If you struggle with fiddly, time-consuming elearning translations then you’re not alone! There are some common, yet avoidable trip hazards that can throw your project into a spin. We teamed up with translation experts at TransPerfect to share best practice tips for a smoother translation process.
You can watch the full recording of our webinar, where I was joined by Rob Rusk and Jose Miguel Gonzalez from TransPerfect to discuss this tricky topic. Alternatively get an overview of the best practice tips below.
(Want to view the slides? Click here.)
How to make your content translation ready
1. Engage your local stakeholders from the outset
Getting local approval on the translated content can be the biggest challenge in launching a translated elearning course. Making sure you involve your local stakeholders at the outset of the project is critical to avoid your project getting stalled at the final hurdle. Involve the local markets in decision such as:
- Is the topic relevant for the local team?
- Do the local laws or processes change the content in any way?
- Which linguistic terms so they prefer? For example, sofa or couch?
2. Microlearning is a synonym for localization friendly!
There are many variables to consider when it comes to the cost of translation, however the biggest one is the length of the course.
Less is always more when it comes to creating elearning content! This doesn’t mean you should shy away from deep learning experiences, just that you should cull anything that’s not strictly supporting the goal of your elearning.
This is best practice learning design anyway, but there’s an added incentive when you’re paying by length of content!
3. Plan for text expansion
A paragraph written in English might be 4 lines long in English, yet in Swedish might be over 5 lines, and in German it would likely be even longer. Prepare for this from the start by leaving 30% more room to allow for expansion, especially if your authoring tool forces you to use fixed size text boxes.
With dynamic, responsive tools like Elucidat, text boxes will automatically expand and pages will automatically lengthen, removing these challenges all together, Right to left language support and accent marks also help make sure your language is spot on.
4. Avoid text in images
The cost of recreating images is 10x more than translating live, editable text. So, avoid including images with text and build the text into your design instead.
If you’re using Elucidat, try using tables or layout designer to recreate your infographics or diagrams using a bespoke combination of text and image boxes.
5. Avoid idioms, slang and jargon
Jargon and unique corporate acronyms are hard enough to understand in your first language, let alone when trying to translate. A good rule to follow is to write as if you’re writing for someone new in the job who wouldn’t know those terms yet. Your translators will thank you, as will your audience!
6. Plan your multimedia well
Audio and video can be powerful elements to include in your training, however they can also dramatically increase your localization costs.
If you decide to include audio or video elements, minimize the impact on your budget by sticking to just one voice talent and avoiding on-screen text embedded in videos.
How to streamline the process of elearning translation
7. Perfect your first language version first
Don’t jump the gun! Make sure you’re translating a finalized version of your elearning to avoid fiddly additions and version control issues later. This will help you avoid frustrating to-ing and fro-ing!
8. Look for streamlined workflows
No more copy and pasting! Choose an authoring platform with a simple text-export feature that will pull of your text out of your source files in one click.
Elucidat enables a quick export into CSV or XLIFF format, ready for you to add your translated text and reimport.
9. Make updates easy
Have you ever had to change a logo across a suite of translated modules? Having to make the same change in 6 different modules is not fun! We recommend using a parent/child structure – such as Elucidat’s ‘master courses’ feature- to keep your translated version linked to the original. This means a visual change to the original course will automatically apply to the translated versions.
10. Simplify the learner’s experience
Finally, consider how you’re going to make these modules available to learners. Publishing all your language courses in one SCORM file with an upfront language selector will keep things simple for your learners and for you.
Take a look at what a multi-language release in Elucidat looks like here. One module, one upload, one file to maintain.