Localizing your eLearning content: An education on avoiding the common translation challenges

Localizing your eLearning content is all about making it ready for the target audience. While it does involve translation from the source language to the target language, localization is much more than that.

Since your eLearning course could come in a variety of forms, from training videos, e-books, to interactive quizzes, it’s only natural you want to keep the quality of the original course. eLearning localization goes one step further than simple translation and adapts the content to suit the culture of the target market.

Now you must be wondering, why is localization so important? Is it really necessary to localize my eLearning content?
Well, if you want to convey the exact meaning, provoke the same emotions and enhance knowledge acquisition, you absolutely have to consider localizing your eLearning content for your target market. Without it, you could risk your globalization success, your brand image, and the entire purpose of educational content.

To set your eLearning localization up for success, we’re sharing five common translation challenges you should avoid.

Plan for multilingual localization in the early stages of eLearning development

When developing your eLearning content, try to make it localization-friendly, especially if you recognize the need for globalization right from the start. This will help you avoid potential challenges or errors later on.

Avoiding slang and idioms whenever possible could make the localization process much simpler and more straightforward. Sometimes these expressions don’t have an equivalent in another language, making it challenging to find a suitable solution.
Also, pay attention to how you use jokes in your course since humor is culturally specific and could turn out offensive. Another thing to consider is the usage of minimal multimedia and simple graphics to avoid any extra development costs.

Get to know your audience right from the start

Needless to say, understanding your audience is key in eLearning localization. Without proper knowledge of the cultural preferences, you could miss out on a lot of learner engagement, and in the worst-case scenario, you could end up offending someone.

Take the time to research the local market, get to know their dialects, sense of humor, etc. before you dig in. Your localization partner could be of great help in this area, especially if they are native-speaking translators who know the ins and the outs of the target country.

The importance of graphic localization

Apart from translating the written content, there are some other parts of your eLearning course that should be adapted for its target learners. Visuals, graphics, and graphical user interface (GUI) also hold great power when dealing with cultural differences.

Although there are some universally understood symbols, you should take extra care that your eLearning content is easily understood and not offensive across the globe. For instance, colors and images play a major role in graphic design. Just like you would localize written content, you should also culturally adapt the visuals too.

Keep in mind the text extension and contraction

Every language is unique and that’s the beauty of it. But during localization, these differences can turn into challenges. Sometimes translated content ends up longer or shorter than the original version, so it gets tricky when it needs to be turned into a voice-over, animation, or graphical element. That’s why it’s a good idea to always leave some extra space in case the translated text grows. Let’s face it, squeezed or crowded text can ruin the entire user experience, making your hard work go to waste.

Supply your language partner with edible formats

To avoid going back and forth with your localization partner, make sure you provide them with edible formats. This will give them access to your eLearning content and allow them to easily incorporate translation, expand or contract the text when needed and make the entire localization process more straightforward.

If your eLearning materials contain graphics and images, try to provide your language vendor with editable InDesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator files. Flattened PDFs or JPEGs could make the process of applying the translated text more complicated than necessary.

Localizing your eLearning content is a challenging journey, but trust us, it will be worth your while once it’s done. The best way to overcome these localization obstacles is to collaborate with an expert.

Language Buró is a leading provider of translation and localization services - we like to think of language as an opportunity and not a barrier. We’d be happy to help you localize your eLearning content and reach your global audience! Get in touch with us today to receive a free localization quote.