eLearning Localization Pitfalls That eLearning Professionals Should Avoid
eLearning Localization not only gives you the opportunity to reach a broader target audience who can benefit from your eLearning courses, but also to boost sales and build an international eLearning brand. However, all these rewards can only be reaped if you know the most common mistakes involved with eLearning localization and how to avoid them. That's exactly what this article is all about!
- Using language that is culture or region-specific.
When creating eLearning courses that are intended for international audiences, the quickest way to make them disengage is to include an abundance of words or phrases that they won't understand. While certain sayings may be completely familiar to some audiences, others simply won't know what you're referring to. This means that they will not be able to get the full benefit from your eLearning course. So, avoid using language that may be exclusively used in a particular region of the world or by a certain culture. Speak with a subject matter or a local expert to see which terms or words are appropriate, and which you may want to omit altogether.
- Failing to set up a local support system.
There are few things more frustrating for a learner than having a question or concern left unaddressed. Every member of your audience should be given equal access to online support. Whether they are in Malaysia or Nebraska, learners want to know that they have access to email support, phone support, or, at least, to a helpful FAQ or forum. If you don't have a physical support system in place, then make sure you develop a virtual helpdesk of some sort. For example, you may have tutorials or manuals that walk the learner through eLearning course sign up, all in the local language. Then, if they have any concerns that need to be appeased, they can turn to the support solutions you've provided and continue to benefit from your eLearning course.
- Not leaving enough space for translated content.
It is not infrequent translated text to take up a different amount of space than your source text. For example, if you are translating your English course to Spanish, it's probably going to expand by about 20% or more. So, if you fail to leave enough space for the new text, you're going to find yourself with cluttered and chaotic eLearning course pages. This is why you'll need to leave ample room in your text placeholders, in case that your target language is more verbose than your original text. Likewise, if the text takes up less space when translated, as is usually the case with character-based languages, you won't have to worry about an abundance of white space on the screen.
- Cutting Development Costs in all the wrong places.
There are some elements or design costs that you'll find they can be cut out of your budget to make room for other development requirements. However, when you start cutting costs in all the wrong places, like removing subject matter experts and translation professionals from your budget, things can go horribly awry. Whenever possible, always enlist the aid of trained eLearning professionals. The same goes for local subject matter experts. They will know exactly what should be included and what can be omitted. While they may ask for a fee, the costs involved will be well worth it when you can product a high quality, effective eLearning course for your audience.
- Using Embedded Text.
Embedding text into your eLearning design or using graphics and images that contain embedded text may be more convenient when designing your original eLearning course. However, having eLearning localization in mind, when it's time to make it suitable for international audiences, the process is going to be much more challenging. Try to avoid using graphics, images, and charts that have embedded text. If you do feel the need to embed text, then create all of the versions in all languages at once, while it's still easy to modify the source image.
- Attempting to create all eLearning courses localization at once.
It may be tempting to get tackle all versions of your eLearning course at once, but resist the urge. Instead, carefully first craft your “master” eLearning course in order to iron out all of the glitches and ensure that you have a high quality finished deliverable. Then, move onto the translated eLearning courses you have planned. Test each one of them out and make sure it works without a hitch. Hold focus groups to verify that it successfully meets eLearning objectives and provides a powerful eLearning experience for your learners. Once you're satisfied with every aspect of your eLearning course design, you can rest assured that your newly translated eLearning courses are going to offer the same memorable eLearning experience for every member of your audience. It will also save you the time and trouble of having to go back and remedy an issue that exists in all versions of your eLearning course.
Keep this list of eLearning localization pitfalls at-the-ready in order to create an effective strategy for your next eLearning project. Regardless of the subject matter, learning objectives, or intended audience, by following these tips you can deliver an amazing eLearning experience to every learner.
Looking for more information on the benefits of eLearning localization? The article, eLearning Localization Benefits and Tips, highlights the most significant advantages of localization, and also offers some invaluable tips for eLearning professionals.