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A Complete Guide to E-learning Translations

E-Learning, also known as online education or online learning, is the training that is provided with a computer or any other form of digital device. It can also be referred to as the use of a network that can provide skills and knowledge to people as a group or simultaneously. E-learning can occur in two ways including completed online where no face-to-face interaction with the tutor or by mixed learning that provides a blend of both online and direct contact with a tutor. E-learning translation on the other hand is changing educational content from one language to the other. It is essential when you are working with a multilingual group of people as it helps them work as a single unit. 

Why choose to do itOften, organizations opt for e-learning translation to train their employees who are expected to learn the target language. Instead of just sending a linguist to train team members in the target language, it is considered much easier to translate the courses to the desired language. After the translation is complete, the staff can now complete the required courses. In the beginning, it may seem like a laborious activity but it will ease up things especially when you hire translation services. 

So, what are the best practices for e-learning translation? 

1. Begin with the final version

The first stage of e-learning translation requires that you start with the final version of the course that has been approved by your L&D team. While you may want to design a course as you translate it into various languages, it is not advisable at all. This is because once you are done translating and sharing the new version with various stakeholders; you are likely to wind up with a lot of corrections. Many suggested amendments mean a lot of work that might turn laborious at some point. The catch is to translate a finalized document to the target languages that you want.

2. Know your audience

You need to have an in-depth understanding of your target audience that goes beyond their language choice for you to translate content for them. This includes familiarizing yourself with the cultural preferences of your target group. For example, suppose you are translating a course into English. You need to know where you will be using the language in question. You also have to find out what country the course will be used in and what cultural practices people in that region prefer. If the cultures used by your target group vary, you will require images that represent these differences. Additionally, you need to consider the dialect of your audience. In case you didn’t know, users need to hear themselves and relate to the course when they take it!

3. Keep it simple

The first question that you ought to ask yourself before you embark on translating an e-learning course is who you are doing it for? Once you understand your users, you can keep the content in a natural tone that favors your staff. You should know that there is a chance that learners in different countries or content might have some commonality but still have differences as well. Therefore, you need to avoid using regional references such as idioms, sports, or religion, the key reason being the fact that they don’t resonate uniformly with everyone. You have to avoid phrases or words that create misunderstanding, are offensive, or confuse people. The goal is to ensure that your content stays neutral in all the languages that you are translating to. 

4. Pick one translating partner

E-learning translation is more than just translating text! It encompasses the use of voiceover, audio script, and subtitles. Therefore, bringing on board a lot of people may complicate the process making it difficult to complete in time. To overcome this hurdle and deliver consistent content on time, you need to have a centralized translation system that includes one partner that does the entire job. Working with one partner helps you customize your modules seamlessly which is essential for your company’s future projects.

5. Select an authoring tool 

To get rid of delays and ensure that your translated content reaches your global employees, you need to choose rapid authoring tools that are there in the market. These tools will help you to translate your online courses faster and will minimize wastage. Among the tools that you can use are Adobe Captivate, Lectora Inspire, and Articulate Storyline. The software is known for its efficiency in localization and translation capabilities. For example, Adobe Captivate helps you translate a course based on the location of a learner. It has a geolocation feature that captures the longitude and latitude of the learner and provides them with content based on it. Lectora Inspire works by extracting text to a Rich Text File format. This version is essential and can be used by any translation service provider to develop files and import the document to the tool. Lectora Inspire can also help you translate your content into multiple languages. This advantage allows many users to pick a course in their chosen language of choice. Articulate Storyline 360 on the other hand allows you to export files so that they are translated and imported when the process is complete.

6. Conduct a quality check

Once you have completed your e-learning translation process, you need to perform quality assurance to ensure that the end product is up to the required standard. It is through this process that you get to assess the technical and linguistic accuracy of your translated course. Most of the time, the translated content can either be longer or shorter than the original therefore you should not be alarmed by that. The only thing that you should ensure is that the translated text has the same meaning as the source.


E-learning translation is essential when training multilingual employees. For you to get the best-translated course, you need to start working on an already harmonized document, understand your audience, ensure you keep the process simple, work with one partner, leverage tools, and perform quality assurance at the end of it. 

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