eLearning translation and localization has many different components. In previous posts, we’ve provided a broad range of tips that touch on these different components for text, audio, video, and graphics. Recently, we noticed an issue happening client courses, and we wanted to help with this challenge: text expansion.
After translation of the source (English), there is usually a much greater amount of text. How much depends on the language combination. Here are a few examples:
- Most Romance languages (French,Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian) expand 15-20 percent.
- Example: Please = Se il vous plait (French)
- Some Germanic languages (German, Danish, Dutch) are known for their compound words, where they combine several small words into a larger one.
- Example: Motor vehicle liability insurance = Kaftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (German)
- Some languages contract (character languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). Though the number of characters might decrease, the horizontal and vertical space needed may increase as characters themselves take up more space.
Expansion is tricky, but before it becomes a problem, let’s come up with a solution! Here are some options to help with this potential challenge:
- It is great to anticipate potential issues before the localization process begins and be proactive. We like to tell eLearning developers to create content with localization in mind. Anticipate that the course will need to be localized in the future. Therefore, when creating the course, add extra space in text boxes/text areas to allow room for expansion.
- If there is a lot to say about a particular subject, try not to cram all of the information onto one slide. A text-heavy English slide will be very hard to localize. Translated text might not fit! Remember the idiom “Two heads are better than one”? Think about this when putting together slides: two slides with less text are much better than one crowded slide for localization.
- Look at the font sizes used in your course. You never want fonts to be too small. A learner might not be able to read it! Therefore, there are limits to how small your course fonts can be. It is a great idea not to use your smallest font for your English content. Therefore, the font size of translated content can be reduced to make room for expansion. (Note, font size character languages might need to be a few points larger so they are readable!)
- Sometimes text is placed on top of images or graphics (example: buttons). Translated text may not fit. In this case, images can be re-sized or font sizes reduced (within style guidelines). These issues may be identified during the localization process. Recommendations will be made by the localization team, and we will work with the client to arrive at a solution.
There are a lot of nuances to the translation process. As a leading provider of turnkey eLearning localization solutions, LinguaLinx is here to help!