Guide to eLearning Localization

Recently, eLearning has become one of the fastest-growing industries across the world. The term came into existence in 1999, and since then, it has been a viable training or learning option for millions of individuals to acquire a new skill. Thanks to eLearning, people can have access to or acquire professional certificates and even degrees after completing a virtual course. 

Multinational organizations worldwide have also utilized localization services and corporate learning to train their culturally diverse workforce. 

There are thousands of eLearning programs for students, professionals, and even corporate organizations. However, its global standing will naturally require adapting to various languages and cultures. One can only achieve this through eLearning translation or, more specifically, eLearning localization. 

In 2018, eLearning was worth a whopping $190 billion, and this worth is projected to grow further by 8-13% in less than a decade. The sub-industry of corporate learning is speculated to grow by over $30 billion. The industry is receiving investments from many companies, hence the reason for its speedy growth. 

However, with growth comes challenges. Due to the increasing number of eLearners worldwide, there has been a higher demand for localization services to satisfy the needs of diverse cultures and languages. 

So how can you achieve eLearning localization?

1.   Define the Scope of eLearning Localization

This is simply deciding on the number of languages you want to target for your eLearning course. It also involves selecting the content for translation. The content can be in varying formats- audio, written, video presentations, etc. Your courses will contain the number and types of content translation, making the localization process easier. Furthermore, it will help you know the necessary resources and arrive at a suitable budget. 

2.   Hire eLearning Localization Experts

The essential aspect of the eLearning translation workflow is working with localization experts. Specialists in localization services include voice talents (for audio content), translators, and elearning engineers for formatting and desktop publishing (DTP). They should be equipped with the appropriate tools and expertise to smoothly, accurately, and efficiently carry out the eLearning localization project.

3.   Make your Content Adaptable

This is where the actual work of eLearning localization takes place. The content for your eLearning program will be translated into languages within your scope of localization. The content designer should ensure that the program modules adapt to targeted cultures. This involves using the right color schemes and visuals. 

It also involves proper spacing to make allowance for content expansion during translation. For example, content initially created in English may be shorter when translated into Chinese, German, Dutch, or French. However, the text may be longer for languages such as Arabic, Finnish or Korean. 

4.   Be Careful with Cultural References during eLearning Localization

The original content of the eLearning course may contain expressions, humor, and other kinds of cultural references that may apply to other languages and cultures. During eLearning localization for multilingual audiences, the content has to be carefully translated to retain the original message and avoid offending or disrespecting other users. To respect cultural differences or sensitivities, ensure that you use neutral language to translate content. 

This sometimes means having to change out pictures, images, graphics, symbols, and even colors. This is where a professional comes in very handy.

5.   Proofread and Edit

Once the translation of the eLearning content is complete, forward the content to a professional reviewer to proofread and edit it. They will review the work for errors or flaws and polish the content. If more improvements are necessary for the content, the reviewer will provide suggestions. 

6.   Integrate Every Part of your Content

After editing and proofreading your content for the eLearning program, the project manager should integrate all parts (audio, animation, video, and text) into the right platform. Then, a technical team will test the integrated content to ensure it’s functioning correctly and delivers a hitch-free performance, identical to that of the original. The styling and formatting of the content should also be similar to the original. 

7.   SME Review of Localization Service

Once localization of the content is completed, you can forward the project to the Subject Matter Expert (SME) within your organization. The subject matter expert can then comment or offer suggestions concerning corrections or improvements. After the SME’s review, you can send the feedback to the localization team. 

8.   Quality Control

Armed with the feedback, the team can review the localized content for extra errors such as typos, omissions, grammar, edits on the meanings, and additions. This ensures quality control. The quality controller will ensure that the localization team follows the glossary and style guide of the client. They will also add the necessary updates to the glossary and style guide. At this stage, you’ll carry out extra formatting to ensure the localized content is identical to the original content. 

After the above steps, the team will carry out a final inspection and deliver the project. Then you can add to your LMS to assign to your different learners.

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