7 Tips For Cost-Effective eLearning Localization

7 Tips For Cost-Effective eLearning Localization
Summary: Globalization is everywhere! The transfer of ideas, products, culture, and people has made the world a smaller and more connected place. eLearning has become a major cog in this wheel; it is a viable solution that allows global companies and organizations to reach learners all over the world in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

Cost-Effective eLearning Localization

With this in mind, let’s take it a step further. As a course is developed for global learners, keep in mind that it will probably need to be localized now or sometime in the future. Localizing means taking a course and making sure content is culturally appropriate, meaningful, and that it makes sense in each target market from the text to audio to video to graphics and layout.

eLearning localization is a lengthy process, but it doesn't have to be that bad. With ample planning time and preparation, eLearning developers can save time and cut costs when working with an eLearning localization vendor.  It is important to be organized upfront and understand the overall process to avoid any bumps along the way. How can you do that? Keep reading.

  1. Create concise content.
    Say that phrase five times fast! All jokes aside, when creating content, keep localization in mind. Translation is usually charged on a per word rate. Less words will save money. Does your vendor use translation memory (TM)? Your TM can be leveraged as a savings for text that is repeated throughout a project or for previously translated content. Try to limit the use of idioms or colloquialisms that might not have a direct translation in other cultures.
  2. Localization friendly design.
    Less is more when it comes to on-screen text. Commonly translated languages such as Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, and Spanish can expand up to 20%. Also, text from English into character languages such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean can contract up to 15%. Keep this in mind for font sizing and restricted space such as buttons or text boxes. Being aware of expansion and contraction will help save money and time on translation and formatting.
  3. Finalize files first.
    Before sending files to be localized, make sure your source files are final. This applies to audio scripts and courses themselves. Any revisions made after the process has begun will result in more time and money. This becomes a larger problem if you are translating your courses into multiple languages.
  4. Use editable graphics.
    eLearning courses are typically very interactive and visual. This means a lot of images that may need localization. Try to use editable graphics (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, or TIFF files). If an image has text embedded in it, a layered file would be needed to pull text. If there are only JPEGs available, then image recreation may need to happen, which can be pricey!
  5. Sample voice talent.
    A vendor can always provide samples of voice talent. Your eLearning localization partner can assemble a pool of talent for each project for client review. It is always better to select the talent beforehand – this cuts down on any re-recording and also ensures that the client is happy with the talent!
  6. Provide reference materials.
    Reference materials from the client help with a lot of critical areas. First, with term preferences; do you or your client have a glossary of preferential terms or previously translated materials? Also, there are some cases where a term needs to stay in the source language. This can be part of a Style Guide along with any acronyms. Acronyms in one locale might not make sense in another – for example different government organizations or national regulatory laws. The letters change when translated into different languages. Clarify if you want these acronyms translated or if you would like them to stay as is with an explanation within the content. For audio recording, sometimes a client will provide a pronunciation guide for acronyms which is very helpful!
  7. Planning and communication.
    The eLearning localization process can be long; keep this in mind. On average, a translator can handle about 2,500 words per day. Also, factor in a sort of file preparation, quality assurance steps, layout work, recording, and audio synchronization. An eLearning localization vendor should already have a QA process built into their workflow. They will break down this workflow for you in the quoting phase of the project. Will the course be reviewed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)? If so, build in time for review as well. The SMEs will need time to review the courses, make their recommendations, and then the localization team will need to implement them.