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An Important Prerequisite before Translating an E-Learning Course

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Recently, a client of ours requested us to translate an eLearning course originally developed in English, into French, German and Mandarin. The content was rich in graphics and visualization, and was developed with a lot of interactive features. Encouraged by the positive response that the course received, the client wanted their employees in other countries to benefit from the course as well-hence, the request for translation into multiple languages.

When we evaluated the content, we realized that we had to do a lot of rework on images and graphics, as the client didn’t have the source files. We noticed that in many places, the text was embedded into the images and as the text was part of the image, most of the images had to be recreated from scratch. Naturally, this meant that more resources and time had to be spent on completing the project. This additional expenditure on reformatting and redesigning while translating eLearning courses could be avoided with some prior planning.

While getting eLearning courses developed, budget for future translation needs, and share this information with your eLearning developer. Your eLearning developer will design the content in such a way that the design components like images, text and learning objects, are independent of each other. For example, if the image has text in it, he may design the image with the text outside the image which will make it easier for translating the same in future. This will cut down on a lot of re-work when translating, and as a result, expenditure on reformatting and redesigning is reduced while translating eLearning courses.

Therefore, it is best to internationalize the content before developing the course. Internationalization is a technical process by which eLearning developers create courses in such a way that future modifications incur minimal costs. If informed in advance, your eLearning developer will ensure that your eLearning courses are internationalized to accommodate future learning requirements of your global workforce.

Do you have any interesting experiences to share involving translation of courses? We would love to hear them.

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