6 Insider Insights Into Localization For Training Expansion 

6 Insider Insights Into Localization For Training Expansion
Summary: Text expansion can be challenging to both the developer and the learner. An increase in seat time for eLearning courses can be a concern. Video based training also has its own set of unique production challenges. Good planning makes for a smooth development and production flow.

Global Expansion = Training Expansion – Insider Insights Into Localization

“The economic recovery is clearly here: Spending on corporate training is soaring (…) and the research is striking: US spending on corporate training grew by 15% last year (the highest growth rate in seven years) to over $70 Billion in the US and over $130 Billion worldwide.” - Forbes, Feb. 2014.

Companies are investing internally first, through training, to fill in the skill gaps within their own companies. This is great news for Training and Development teams! Most of us don’t have the luxury, however, of being capable of developing training outside of our own native language. As a result, we depend on internal employees or outside language service providers to help us develop this training on a much broader scale.

With rare exception, you will be dealing with text expansion when converting your training to other languages. This is important to know when planning and developing your courses. Ultimately this will affect your seat-time. For most languages, you can expect a 25-30% increase. For some languages like German, for example, you can expect a 40% increase. It’s the nature of the target languages.

For eLearning courses developed in most authoring tools, the text expansion may increase the overall number of slides you have. It will also increase the running time of your audio scripts. During the engineering builds, the slides will be synced to your new audio. From a technical standpoint, it’s not a big deal. The real concern is the new seat time for the end user. A one-hour English course could easily become a 1.25 – 1.5 hour course in another language.

The real challenge comes in with video training. Text expansion for on-screen text, subtitles or captions, and much longer audio files can be an issue with this type of training.

Most often, we commonly see final edited videos that are based on the English. There’s only so far you can stretch a video to accommodate the new language without compromising its quality. The other option is to try to match the translated scripts to the actual running time of the English. Often, due to text trimming by necessity, you end up with a video that is less impactful than the original and ultimately sounds more unnatural.

With some strategic planning up front, you can alleviate the majority of this challenges and maintain the integrity of your original training:

  1. Don’t edit your final English video too tightly.
    Leave some breathing room since you know another language version will be longer. Even with subtitles, your viewer needs to have time to read the subtitle while watching what’s happening in the video.
  2. Choose your voice-talent wisely based on your target audience.
    Accents can vary greatly by geographic area.
  3. Audio production will most likely be your biggest expense during the localization phase.
    If you have a limited production budget, this can be a concern for localization. Each voice talent typically comes with a minimum charge as does studio time. Do you really need 5 different narrators in your video? Or, can you live with 1 male and 1 female?
  4. Maximize your dollars.
    Try to group your smaller videos together as a single project if you’re outsourcing. Typically, you want to pull together around 30 minutes of source video to maximize your investment in the minimum charges to studio time and voice talent.
  5. Be cognizant of your framing when shooting your video.
    If you plan to use subtitles or captions rather than record audio, remember that the lower third of your screen will be covered up. You don’t want to cover up what people need to see.
  6. Talk to your language partner during the planning stage if you can.
    Your language expert can help guide you in the development based on your specific target languages.

Localization of training content should be a fun experience and not a painful one. Hopefully, these tips will help guide you in the right direction in planning well for your next global training initiative.