If your course is going to be used by learners in different countries, than it might need to be localized now or sometime in the future. Localization means translating text, making sure content is culturally appropriate, providing multilingual voiceover narration or subtitling for audio/video components, and making sure the course is understood and meaningful in each different market.
As a partner for eLearning developers, we want to make sure that the localization of your courses runs as smoothly as possible to deliver a course that meets and exceeds the above expectations. We also want to be able to help our clients save time and money. How does this happen? Plan for localization in the course creation stage. How can you do that? Keep reading. We want to share some tips with you based on our experience.
1. Text Content
With on screen text, less is more. Commonly translated languages such as Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, and Spanish can expand up to 20 percent. Also, text from English into character languages such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean can contract up to 15 percent. Keep this in mind for font sizing and restricted space such as buttons or text boxes. Being aware of expansion and contraction will help save money and time on translation and formatting.
2. Graphics and Images
Images are great for learning! If your course has images with text embedded in them, hang on to those source files for localization – we’re going to need them later. Any time we can avoid recreation, time can be taken off of desktop publishing hours. This saves money for you.
Quick tip for screenshot localization: Is the program that the screenshot is showing translated? If so, providing a screenshot of the translated program is helpful.
3. Audio/Video Content
Remember text expansion? This affects more than just on screen text; it affects audio and video content, too. Which technique, voiceover narration or subtitling, is better for you? We’ve weighed the pros and cons in an earlier blog post: Voiceover vs. Subtitling: Which to Use for eLearning Localization? Subtitling may be more cost effective in some cases, but there may be instances where voiceover narration best meets your needs.
Quick tip for audio/video localization: If you have a script for your content, let us translate the script first and have your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) review it. Approving the content and having a locked script will cut down on rework later on.
4. Numerical Values
Many times, this applies to monetary values and measurements. Will your learners be able to understand the values presented in the course? Or will they have to be converted? Keep this in mind when creating content; it will have to be converted and localized.
Acronyms in one locale might not make sense in another – for example different government organizations or national regulatory laws. The letters change when translated into different languages. Clarify if you want these acronyms translated or if you would like them to stay as is with an explanation within the content.
6. Reference Materials
Some clients provide glossaries of preferential terms. After all, Eskimos have 50 words for snow, and while term preferences might not be as superfluous, if your client prefers a certain term, let us know! A glossary is also a great place to put terms that are to stay in the source language or any other notes to pass along to a linguist.