eLearning Best Practices

4 Things to Consider When Translating Your e-Learning Content


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English-speaking learners may think your e-Learning course is highly effective—but for your training to be equally effective in another language or country, it needs to communicate content that is clear and culturally appropriate.

It’s a good idea to anticipate translation requirements even before your course is translated. Consider your e-Learning course design and languages in the early development stages to help reduce translation costs and time.

Providing learners with an engaging e-Learning course in their native language allows you to win their trust and build stronger relationships. The strategies to consider for writing and designing e-Learning content that will be translated are beneficial for any e-Learning course development—even if you don’t need to translate your content. 

4 Aspects To Get Your e-Learning Course Ready For Translation

  1. SpaceText in many languages is longer than the English equivalent, which means your text containers need to be flexible. Design your course to allow for expanding text by avoiding constrictive frames or boxes. Be cautious with horizontal navigation bars, menus and link regions as well. Allowing room for text to expand prevents awkward abbreviations, which impact the readability and effectiveness of the course.
  2. Sentence StructureTranslations should read as if they were originally written in the target language, so keep your writing, clear, simple and direct. Use bulleted lists to break up long paragraphs. Keep your sentences short, and minimize the use of compound and complex sentences. Review your writing to see if any sentences can be split up or shortened by deleting unnecessary filler phrases. Use active voice as opposed to passive voice, which is less direct and more difficult to translate.
  3. WordsAvoid culture-specific slang, idioms or expressions that will lose their meaning when translated.  It’s also important to avoid using abbreviations acronyms, and new technical terms that can cause confusion for both the learner and translator. In addition, try to avoid using gender-specific pronouns like he or she and instead target third person pronouns like they. It’s also helpful to create a translation glossary to assist your translator with words that may have a unique meaning in your industry since English may be the translator’s second or third language.Be concise, but don’t leave out necessary words. Text without articles, prepositions or relative pronouns may cause extra work for translators to understand the meaning. Re-use text when possible and avoid making unnecessary minor word tweaking, which can increase the number of unique words and increase the translation cost
  4. ImagesCultural icons differ across borders. Use universally recognized symbols to make sure people in any county will understand your e-Learning course. For example, it’s best to avoid using a dollar sign, road signs or culture-specific gestures such as a thumbs up which apply to specific regions only.It’s also important to keep text out of your images. Embedding text in a graphic or placing the text on top of a photo creates additional time and cost for translation

One great tool that makes the translation process a breeze is Lectora Inspire e-Learning software. This easy-to-use authoring tool allows you to quickly export all text to be translated with the single click of a button using the translation manager

Paying extra attention to these four areas in your e-Learning course development brings many benefits—for you and your learner. You’ll not only reduce translation costs and time, but you’ll also provide a course that communicates clear and culturally appropriate content. And most importantly, you’ll make sure any learner—in any country—gets an incredible e-Learning experience