Have you ever faced a problem, while translating your eLearning courses? Recently, I came across this problem, when my course was supposed to be translated into 8 languages. During the process of translation of the course, I realized there is a lot of rework required as the content was rich in graphics and visuals. But there are things, which you can decide in the early stages of the development of eLearning courses that can save time and money.
Here, I am going to focus on a few tips, which can make your eLearning text translations easy and fast.
Using translation friendly content: First of all, while preparing a course, the text should be simple and concise. It should not be complicated because this complicates the process of translation. For this purpose, bullets and short sentences are preferable because these are easy to translate.
We instructional designers should also try to avoid using slang and idioms as the meaning of the sentence can be changed, when they are translated. To make the translation of our courses easy, we can give glossaries to the translators and this avoids confusions and increases accuracy.
Considering the special characters and font: While designing a course in English, the font of the text is not at all a problem. But when it comes to translations, the fonts of the text, if it is bold or italics, are not visible in most of the language. When we translated a course into Chinese, the bold and italics were not visible, and we had to select a font in which the Chinese language was easily translated. Moreover, while translating my course into Portuguese, we found that some special characters appeared, and this completely changed the meaning and created a faulty language. So, while translating, it is important to consider the font and special characters according to the typical language.
Avoiding images with text: In most of the cases, where the text is already embedded on images, it becomes difficult to change in different language. So, it always better to use images where it is possible to add the text outside the image, and this makes translations easier. This will reduce the amount of rework while translating.
Sometimes, usage of unknown or unfamiliar images leads to a lot of mess for the learner. So, when it comes to images, we as instructional designers can use global images that are known all over. By doing so, we will save a lot of time of the developers.
Considering the fact of “text expansion”: The size of English language is different from other languages and are not equivalent always. So, the volume of text when translated from English to other languages is increases by about 20%. It is important to plan for the text and use the white space thoughtfully. We as instructional designers can take care, while storyboarding, which in turn saves time and avoids reworks.
When the eLearning course is translated effectively, they lend consistency to global training programs of companies. I believe even you must have come across few hurdles; we would love to learn from your experiences. Please do share them with us!