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Translating and Localizing eLearning to Reach Global Audience – CommLab’s Experience

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In today’s global economy, as organizations operate in hundreds of languages and locales, the need for global localization is very much on the rise. The need to train organization’s culturally and linguistically diverse workforce effectively is very important and using their own language as a medium is considered the best way.

Imagine elearning content development on Product Training or Sales Training that needs to be delivered in 10 different languages… a mammoth task.

We at CommLab do this job very well. Last year, we translated and localized more than 30 courses in 14 languages. I am sharing some lessons we learnt from this experience. These experiences can come handy if you are considering translating and localizing elearning courses yourself or outsourcing it to third party companies like CommLab.

Text & Images:
Avoid having text superimposed on images as this requires the translated text to be once again inserted in the image. You cannot do that without opening the image file. This translates to increase in work, manpower time and cost. So try to avoid text on images.

Special Storyboards:
Always use custom-made storyboard formats or templates to send the original content to the translators. The template should have a provision for the translator to add the translated content, juxtaposed with the original content. Besides ensuring accuracy of the content, it’s easier for the translator and the production staff to see the content in both the languages side by side. Avoid sending screen shots containing the content as it is difficult to read the negligible writing on the screen shots. You can create your own storyboard formats or ask your vendor to create them for you.

Audio Script:
Seek clarification from the subject matter experts (SMEs) on how to pronounce abbreviations (like HACCP, TOEPM) or technical words. Incorrect pronunciation of commonly occurring word can cause havoc with the quality, timelines and costs.

Dialects:
Do you want French? English – Canadian or European? Spanish – Mexican or European? Chinese – Mandarin or Cantonese? Mainland or Hong Kong? Please clarify before you start.

Choice of Narrators:
Always chose more than one. The one you chose may not be available.

I hope the list is useful. Feel free to add from your experience.

RK Prasad

CEO

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