eLearning Course Translations Pitfalls - 5 Pitfalls To Avoid In eLearning Course Translations
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eLearning Course Translations Pitfalls To Avoid

Training a global workforce is not an easy chore. As training managers, you may be involved with rolling out Instructor-Led Training programs as well as online training programs. And, when you are dealing with a workforce that’s located in diverse geographical locations, eLearning course translations is an investment you can’t ignore. Here are some common mistakes in eLearning course translations which can be easily avoided with some forethought.

1. Failing To Plan Ahead

Not planning well in advance for eLearning translations is a common mistake made by organizations. When you decide to develop an eLearning course, pay some thought to your global audience. Will this course need to be translated into various languages? If yes, spend some time to gather information on the cultural background of your employees. Make a list of what should and should not be included in eLearning course translations. This will help you design an eLearning course that can be easily translated into other languages.

If your master course is to be created in English, remember that equivalent text in other languages will occupy more space. So the screen layout in your original course must leave room for language expansion. If you haven’t planned for eLearning translations, and you make a sudden decision to translate an eLearning course in English to other languages, there is every possibility that text might overflow and not fit on the screen. This would involve additional time and resources spent in adjusting the screen layout.

2. Using Inconsistent Language

An eLearning course is successful only when learners feel that the content was just designed for them. eLearning course translation is not only about translating the language. The learning objectives of the course have to be clear in the translated versions as well. If the original course in English has managed to pack a punch, the eLearning course translation has to be equally effective.

Use consistent language throughout the course. Avoid using slang and confusing jargon. While slang and jargon may be acceptable in one culture, it may confuse or come across as inappropriate in some other culture. Keeping the content simple makes it easier to translate.

3. Ignoring Localization

eLearning course translations do not involve just text translations, they also involve images, icons, and different colors and styles of visual elements. Along with eLearning translations, there is a need to ensure that the course is localized. Localizing an eLearning course ensures that the translated version of the course does not contain graphics and images that learners are unable to relate to, or are culturally inappropriate.

If your eLearning course is to be translated into multiple languages, it is better to use neutral images. For example, in a course that teaches learners the basics of Finance, instead of using an image that shows dollars, use a pile of unidentified coins so that it becomes relevant to your audience in different countries. Similarly, be aware of the differences in color symbolism. While the color ‘red’ is associated with prosperity and happiness in China, in Western cultures it means forbidden or incorrect.

4. Selecting Separate Vendors For Language Perfection

Dealing with different translation vendors depending on the language in which the eLearning course is to be rolled out, is strenuous. This can lengthen the translation process and increase the probability of missing out on deadlines. Not to mention, the increase in translation cost.

It makes more sense to go with an eLearning vendor who also provides effective course translations. This is because an eLearning vendor is familiar with all the different components in the eLearning course that need to be translated. They also realize that the translated course has to be useful in providing effective training, and it’s not enough if the words are merely translated. Because eLearning vendors have the domain knowledge, they are capable of adding value to eLearning course translations. Also, partnering with an eLearning vendor who can get courses translated into multiple languages proves to be cost-effective.

5. Failing To Pay Attention To Audio

Most eLearning courses have associated audio to explain the elements displayed on the screen. This is a way to build interest in learners. While introducing a host of characters to take the learners through an eLearning course is great fun, remember it involves additional cost if each character is involved in audio narration.

Say you have 5 different characters in the English version of the course, the audio recording will require 5 different voice talents. Now imagine the cost involved when you have to get the course translated into 4 different languages. You will need the help of 25 different voice talents including the English version, and the cost of eLearning translation will shoot up. It also takes time to complete the audio recording, as it involves multiple voice talents.

Even if you have used multiple characters in the eLearning course, it is a good practice to restrict the number of characters involved in the audio narration. Even before the eLearning course development begins, finalize the audio strategy for the course. Many L&D professionals in their eagerness to come up with creative strategies, ignore this aspect of eLearning course development. Only when the audio has to be recorded does one realize the expense involved.

If the eLearning course is developed in-house, all these mistakes can be avoided by following a documented process. Though it seems time-consuming, it can save you time and money in eLearning course translations. On the other hand, if you are outsourcing eLearning course development, then a vendor who is capable of delivering translated versions will make your job easier.

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