Has your child’s schooling moved online? Do you have a friend whose university has closed? eLearning in general has exploded in the wake of coronavirus, but even before the current dilemma, data already showed an increase. Take, for example, the report published earlier this year by Research and Markets. R&M found an impressive growth rate in the eLearning market of approximately 7.2%, with an expected end of decade market value of $325 billon. In the past five years, eLearning technology and capacity has greatly expanded and now, market growth will be accelerating much more rapidly than before.

Across the world, corporations and academic institutions are recognizing the need to translate eLearning courses for diverse learning communities. Just like any translation project, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure the highest quality and most accurate translation possible. Here are some tips for guaranteeing the best eLearning translations.

1) Organize and Prepare

Be sure to keep all files in one location. It is also important to keep track of all file versions in an organized system. Remember to never delete old versions, as your Language Service Provider (LSP) may need to refer to these for making updates.

Avoid too many idioms, colloquialisms, and cultural analogies that will be difficult to properly translate and simply may not make sense in another language. Be clear, concise, and stick to the point so there is no room for poor interpretation.

Appropriate Images: Depending on your target audience, you may have to prepare images to swap out in order to be culturally appropriate. Another good idea is to choose images that will be universally accepted. Incorporate text in your images as layers on top of the image rather than embedding the text, which will make it un-editable

For audio/video: provide times and clearly labeled scripts, offer instructions on gender selection for role play scenarios and supply precise pronunciation guidelines for proper names, brand and product names (multiple rounds of re-recordings can get very expensive).

2) Provide Glossaries and Style Sheets

As with any translation project, you might have specific words that need to keep consistent, such as product names or brand jargon. In these cases, it is very beneficial for your LSP to have a glossary of all the terms that should stay in the source language or all the terms with specific brand translations. Another way to have the project go as smoothly as possible is to provide a style sheet ensuring that formatting is consistent and that manual formatting overrides are not lost.

3) Review Expectations and Sample

As translation is a human endeavor, it is important that both you and your LSP are on the same page. There are always a multitude of ways something may be translated, so being clear about your expectations is always beneficial. Finally, sometimes it is really helpful to have a sample of the project translated first to get an idea of how the process works and to establish expectations for the future.

Mitchell Thomas

Author Mitchell Thomas

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