10 tips you need to keep in mind before localizing your E-learning courses

10 tips you need to keep in mind before localizing your E-learning courses

Translating your E-learning courses can be daunting whether you already launched your content or are in the development phase, but spending the time to plan ahead will ease the process and allow for effective program customization for any foreign language learners. Always keep in mind that a well localized and translated E-learning course is one that has every aspect customized to meet the learning needs of your globally-dispersed audience. Here are 10 tips for a smoother localization process: 


Tip 1| Select the right E-learning authoring tools

There are so many different popular authoring tools in the market that need to be researched in order to find the best fit for your E-learning content. The different specifications in the authoring tools include: being desktop-based and not being compatible with mobile devices, being exportable into different formats such as: XLIFF, bilingual Microsoft word file, Json and many other file formats. Some of the files could even contain untranslatable content at times. Some tools are highly customizable while others do not have a translatable user interface. Moreover, some tools integrate with SCORM, TinCan and several LMS platforms and allow collaboration between the users while others don’t. The choice really depends on what is more convenient and efficient for your translation and designer partners. 


Tip 2| Select the best E-learning localization vendor for your content 

Your key towards globalization is choosing the right vendor and that is through extensive research. Check the vendor’s: service profile, years of experience in the E-learning domain, experience in handling global clientele, project management process/quality practices, expertise in instructional design, proficiency in using authoring tools, willingness to provide references from existing clients and services besides being a localization partner. 


Tip 3| Plan ahead for E-learning design

The localization process would be simpler and more effective when incorporated in the early design stages. That is why all the languages that will be supported whether on the short-term or long-term should be provided to the E-learning localization partner in-advance in order to plan for any limitations that need to be considered with the E-learning program being used. Even though most of the design programs have recently been improving in accommodating languages, planning ahead will keep any exceptions to the rule away. 

Furthermore, in comparison to English, foreign languages can expand on an average of up to 25% to 30%. In most cases, the formatting team can manage to shrink the fonts, but to prevent future rework: it is preferred that white spaces are added to the sides, the navigation tools, text holders and  dialogue in general should be kept simple to ease the adaptation process to the translated content. 


Tip 4| Clearly identifying the target audience and choosing the right language version

Time must be invested in understanding the learners and their cultural background. Both Egyptians and Saudi’s speak Arabic. Both French and Sengalians speak French. That does not simply mean that the translation is going to be in Arabic and French, the process is far beyond the language choice. After understanding the learners, further divide them into groups and know the exact preferred dialect variant. For example, when E-learning translation to Chinese, it must be taken into account that the language(facing lots of linguistic debates) is divided into 6 to 12 dialects or languages all within the same country and each with different cultures. 


Tip 5| Provide all source materials to your localization partner 

Your localization vendor will need all your source files, storyboard details and workflow process in order to provide your organization with the whole picture: proper costing, timeline schedules and resource requirements. This would be beneficial in terms of eliminating any surprises and ambiguities. 


Tip 6| Keep language clear, concise and precise

You must keep in mind that your E-learning course might need to be localised and translated  into much more complicated languages in the future. That is why, the more precise and literal the content is, the easier it is to translate. The original E-learning course would preferably be: developed in international English and does not contain acronyms, humour, idioms, sarcasm and phrases that cannot be translated. Designing translation-friendly content from the very beginning will make the process both efficient and cost-friendly. 


Tip 7| Allow for cultural diversity adaptation while avoiding cultural sensitivity 

Societies are getting more culturally diverse on a frequent basis and that is exactly why your content needs to be both culturally inclusive and sensitive. The cultural differences must be researched extensively to avoid potential clashes with the learners in a particular area. Avoid idioms, cultural analogies, colloquialisms and pop-culture references. For example, in the Western countries, the star of David symbol is used to highlight a certain bullet point or to indicate the value of something. The usage of this symbol in the Middle East would be completely unacceptable politically, religiously and culturally. So, the learners should no longer be targeted only based on their nationalities and languages, but also upon their cultural preferences. 


Tip 8| Follow country standards 

  • Text direction| Languages have different text directions. For example, English reads from right to left while Arabic reads from left to right. 
  • Alignment| Different languages have different text alignment. Arabic language being read from left to right means that it is almost never aligned to the left and in Chinese the text is always center aligned precisely and justified on both the sides. 
  • Images| The pictures might need to be localised to suit the area the learner is in. For example, the people in the picture might not wear clothing that is realistic to the area. Also, the text on the images might need to be translated. 
  • Voice over| It should be taken into account that in some languages it is not necessary that the text written to be read is different from the text that is meant to be spoken.

Tip 9| Pay attention to design elements 

The graphics, animation and navigation need localization as well as the text. Some of the images and symbols are universally understood while interpretations of certain colors and images may differ from one culture to another. For instance, in Western cultures, the color white symbolizes peace, purity and elegance. But in some Asian countries, white symbolizes death and mourning. 

So, your localization partner must evaluate all your visual elements including: colors, navigation buttons, signs, any speech bubbles, signs, progress bars, video clips and any symbols to ensure not being offensive or inappropriate to any of the cultures that could get exposed to your content. 


Tip 10| Video and audio considerations 

In most cases the translated script will outgrow the English script and the content might need to be completely changed in order to avoid timing issues which could lead the voice talent to speak at an unnaturally fast pace or might require excessive editing. To avoid such rework, the English scripts should be kept as short and straight forward as possible from the very beginning.  


Take advantage of Saudisoft’s services

The trends are evolving and so are we, for you. Reach out to our E-learning translation experts for any advice and guidance regarding the process of translating your content or to discuss authoring tools. Saudisoft puts the ongoing innovations in the E-learning translation industry right in place to create opportunities for you to connect with the foreign language speakers all over the globe effectively. Also, if you might have to translate voice overs, our video and audio assimilation team has got you covered with carefully picked professional voice over talents and artistic directors with our reliable studios all over the Middle East. 

Get in touch with Saudisoft, your globalization starts with a conversation.