E-learning Translation and Online Courses: How to Succeed?

Translating interactive online courses requires a unique expertise. Not only must the translator be proficient in the subject matter, but they also need to be familiar with the course and its platform. Moreover, when the content is educational, mistakes can be particularly detrimental. Even a minor error can significantly impact the information provided to the student, making this a highly technical task.

Many companies recognize the need to translate online training courses to reach a broader audience. The question is, how can you ensure accurate eLearning translations? Common mistakes are often observed during the translation process. Fortunately, these can be easily avoided by following these steps:

1. Content Preparation:

Before even considering translation, understand your overall strategy. Consider your target audience, foreign market, messaging, and branding. Even simple elements like color schemes can greatly influence how your eLearning content is perceived. Therefore, establish basic guidelines for your eLearning content creators. Recommendations include avoiding idiomatic phrases, cultural analogies, and being clear and concise. Remember, simpler initial content translates more easily. Avoid redundancy and pay attention to visual content. Understand the significance of colors and leave extra white space for potential language expansion. Most importantly, avoid embedding text in graphics as they can’t be translated.

2. Project Analysis:

Gather all necessary online learning documents, including files and project-related content. Many professionals opt for platforms like Storyline or Captivate for content management. If your eLearning project includes video or audio, submit the original files. If you’re building content within a custom platform, accessing an LMS for your article’s context is recommended.

3. Develop a Glossary and Style Guide:

A glossary ensures consistent terminology. It’s also useful for translating specific terms. A style guide should outline linguistic information, tone, and style for all translated documents.

4. Identify All Materials:

You might be surprised by the number of documents to translate for an eLearning project, including audio, narration scripts, graphics, documentation, displayed text, player interfaces, LMS or other web interfaces, and apps.

5. Review Expectations with the Client:

Translation is a human endeavor, and opinions can vary. Ensure all project collaborators are aligned. Linguists, with their specialized knowledge, should work harmoniously with the client’s reviewer or SME.

6. Provide Necessary Training:

Training on your product’s features provides the translator with contextual references and better understanding. This is especially useful for software localization and website content.

7. Translate Online Course Content:

Hire native professional linguists to translate your eLearning courses into your chosen target languages. Using a proprietary translation management platform allows linguists to access all reference documents, glossaries, and style guides centrally.

8. Review Translations:
This step elevates translation quality. The client provides feedback to the translator working on the project. A dialogue about changes ensures the best solution is implemented.

8. Quality Control and Deliverables:

This final check ensures top-tier eLearning translation quality. The translation undergoes quality checks to ensure all initial instructions, feedback, glossaries, and style guides were followed. If additional formatting is needed, documents are checked against the provided source for content omissions. Audio synchronization and functionality checks are also performed.

9. Delivery:

All final deliverables are compiled and checked to ensure they meet your translation standards.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your eLearning content is not only translated accurately but also resonates with your global audience.