Best Practices For Translating eLearning Content: 3 Must Haves
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3 Best Practices For Translating eLearning Content

Research from Global Market Insights shows that the global eLearning market is expected to exceed $200 billion by 2024. By maximizing the use of existing eLearning resources and investing in new content for a wide variety of internal Learning and Development purposes, eLearning companies can reach clients with multinational workforces. As a result, large volumes of eLearning content require localizing for different markets, and demand for high-quality eLearning translations is increasing in line with the general growth in the eLearning sector.

While translating Learning and Development content is something that translation providers have done for many years, the emergence and rapid adoption of eLearning resources have created demand for a highly specialized translation service.

We can refer to it as ‘eLearning translation’, but that term doesn’t really convey the range of different content that requires translation and localization, and the complexities of this type of translation project. It goes beyond verbal and text content to include document design, formatting, and colors, and it also involves analyzing semantics and cultural aspects to make sure that the translated content is appropriate and relevant.

Following on from my previous article, Engaging With A Global Workforce – What To Consider When Translating eLearning Content, I share some more best practices for multilingual eLearning projects.

1. Tailor Content To The End User

eLearning development companies customize their modules to align them with the brands they work with. It is therefore important for eLearning localization to follow the same process. That means understanding the end user (the client and the market), and the translation styles they require.

Translating eLearning content for a luxury car brand or for an international sports brand requires different styles, it’s not a one-size-fits-all service. A clear understanding of the brand and style guidelines for each market should provide the foundation for the eLearning translation project. That way, it is possible to preserve the brand identity and values that need to be communicated to employees, and adapt the eLearning content to the end users in each market.

2. Maximizing The Use Of Technology

eLearning projects can contain lots of content, and therefore it is really important, from a budgetary point of view, to minimize the volume of content that requires translating. eLearning materials can also contain a lot of repeated content (often in the building set-up of the modules) so to keep costs down. These identify repeated phrases and terminology, and replace with approved translations, effectively reducing the word count for each translation project, therefore reducing the overall costs.

3. Centralize The Translation Of All Content

Often, eLearning translations don’t just require the written content to be translated, but they also have other elements to consider such as transcription, voiceover, subtitling, and rebuilding. This can result in very complex and fragmented translation projects with many people involved in different aspects of the work. To ensure multilingual eLearning modules are delivered on time and are consistent across all elements of the project, it is advisable that you use one translation partner who can manage the entire project… and all future projects.

Engage a language partner who is able to work across all aspects of localizing eLearning content and many eLearning platforms (such as Articulate Storyline, Presenter, Evolve, Adapt). This will ensure that you have as much input as you want, but take away the headache of project managing a complex eLearning translation project. Just leave it to the multi-lingual experts! Project plans can be created to show turnaround times for each aspect of the project, and bilingual files can be provided for market review and feedback from internal teams. A professional and experienced translation partner can also advise clients on the best processes for them, depending on their platforms and requirements.

In summary

  1. Create brand guidelines for eLearning translation projects so the translation team understands the translation style required.
  2. Embrace technology to reduce costs and also increase turnaround times.
  3. Centralize eLearning translation projects so that they stay on track and are consistent across all different content types.
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