03.23.15

5 Common eLearning Localization Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!)

The purpose of eLearning localization is to make sure that courses you develop can effectively reach a broad target audience. As a leading provider of eLearning localization solutions, LinguaLinx is using our experience to put together this list of common eLearning localization mistakes and how to avoid them. Trust us, it makes your job (and ours, too!) much easier.

1. Cutting Costs Where You Shouldn’t

Every course has a budget for development. It may seem expensive to localize eLearning in-house, but this may not always be the case. There are too many factors involved that make it easier – and cheaper – to outsource. We gave reasons in an earlier post “Why You Should Outsource Your Translations.” It is also important to use local subject matter experts (SMEs). They are trained eLearning professionals who can help decide what can be included or omitted. SMEs also review translated content to make sure that it is not just culturally relevant, but that terms used are preferred for the company or organization. eLearning localization costs don’t have to be expensive. We offer tips on saving money (and time) during the localization process in an earlier blog post “6 Tips for Cutting Cost and Time for eLearning Localization.”

2. Not Using “Translation-Friendly” Content
When writing content for your e-Learning program, it is best to begin with the end in mind. Anticipate that the content will need to be translated and localized. As always, make sure your writing is clear, concise, and consistent. Avoid being too wordy and using complex sentences. Then take it a step further by avoiding slang, idioms, or acronyms that whose meaning may be unclear in other languages. Providing a translation agency with a glossary or a term base will help with consistency and accuracy of content. This can also cut down on the number of unique words in your translation, which will, in turn, cut down on cost.

3. Not Making Room for Expanded Text
Keep “language expansion” in mind.  Many languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese can add 20 percent or more to the word count. Make sure your course is designed to handle this expansion. White space is your friend. Text boxes, frames, and other potentially-restricting areas are not.  Areas to be cautious about are navigation bars, drop-down menus, and links. We cover this more extensively in our blog post titled “Handling Expansion with eLearning Localization.”

4. Embedding Text in Images and/or Not Providing Source Files
Embedding text in graphics is a mistake. The text cannot be extracted for translation. A desktop publishing department would have to recreate a new layered image file, with the text as its own layer. This may also call for retouching of a graphic or photo. The result is added cost. A way to avoid this would be to provide editable source files such as PSD, INDD, or TIFF files; a JPEG is not an editable source file.

5. Putting Too Much On Your Plate
“Go Big or Go Home!” is a saying that might work in sports, but not with eLearning localization. Have one version of your eLearning completed before localizing. It’s a lot easier to change two paragraphs of text one time rather than in 3,4,5,6 or more different languages! Also, keep in mind that each course needs to be tested, and most of the time, reviewed by subject matter experts. Then, courses also need to be published. The process is a lengthy undertaking. Reach out to your partner LSP for help. We will work together with you to set deadlines and help manage these projects in the most efficient way possible so that each localized course is an A+!

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