Over many years our research, production and analysis has shown that online learning is most efficient and effective when delivered to the end user in their native tongue. However, the conversion of content from its source language to the desired localized target language is only the first step in delivering successful eLearning materials. We have found and truly believe that in order for eLearning platforms to deliver to their maximum potential, there are several factors that require thorough consideration and processing.
Create Consistent Content
No matter what language the eLearning material needs to be translated into, our team of language experts and engineers ensure a consistent approach. The accuracy of the language is important, but all the content has to be present and correct for the delivery to be truly a success. While our linguists concentrate on the localization of the wording, some things can potentially get ‘lost in translation’. It is our engineers' role to build and test the content in its desired platform to ensure each version covers the client requirements and all the content is there to meet the request.
The first step is always the conversion of wording in these projects. While some suppliers or even clients may see this as ‘job done’, we have found that a more holistic approach is required to truly meet the audience's expectations of an eLearning experience. To achieve this, the LSP has to consult with the client to generate creative localization, generating geographically altered graphics, on-screen communications in visual and wording that sync up once translated. The wording and graphic elements should work in harmony to produce a more polished end result.
LTR vs RTL
Languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, or Urdu present another challenge for LSP’s to resolve for the end user. The translation of ‘Right To Left’ content in these cases requires ‘mirroring’ to enable the end user in these locales to be able to fully understand them. While this in theory sounds like a relatively simple task, additional care in functional and linguistic testing is required to make sure all content is mirrored, so that graphics and copy still coincide and make sense.
Localizing Links and Updating URL’s
Any eLearning courses or content that include links to other pages or URL’s also require attention. To follow a truly holistic workflow, the target pages themselves should also be localized to the desired language. Failure to do so could be deemed as a below par delivery of service and also contradicts the consistent content theory we apply / advise all our learning providers.
A number of learning materials have multimedia elements included. Whether it is instructional video or explanatory audio, the localization of these is as important as the text. Video content has a few options in the form of subtitling or dubbing. Either one requires expert advice and development to ensure the onscreen content syncs perfectly with the additional formatting. Subtitling requires linguistic review to ensure quality of conversion, while voice-over is a process that needs native language talent and also QA testing to be confident of a polished and satisfactory end product.
Learning Management Systems
This stage of any eLearning project is vital. Most providers generate their courses and content for a Learning Management System (LMS). The current dilemma here is there are a number of different specs an LSP will need to consider, so sourcing a reputable and experienced LMS localization expert could be the difference between a successful project or a costly content calamity.
The LSP will need to take into account browser compatibility with the localized files / graphics / content. Any LMS system quirks or customized features will have to be discussed, reviewed and catered for to ensure correct display and workflow. Does the LMS support all processed features such as moving graphics, subtitling, and pop ups, etc.? These are just a few potential pitfalls in the process, but an experienced translation agency will have all these and more covered.