Translation, in the simplest terms, is plainly changing the language of the content. Though translation is not just mechanical conversion of words, and translators pay special attention to grammar and syntax, it is not enough to meet the training requirements of a multicultural workforce spread across the world. You need to go a step further to satisfy the training needs of a global workforce.
Localization of an e-learning course is essentially making the course local. Localization is the process by which information is not just translated from one language to another; it is adapted to convey the same meaning in the target culture. The end goal of localization is to make content feel as if it was exclusively created for the specific target locale. The training should resonate with the local mindset and way of living.
Achieving effective e-learning localization means hiring trustworthy linguistic and subject matter experts for the target language. You also need to hire an in-country reviewer to make sure that there is nothing inappropriate in the course. The entire course has to be painstakingly modified block by block, reviewed, and modified again. If the course has graphical elements such as video, audio, or infographics, even they need to be made country-friendly.
All in all, localization can be a very extensive process. Companies often face the challenge of keeping costs down to achieve localization. Below are some tips which will help you do the same:
Create Concise Content
Identify the need for localization early during course development and design your content accordingly. Translation is usually charged on a per word rate, so less words will save money. Avoid the usage of any country-specific idioms or colloquiums as that may cause an unnecessary disparity. Maintain a directory for commonly used jargon throughout the training, which can be utilized as translation memory. During translation and localization, content size can significantly increase or decrease, depending on the languages. It is good to keep this in mind while designing the course interface layout to avoid any changes in the future.
Wisely Use Graphics and Audio
E-learning courses typically have a lot of graphical elements. This means many images may need localization, it is best to keep text out of the image. This small trick can greatly reduce cost as images can be effortlessly reused. While hiring a foreign voiceover artist for audio and video files, it is best to get samples reviewed by the client. This ensures that voice and accent is understandable and appropriate, avoiding the added cost of rerecording.
Planning and Communication
The e-learning translation and localization process can be a long and tedious one. It is important to establish a streamlined process that will take into account all the steps involved in localization. Right from the initial brief to quality assurance to review, each step needs to be properly planned with set deadlines. Maintain constant communication with linguistic experts and in-country reviewers to be up-to-date about their progress. Haphazardly conducting this extensive task can significantly increase the duration and thus your costs.
Get a Second Opinion
The language and the culture of the target-country are foreign to you. It is best to hire an in-country reviewer to go through the entire course. The reviewer will not only check the course for linguistic parameters but also point out anything that may be culturally unsuitable for the locals. Thoroughly getting a course reviewed by a third party will capture anything that your team might have missed. This nips the problem right in the bud, because by the time the client will spot it, it will already be too late.
Localizing a course can project the core values of your company evenly to a global audience. Employees trained with relatable content show increased knowledge retention and recollection. This in turn helps them better connect with the local customer base and increase profitability. Localization offers consistent and reliable results for both your employees as well as your customers.
Implementing the above best practices can help you cut the costs and time associated with your e-learning translation and localization projects. Effective planning and best expertise with a sound localization strategy will make the project successful.