20 tips for localising your elearning

Need to make your elearning suitable for another market? Lewis Moss is on hand with some great tips to make it easier. 

With technology advancements in a globalised world, elearning has become very important to businesses everywhere. As a result of elearning’s international application the localisation of content has become extremely popular and important.

Having material localised can often present a learning curve for companies. Often, when producing the initial elearning material providers aren’t aware that their work will be localised further down the line, and even if they are, they don’t necessarily understand the process or know how to adapt their work to make the process easier.

Selecting a localisation provider is the first step, successful localisation comes down to communication, getting across your requirements accurately is essential for a successful partnership, but this doesn’t always happen.

Here are our top tips to make localising elearning material a quicker, cheaper and more effective process.

  • Communicate! If you can’t explain what you want you won’t get what you want. It is essential to know what you want to achieve and discuss this with your provider.
  • Estimating: Knowing the details of your project and passing these to the provider can make the process quicker, things like word count and video lengths will help providers give you accurate quotes.
  • Information: Is the original data available in the correct formats? Source data is often needed in order to edit and include the localised content. If you’re unsure what is needed ask the provider to tell you at the start of a project.
  • Languages: Select which languages are needed, if there are multiple languages, put them into groups e.g. European, left to right, east Asian. This will improve quality checking and allow a more organised process.
  • To translate or not to translate? Most of the time, company or product names and logos remain in English. However, sometimes they have already been localised into the desired language previously or there may be an agreed pronunciation, which voice-overs need to replicate. Providers need to be told about any of these beforehand.
  • Keeping it cultural: Different cultures have many differing views and beliefs – some are not obvious. Things like colours, pictures, signs, gestures and symbols  should be considered when localising elearning.
  • Bob’s your uncle: Or is he? Colloquial language, acronyms and slang do not translate directly. If your content has any of this it is best to find alternatives for your translated content to avoid confusion when the finished product is seen by the target audience.
  • Choosing your media: Whether your elearning uses voice-overs, subtitles, on screen text or you need print materials, each type of media brings its own problems which need to be considered when designing content.
  • Text expansion: Most languages (with some notable exceptions) run longer than English and some of them run much longer. This causes the localised versions to have to make some sort of compromise: either text becomes smaller, the design is changed and therefore the text layout is changed. Neither scenario is ideal, so it is much better to consider this aspect of the task at the design stage.
  • Formatting: Overusing text formatting features like coloursbold and italics etc. can slow down the localisation process. The formatting will need to be applied to the precise translated word which isn’t always obvious. Also in some language fonts, certain formatting isn’t possible.

Part two will be published next week.


About the author

Lewis Moss works for Adelphi subtitling services


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