Most of the large organizations today have offices in multiple countries besides their own. This results in managing employees from different regions and cultures, speaking different languages. While English may be the official language of the corporation, English proficiency will definitely not be uniform across all employees. Certain training programs should be translated and localized in order to guarantee the same level of accuracy and comprehension. Such e-learning courses are usually on subject matters like compliance, internal processes, code of conduct, safety, best practices, etc.
Multinational companies should consider using the local languages for trainings since it will bring them significant benefits and leave their employees better educated. Here are some of the reasons why localization of e-learning is a good idea and how to achieve it in the best way.
Reasons for E-Learning Localization
While the devil for good e-learning localization hides in the details, the necessity for translation and localization is also diverse but can be summarized into three main reasons:
- Linguistic and cultural diversity
- Reach a globally and culturally dispersed audience
- Contextual and legal differences
No matter if you are developing a multinational company training or an e-learning module for university students you need to consider these three reasons. They give you the basis of your e-learning course development and help you create content that is easy to translate.
5 Innovative Steps of E-Learning Localization
There are a lot of guides and tips on how to make e-learning localization a success. Below you can find a more innovative approach to the process of creating and translating the e-learning course. Here are the five steps to follow:
This stage of the translation and localization process resembles the first step of the e-learning course development and that is using a storyboard. At the input phase you take the content from the original English course as your starting point. Then you create a storyboard in the respective language that contains all the necessary elements of an e-learning course – content, images, multimedia elements, videos, audio files, learning objects, etc. Be very careful to follow the right order of the elements as they are in the original module. A good idea is also to have a list of technical words to make sure that they are uniformly used throughout the entire translated text.
This is the phase of the actual translation. The translator starts working on the course based on the storyboard created for the given language. The best option is to have a native translator do the job and then another linguist to check it and correct any mistakes. At the end of this step you are left with several storyboards translated into the target languages you have chosen for your course localization.
Here comes the developer who needs to integrate all the translated elements of the course. This is the stage where content, graphics, video and all other elements are localized into the target language. When necessary the colors or the overall design is also touched to better meet the requirements of the target audience.
- Check quality
Quality assurance is an important step of the e-learning course translation and localization process. At this stage both linguistic and technical accuracy are evaluated by the respective experts. Some of the elements to pay special attention to are textual content, video and audio input. The text is important since the translated version may be shorter or longer than the original and they may be blank or overstuffed spaces. If there were any animated words or phrases it is important that the animation bears the same message and emphasis in the target language without looking inappropriate. In relation to the videos, make sure that the audio input in the target language is synchronized with the text that appears on the screen. Once all elements of the translated e-learning course are checked, you are ready to deliver it.
The final stage of the process is the delivery of the final product to the client. Once you have successfully localized the e-learning course and checked its quality, you are ready to send it to the client and receive their feedback. Afterwards, there might be some slight changes that you will need to incorporate into the course and then it is ready for the target audience.
This is a simple 5-step approach to delivering a successfully localized e-learning course. There are certain elements that you need to pay attention to, no matter which approach for e-learning localization you have adopted. These are:
- Images, graphs, charts – you need to use high quality elements without embedded text;
- Fonts and space – you need to utilize a universal font that is supported by all languages and leave sufficient space for the translated text as it will be longer in some languages;
- Format of dates, numbers, measurement units, etc. – some countries use inches, other centimeters, some pay in dollars, others in pounds – make sure to use the correct unit for each location;
- Videos – including a video in the e-learning course is important and efficient only if done in the right way. Keep it short, informative and interactive. Make sure that you have the important messages included in the module content as well;
- Terms, slang, jargon, taboo words – make sure to use one and the same term throughout the entire course and avoid slang, jargon and taboo words no matter if you are going to localize it or not.
To conclude, in this globalized world translation and localization can facilitate any form of communication and are a necessity for a successful business growth and sustainability.