Successful localization of e-learning courses is critical for their realization on the market regardless of the purpose of their creation. For a business, efficient company training is a way to make sure that all its employees are on the same page when it comes to internal values, processes, and practices. For the companies actively involved in the design and composition of e-learning courses, good localization means access to more markets and a broader outreach to customers.
The best way to achieve proper translation and localization is by selecting the right Language Service Provider (LSP) to do the job. There are also some approaches that you need to implement in the very beginning of your course creation so that it can be successfully localized afterwards. Basically, these are the two most important practical pieces of advice any business needs to follow in order to reach the localization process with flying colors: to plan in advance and to choose the right LSP. Here are a few details about what each of these steps includes:
Plan your E-Learning Localization in Advance
One of the factors that can determine whether your e-learning localization will be a success or a failure is the plan that you have. You need to have a comprehensive plan for the translation and localization of the modules prior to starting work on them. This approach will allow you to develop the course in a way that is easier to be adapted to different audiences without losing any of its features.
There are several issues that you need to have in mind when preparing an e-learning course that will be translated and localized afterwards:
- Know your target audience. You need to determine who the course is intended for – is it for working professionals who need additional qualification or for young adults who want to add additional skills while at college. Determining the scope of your course will help you use the right references that refer to the specific group according to their age, sex, education, occupation, etc.
- Know your target languages. Not all languages occupy the same space – some words and phrases are shorter when translated into another language, while others can be up to 25% longer. Translating into a language such as Hebrew or Chinese is yet another challenge. Knowing the languages that you will use for your course, will allow your designer team to envisage sufficient space in each slide to accommodate any expansion of the text. It also makes it easier to decide how many boxes you need to use or animation and graphics as you will have an idea of how this will affect the design in the translated language. You can also select the right icons and images that are more universal or make a not for which of them it is appropriate to use culture-specific imagery.
- Select the right authoring tool. When it comes to e-learning course creation and design, there are various authoring tools that you can choose from. It is better to select such a tool that will allow you to easily translate and localize your content afterwards. There are several such authoring tools on the market that include Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Articulate Rise, iSpring, Trivantis Lectora and a few others. It is a good idea to research them and choose the one that best meets your requirements of a course creation software.
These are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when preparing an e-learning course with the intention to localize it.
While the ideal variant is to have a structured plan about the future translation and localization of your e-learning course in advance, it is also possible to decide to continue with this process after you have created your course. You might have realized that there is a potential to target a different audience with some adaptation and there is also nothing wrong with it. In this case, you need to focus on finding a good translation and localization partner who will be able to offer the best ratio between cost and quality and organize the process in a way that suits your needs.
Select the Right Localization Partner
No matter if you have planned your course localization in advance or you have decided to do it after the course was created, you still need a trusted translation and localization partner to implement the project. As this will be the final product that you will present to the learners, make sure to choose a professional for the job. While you might be tempted to delegate the task to a colleague or relative who speaks a foreign language, don’t do it. You might save a few bucks but in the long run it will be quite expensive to fix any mistakes resulting from improper translation.
When it comes to selecting the right translation and localization partner, always opt for experienced professionals. You can choose between freelancers or an LSP depending on the size of the project. If you need translation and localization in one or maximum two languages, it is ok to work with freelancers. With more languages it will be complicated to juggle between the different professionals and to maintain good communication with them – it will take more time and efforts and can even be pricier. If you are aiming to localize in several languages it is better to choose an LSP who works with all of the selected languages. Thus, you will maintain the integrity of the translation and you will have to communicate with a single project manager, which will facilitate the entire process.
It is a good idea to work with translators who have experience in the field of your industry as they will be able to give useful ideas on top of working faster and providing a high-quality service.
Following the best practices in e-learning creation and localization takes you a step closer to engaging your target audience and achieving the results you have set in the beginning.