Learning and Development: without the language barrier
4 top tips for translating your e-learning content
In today’s globalised world, companies are increasingly scrapping traditional employee training methods in favour of streamlined digital e-learning programmes which can be accessed remotely from anywhere in the world. Despite these developments, providing the training in employees’ local languages is a crucial step which continues to be overlooked by many international businesses.
Research suggests that e-learning content delivered in the learner’s native language is significantly more effective, even if they are multilingual, and can lead to an overall increase in their engagement and performance. In addition, learners are more likely to feel connected to and appreciated by their employers if they know they have invested in speaking to them in their own language.
In short, translation of e-learning materials can help international businesses boost their productivity and their revenues, as well as ensuring their employees are fully versed in business and safety-critical information. That’s why the most successful companies put it at the top of their list of priorities.
Want to do the same but perhaps aren’t sure where to start? Here are The Translation People’s top tips:
- Prepare your content with an international mindset.
If you know you’re likely to translate the English version of your training programme into various languages, it’s a good idea to create that original content with translation in mind. Using simple language and short sentences can really help make the translation process more straightforward and less time-consuming, ultimately helping you to save money and avoid confusion. Slang, wordplay and idiomatic expressions that can be difficult to translate (or may lose their meaning completely when translated) should generally be avoided. It’s good to be aware that certain symbols are not universally understood in the same way. For example, a ‘thumbs up’ has positive connotations in most English-speaking countries, but quite the opposite in some parts of the Middle East. Your translation and localisation provider will be ready to assess your content to flag up anything that may cause confusion or offense in other countries, and work with you to find an alternative way to communicate your message.
- Map out your multimedia requirements.
Translating e-learning materials often encompasses much more than just translation. Video editing, subtitling and voiceover recording may also be required, as well as localisation of visuals to ensure they are understood and well-received by different local markets. Language service providers who have experience in translating e-learning projects will be aware of considerations which need to be taken into account for certain languages. A German translation of an English sentence is often 30% longer than the original language than English when written down, and so space must be left on-screen to allow for expansion. Likewise, some languages are naturally spoken faster than others, so to sync the voiceover with the on-screen text, video timings may need to be tweaked. Your Account Manager will be able to advise you of any changes that need to be made to have the localised version flow naturally.
There are also clever ways to use your Learning Management System or Content Management System which can be of great benefit. Tools such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Elucidat can allow you to easily export your course content to XML. These files can then be integrated into your translation provider’s Translation Management System and once translated, they can be imported back into the course seamlessly- saving you lots of time!
- Share your knowledge with the translators for best results.
At The Translation People, all our translators are native-speaking professionally qualified subject experts. We only match translators with relevant experience in your industry to your projects, but we also know that you hold the key to the internal company knowledge which our translators need to produce translations which are truly in tune with your message. That’s why having your input is essential before the translation process has begun. Liaise with your in-market reviewers to agree on a list of company and industry-specific terminology. Make sure you’re using the most relevant terms consistently across your e-learning content. This reduces the risk of misinterpretations and will free up your internal resources, as the translated content will not need as many edits later on. Likewise, if you have any company style guidelines or tone-of-voice manuals, allowing the translators to access these will improve their understanding of your brand identity so it won’t get lost in translation.
- Choose a language services provider with skill and experience and get talking to them.
Translating learning and development content can be tricky, and even with the most skilled company, these projects take time and require extreme attention to detail. When it comes to choosing a provider who can help you, the more experience they have the better. Ask for references and examples of similar projects they’ve done with other clients, as well as how long they’ve been working with their existing clients in your industry. A professional translation company will be able to manage the project and take the stress out of it for you, as well as helping you navigate any cultural and technological challenges it may entail.
No off-the-shelf process can capture the variables of each e-learning project, which is why The Translation People tailors its services for each one. Working flexibly and having the technical experience and agility to adapt our approach to suit different client needs and budgets is a key part of what makes our service unique. We take the time to understand your vision, and then take an agile approach to make it happen.
Do you want to translate learning and development programmes for your international workforce?
Come and visit The Translation People at stand B130 at the World of Learning Exhibition on the 16th and 17th October 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham. We’d love to meet you and have a chat about how we can help you roll your L&D content out globally.
Any questions ? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org