Sometimes when you are creating an elearning course there is a need to translate it into another language. I can recall working on an international elearning project where we were required to translate the content from English to Chinese. Naturally, this comes with challenges – especially if you don’t speak the translated language.
Besides the obvious challenge of translating the content, you also have to consider social implications of different cultures. The proper way you phrase instructions can differ from country to country, so you will want to do some research in this area before translating word-for-word.
That said, there are some strategies you can implement as you develop your elearning to better prepare it for translations. These strategies, first shared by CommLab, will help make the entire translation process a little easier.
1. Instructional Method – When creating your courses, avoid using long sentences, slang words/sayings, and a lot of text. Instead, keep the key points short and concise.
2. Language – Always create your elearning with the audience in mind. For example, if you are in the United States and creating a course for English speakers in the U.K., you will want to ensure you use the proper grammar rules for that particular region of the world (i.e. organisation vs. organization).
3. Visual Design – If your content is going to be translated into another language, or even used in a different English speaking country, make sure that your images do not contain any written text. Also, keep in mind that some colors and symbols have different cultural connotation.
4. Audio – Many elearning courses include audio. As such, it’s usually best to use a professional voice talent to convey both a professional and personal tone. This will help the content suit a diverse learner-base.
5. Development – The length of some text and words are different across various languages. Try to use style sheets for XML files and cascading style sheets for XHTML files to help define the best font properties for the various languages.
6. Outsourcing – If you are leveraging an outsourced team for translations, keep the content concise in the source files so that the translation team can identify the text that needs to be localized.