Translating eLearning For International Audiences
Our team is in the process of translating learning assets into multiple languages to reach the global learning audience for our client, Choice Hotels International. We have developed a process and set of tools that could help you prepare scripts for localization and translation, as well, should you be asked to do the same.
At the beginning of any project, our team meets internally to anticipate and plan for all foreseen needs in each phase of the project. At the start of our project for Choice Hotels International, we knew the client wanted to roll out the training—including microlearning modules, short videos, and job aids—to their US audience first. Then, we knew we would engage our translation partner to help us prepare localized learning assets for the client’s international audiences. With that in mind, we developed a 5-step translation process that fits well within our larger development process. You could either use it verbatim or modify it to meet your translation project’s needs:
As part of our translation toolkit, we created a checklist to help us identify and keep track of the learning assets and media files that require translation. If you decide to develop a translation checklist, it should identify the following:
Shown below is a segment of our translation checklist:
Did you know that writing your initial script in English with localization in mind can save 10 – 15% in localization costs?  Translation services are generally priced by the volume of words, so the most cost-effective way to prepare a script for translation is to write clearly and concisely. In other words, avoid ambiguity by keeping the following simple:
Share these tips with your writers at the beginning of a project to help them avoid ample revisions later during the localization process. Your translation and localization provider may have additional tips for you, as well.
If your team plans to write for global audiences often, consider training your writers to use Simplified Technical English (STE). This is a controlled language with a set of writing rules and a dictionary of controlled vocabulary. It designed to help non-native English speakers understand English documentation easier; however, due to its clear and concise nature it can be more easily translated and localized, as well.
After localized scripts are approved by our clients, we produce a version of the course without audio for our stakeholders to review. Then, after incorporating their edits in the text and graphics, we record and incorporate the audio for the next review. This saves our clients time and money associated with translations.
If you have been asked to develop eLearning for a global audience, consider using our 5-step process and tips for translating eLearning for international audiences. And, as always, if you have any questions or additional “tricks of the trade” to share, we’d love to hear from you!