Companies are going global; there is a need to train their work force working in foreign markets. You need to translate the eLearning into their native language for better learning. However, eLearning translation needs prior planning. Here are a few strategies to ensure a better translation output.
Instructional Strategy: The first thing that you need to plan is the instructional strategy for your global eLearning courses. Instructional strategy includes aspects such as avoiding long sentences and text heavy content. Usage of phrases and slangs should be avoided, instead use simpler sentences in the form of bullets. This will reduce your developmental costs and difficulties in future.
Language Strategy: Language also plays a major role in translations. You need to tailor the course content keeping in mind the target audience. For example, when you are developing a course in English, you need to consider the accent and spellings as English is spoken and written differently in different parts of the world and there is American English, British English, Australian as well as Indian versions. From our experience with clients we found it is better to use standard international English that is accepted by all nationalities.
Visual Design Strategy: Do not embed the text in images; it takes a lot time to separate the text from images and creating new images. It results in duplication of work and consumes more resources. Instead, using text above or below the image will be a better practice to follow. Don’t use colors or symbols that have cultural connotation unless it is necessary and stick to corporate style guide. You need to exercise caution when using symbolic images and gestures – for example you can’t show euro symbol in the visual of a Japanese course when the figures are in Yen.
Audio Strategy: Tone in the eLearning course influences the way people learn. As a part of your audio strategy, it is better to use a voice which has balance of professional and a personal tone to that suits diverse learners. You might also want to consider doing away with the audio altogether to keep costs low as including audio does increase translation costs considerably.
Development Strategy: Length of texts and words are different in different languages. Devoting space to support multiple languages is a major challenge in developing multi-lingual courses. Make sure your code supports the longer text sentences. Do not integrate the course content using multiple tools and technologies. Higher the complexity in developing a course, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to translate it.. Hence minimize the complexity during integration and development. Use style sheets for XML files and cascading style sheets for XHTML files to define the suitable font properties for different languages.
Outsourcing Strategy: When you giving the source files to vendor or client, Keep your content tidy so that vendor can easily find the localizable text. Example: Keep the text string in the form of external resources or Flagging them as localizable.
ELearning translations can be made effective with prior planning before developing a course. Having pre-defined strategies for instructional design, visual design, language and audio course development and outsourcing will ensure a smooth translation process.