eLearning Translations: 8 Tips To Get The Best Value For Your Money

eLearning Translations: 8 Tips To Get The Best Value For Your Money
Summary: Wish to translate your online courses? Want to get the highest ROI from your eLearning translations? Then, read on.

8 Tips To Get The Best Value For Money From Your eLearning Translations 

You are using eLearning to train your global workforce and you wish to translate your online learning content into the languages of your people. But, how can you produce eLearning translations of high quality without burning a hole in your pocket? Well, here are a few tips.

  1. Start creating the eLearning course with multilingual learners in mind.
    The translation of your online training content shouldn’t be an afterthought. You need to plan and build your online course with your global workforce in mind. This helps you formulate the right strategy to develop a translation-friendly course, which goes a long way in reducing the cost of rendering the eLearning content in multiple languages. We’ll see more about strategies in the next point.
  2. Come up with a translation-friendly Instructional and Visual Design strategy.
    Use the right language and visuals in your eLearning courses, as these aspects play a key role in reducing the cost of their translation. Avoid using idioms, references, symbols, and colors that are culture specific. You need to focus more on visual content to convey the message. It is important not to place the text “inside” the visual as it takes time and effort (and as a result more money) to translate it.
  3. Cut down on audio and video elements.
    Staying on with instructional strategy, minimizing the use of audio and video components in the online course can help reduce the cost of its translation considerably. For example, if there are three audio or video clips in the course and you want to translate them into three different languages, you have to produce nine different dubbings. It’s better to use only those clips that support the content. You can use more content on screen and interactivities to enhance the effectiveness of learning.
  4. Use rapid authoring tools or the text-layout format (TLF) to develop online courses.
    The advent of rapid authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora Inspire has simplified the process of eLearning translations. These tools can be used to export the content of online courses as an MS-Word document or an XML file, which can be handed over to the translator. And, once the translation is completed, the translated file can be imported into the tool and the course in the target language can be published. When it comes to creating courses in Flash, it’s better to go in for TLF as it provides good support to languages with complex scripts, such as Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
  5. Choose the languages into which you want to translate the courses carefully.
    Many a time, organizations get their online training content rendered in languages that are not popular and have a few takers. This results in precious dollars being wasted. You can reduce the cost of your eLearning course translations by identifying the languages into which their content needs to be rendered and those that are not required. One of our customers found that the traditional Chinese version of his course had no takers and it could have done with just the simplified Chinese course.
  6. Develop a glossary of terms and a style guide for quality management.
    Creating a glossary and a style guide greatly aids the translator in understanding the learning content. They ensure consistency in the use of terms and ensure adherence to linguistic style rules, which reduces the number of revisions, and thereby, the cost of the translation. You can ask your eLearning vendor to include the glossary in his quality assurance (QA) software to reduce the time taken for and cost of the translation.
  7. Utilize computer-aided translation software tools.
    Most computer-aided translation software tools come with translation memory capabilities, which are very useful to cut down the cost of the translation. Translation memory stores the sentences in English and the target language while the translator is rendering the learning content in the latter. These sentences can be reused later in future translations. The software tools not only help reduce the expenditure on translation, but also lend consistency to the quality of the online course translation.
  8. Appoint a knowledgeable person to oversee the translation and ensure coordination.
    A good online course translation is much more than rendering of words in the target language. The context and purpose of a digital course often play an important role in its translation. The firm, which created the eLearning content, knows what it wants to achieve through its translation better than anyone else. Therefore, the organization needs to explain the purpose of the translation and clarify the doubts of the translator effectively. It is better to assign a knowledgeable person as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to ensure effective coordination and communication.


It is important to start developing the eLearning course with its translations in mind. It is necessary to come up with a translation-friendly instructional and visual design strategy. The audio and video elements need to be kept to a minimum. It is better to use rapid authoring tools and TLF to develop the online course. The choice of the languages into which the course needs to be translated needs to be made carefully. It is essential to develop a glossary and a style guide. It is advisable to use computer-aided translation software tools and appoint a knowledgeable person to oversee the translation process.

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