Companies are translating and localizing their online learning resources in a big way to cater to the needs of their global learners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the translation industry is expected to grow by 42% between 2010 – 2020, and the translation of e-learning programs is a major contributor to this growth.
One of the key components of effective localization of technology-enabled learning materials is proper testing. It is important to test the localized e-learning product to ensure it is fully functional and devoid of linguistic inaccuracies. Here are 3 useful tips.
- Adopt the language-neutral model
The language neutral-model of testing localized technology-assisted training programs is based on a technical concept called single worldwide binary. The model eliminates one of the major problems of localization testing – creating a separate version of the source code for each target language. In their insightful paper, Best Practices in Localization Testing, Libor Safar and Jiri Machala stated that the source code of the online course need not be modified after compilation, merely to incorporate functionality specific to a target language or region. Safar and Machala state that this is possible as the model helps separate program code from the translatable content. The core functionality of the e-learning course, including internationalization support and support for individual languages and locales needs to be tested only once, and this goes a long way in eliminating time and cost overruns.
- Make the best use of pseudo-localization
Pseudo-localization is a type of testing where the localizability of the online learning content is evaluated before commencing the localization process. Pseudo translations of the e-learning course’s GUI components and other software strings are performed by replacing the text in these elements with characters of the target language. This will help identify potential issues such as expansion of text, character encoding problems, and so on. Jim Compton, in his article Translating Website Content: The Benefits of Pseudo-Localization Techniques, opines pseudo-localization is a highly effective tool to cut down the cost of content localizations. Compton believes pseudo-localization provides many benefits such as:
- Getting a first-hand feel of the localized content
- Identifying post translation issues with the UI
- Ensuring all translatable content is translated
- Detecting errors in hard-coded strings
- Locating functionality issues which come up only after the translation of the content
- Automate the GUI test
Safar and Machala point out that most companies have fully automated the testing of the GUI elements of their localized digital content. Automation testing software can be used to test the GUI elements in any language. In her post Latest Technologies for Localization Testing, Judy Chen states that automation software go a long way in reducing the cost of GUI testing and improve localization efficiencies. They are a boon for companies with large online learning content localization projects. The post also advises firms to go in for modern cloud-based automation testing tools. Cloud-based software are highly scalable and well-suited for agile projects. Furthermore, they eliminate the need to invest on IT infrastructure and can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Proper testing is one of the key aspects of a well-executed e-learning localization project. You need to adopt the language-neutral model to test your localized online learning product in an efficient and cost-effective manner. It is important to pseudo-localize the technology-enabled learning content to identify potential localization issues. The use of automated tools makes the testing of the localized GUI elements of your online course quick and affordable. Hope you liked this post. Do share your views.