As more and more companies open their offices in multiple countries, eLearning has become a popular choice to provide cost-effective, on-demand education, training and support to audiences around the globe. Academic institutions, businesses, governments, and other organizations rely heavily on tailored E-Learning modules to maintain their missions and values, regardless of which part of the world their audience is in.
E-Learning localization is not just about translation. It is also about taking into consideration customs, graphics, colors, fonts, number formats, and complex multimedia and interactive elements to ensure that the material is not simply understandable but usable, culturally appropriate, meaningful and most importantly – more engaging.
The more varied and dispersed the audience is, the more valuable eLearning localization can be. A one-size-fits-all approach may make the learner feel undervalued and can result in the content being less effective overall.
The subject matter getting “lost in translation” must not be the basis for not attaining learning objectives, and that’s why localization holds a pivotal role in course development. Following are some guidelines for designing eLearning for better localization:
Make Wise Choices Early
Considering localization and planning for it ahead can save time and avoid the substantial future cost. Usage of colloquial language, familiar images, and humorous videos may engage the learners but there is a possibility that, these components of the course won’t be received in the same manner across cultures.
Using international formats will help maintain consistency across all geographies and create a flawless understanding amongst global users.
Add Locale Flavours Appropriately
While the original content must be neutral, locale flavors and culture-specific subtleties must be incorporated while localizing the course. If not dealt with sensibly, cultural sensitivity can disengage the learners, may look very unprofessional or even offensive.
Course content, such as signs, symbols, and colors, all are needed to be thought out carefully. If they are going to be generalized across the course as you may be surprised by the discrepancy between what is considered positive in one country, and negative or unlucky in another.
Design Nuances for Different Languages
Another vital point to be kept in consideration is nuances of design. Designers need to consider appropriate color schemes, fonts, text sizes and interfaces. Furthermore, areas allocated for text may need altering depending on the language used. For example, German and Italian translations may take up much more screen space than English due to word length, but Japanese characters using the same font size are narrower and use less screen space.
Try to find the right mix that is adaptable and does not significantly impact surrounding elements.
Finalise in One Language before Localizing
It may be enticing to plan so far ahead and try to cover all languages at the time of finalizing course development; however, this can potentially turn out to be a nightmare! Imagine spotting an error or glitch that then needs to be amended in 5 different languages. It is better to finalize and perfect one course in a chosen language before localizing in others.
Make Use of Professional Translators
Making an eLearning course ready for another country is a time-consuming and extensive process. On top of that, you need to consider numerous parameters to find success. Instead of venturing into this vast territory all by yourself, it is best to hire professionals. It may be tempting to reduce costs by using bilingual personnel or online translating tools, but the translation is a profession for a reason; to ensure the exact same message is understood well in multiple languages. Professional native translators have the proficiency and the know-how necessary to encompass suitable cultural distinctions and expressions into the translated edition. One doesn’t want the learners to be puzzled or distracted by syntax.
Localization can assist your course gain access to a wide-ranging audience, put together and sustain reliable results for your clients, and boost the unity of the company as a single worldwide entity. A systematic test of the linguistic, cosmetic, and functional components in all languages across operating systems, platforms and browsers is the key to achieve an effective and engaging eLearning experience for your brand.
About the Author
Shatyaki Singh Bohra is General Manager at Andovar Localization Services Pvt Ltd provides leadership to the company in operations. She is responsible for achieving operational objectives by contributing information and recommendations to strategic plans and reviews, preparing and completing action plans, implementing production, productivity, quality, and customer-service standards. She is also responsible for resolving problems, identifying trends, determining system, improvements and implementing change.
Shatyaki holds an MBA degree in International Business with a silver medal in academics from Amity International Business School. She has close to six years of experience in client servicing with publishing, prepress and eLearning industries.