using the right font insures that the course will be properly visible regardless of the language or the device used.
Not Allowing for Text Expansion
Failing or forgetting to allow more space for the translated language is one of the most common mistakes. You should keep in mind that the length of the translated text is usually longer than the English version. A French translation, for example, is about 25% longer than the English original. A text in Chinese or Japanese also looks much different. Therefore, you need to provide sufficient space in the slides to accommodate the foreign language text.
Embedding Text in Images
You might be used to embedding text into graphics for the presentations that you prepare, but this should be avoided in an e-learning course meant for localization. Embedded text cannot be extracted and translated in the target language. Therefore, the company doing the localization will have to add a new layer with the text and even retouch the graphic or photo. This will add cost to the final price. An easy solution to this mistake is to provide photos and graphs in editable file formats such as PSD, INDD or TIFF.
Keep this list handy when you start developing your next company training. The mistakes listed above are easy to avoid if you are aware of them. If your initial input is in line with the requirements, the final e-learning localization process will be much easier and respectively less expensive and you will be able to reap all the benefits of your company training course.