E-learning translation ensures effective knowledge transfer to employees of all nationalities and regions. Translating online training into native languages boosts the impact of learning. It also avoids the scope for misinterpretation and miscommunication. Yet, many organizations hesitate to take this step because of the costs involved in translation. However, you can reduce the costs, if you implement the tips shared in this post, coupled with meticulous planning.
1. Keep the Source Course Culture-neutral
Internationalization of your source content makes it culture-neutral. Neutralize the slang, symbols, colors, currency, and other elements in the content so that nobody is offended. . If you don’t do this, making changes in individual languages will slow the whole process. This will ramp up the translation costs.
2. Use Universal Visuals
Focusing on images and graphics will reduce the audio narration costs involved in e-learning translation. It’s better to use culturally neutral visuals. For example, instead of using US dollars, Pounds, or Yuan to represent currency, it’s better to use clip art of currency notes. Then you need not change the images for each language you translate into. This also avoids the cost of purchasing images for each language.
3. Reserve Space for Text Expansions
Translated content may expand up to 40% of the source course. It can also become double the length in some cases. For example, when you translate English terms to Spanish, they expand by 25%, when it comes to German, it goes up to 35%. If you don’t leave enough space for the expanded text, you will have to change the design and layout of the slides in each language. It requires a lot of time and man hours. This will shoot up translation costs.
You also need to consider these possibilities while designing the Graphical User Interface (GUI) and layouts. Provide 70% empty space in the source course to accommodate the expanded text in translated languages. This will reduce a lot of rework and redesign during the translation process. This in turn, reduces a lot of time and costs.
4. Keep the Content Simple
Confine your source text to simple words written in international English. Avoid lengthy paragraphs with redundant and unclear words. Refrain from using buzzwords and idioms, as they are difficult to translate into multiple languages. Even if you have professional translators, explanations of difficult words and idioms will increase the word count in translations. And costs depend on the word count. So, it’s safe to stick to clear terms.
5. Include Audio and Videos Cautiously
In e-learning translation, audio may be necessary in some instances, but it can be reduced to just the important bits to bring down costs. You can replace audio with onscreen content and interactivities to ensure effective learning.
Embed self-explanatory videos without too much text and audio in e-learning courses that are to be translated. Cautious use of videos in the source language will help keep the e-learning translation costs under control.
6. Avoid Content on Images
If text (such as labels) is part of an image, the entire image will have to be edited to translate the text, particularly if the source files are not available. If you separate the text from the image, only the text will have to be translated. It’s much easier, faster, and lowers your translation project cost.
7. Make Sure your LMS is Compatible with the Translated Courses
You need to check that your LMS is compatible with e-learning translations. Ensure your LMS supports multilingual courses. It should have the provision for content expansion and support different file formats for audio and video integration.
8. Stop Translating into Languages that are not in Demand
Sometimes courses are translated into languages that are not in demand. For example, courses in traditional Chinese may not have many takers, when the course is available in simplified Chinese. Time and efforts spent in translating a course into languages that are not in demand will be a waste. Therefore exercise due diligence when choosing the languages into which your online training courses need to be translated.
9. Outsource it to Professional E-learning Translators
When translating e-learning courses, you have to consider two important points. Ensure the course content is accurately translated. And the second thing is, translated courses must retain the instructional design essence of the original courses. So, it’s better to assign e-learning course translations to professionals.
Outsourcing end-to-end e-learning development to one company and the translations to another will requiring dealing with multiple vendors. Check for an e-learning company with experience in translation and localization services. This saves much of your efforts, project timelines and budgets.
10. Follow Standard Documented Processes
Following standard documented processes will simplify the complexities of the e-learning translation process. For example, the e-learning content should first go to the translators, then Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to crosscheck the content and accuracy of translation, to the translators again for feedback implementation; if audio narration is involved, it should also go to professional narrators. A well-defined translation process is necessary to make all these functions foolproof.
If you develop the course without the approval of c SMEs on the translated content and audio script, they will provide feedback after they see the final course. You will then need to change the content, record the audio yet again, and implement in the course. This leads to additional costs and delayed work.
11. Use the Right Authoring Tools and Translation Memory Tools
Many times, e-learning translations have the same content for the GUI buttons and labels. They repeat slide after slide. Make sure you are not charged multiple times for translating the same content.
Your e-learning translation process turns to be robust when the right authoring tools and translation memory tools are used. For example, Lectora is best known for its support in translating e-learning courses. Likewise, translation memory tools such as OmegaT ensure consistency in translation, automate the translation of repetitive words, and keep the source format intact.
12. Save source files for translation
Translation and integration of various elements will become easier, whey you have the original source files. It helps reduce the development time and costs of e-learning translation.
Hope the measures discussed here help reduce your e-learning translation costs. Want to know more about the intricacies of e-learning translation? Download our free e-book: Delivering LOCALIZED training to your GLOBAL workforce.
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