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Tips on E-learning Localization


The rapid expansion of the e-learning industry allows organizations the use of multimedia and web technologies, including online video, to make training readily available to larger, more diverse audiences than ever before. So, what do you need to consider when creating e-learning programs for other language and cultural groups?


Internationalize. Internationalize e-learning programs so they can be readily adapted for all languages and locales. This includes trying to: write and design original content to allow for text expansion, remove or adapt culture-specific information, ensure software used for e-learning supports multiple languages, including alternate number, currency and date formats, etc.


Adapt to culture and locale as needed. Be prepared to adapt to the target audience’s culture when needed to ensure the successful outcome of your e-learning programs. Content that may need to be modified includes: images, animation, colors, regional or culture-specific examples or scenarios, and potentially inapplicable legal or political information. Also, check if it is best to localize names of people or places depending on the culture and purpose of the e-learning material. Consult with the appropriate in-house resources or your language services provider (LSP) to determine if certain training material should also be adapted for the preferred learning style of the target culture.


E-learning and technology. Define the technical and functional needs of the target locale, including the internet bandwidth and available or even preferred technology to ensure that your e-learning material can be readily accessed and is still engaging for the learner.


Limit the use of jargon, slang, and wordplays. As part of the internationalization process, try to limit the use of jargon, slang, and wordplays that could impact the success of your e-learning programs and may not be readily understandable or culturally relevant for the target audience.


Consider the importance of consistency. Particularly for a series of e-learning modules, consistency of terminology and style can be key to success. So, check with your language services provider on the creation of a style guide and bilingual glossary of terms to help ensure consistency. Translation memory software is another tool your LSP can utilize to ensure consistency and leverage repetitive content. For audio content, it would also be important to use the same, consistent voices throughout a series of e-learning courses.


Determine reporting needs for feedback and questions. Check to see if certain reporting in the form of course surveys, learner comments, and questions need to be localized into the target language or back into the original language, when appropriate. It would also be important to check that the reporting systems used can support multiple languages. 


Review reference lists and supplemental material. Be sure to review the bibliographies containing lists of additional references and supplemental material, such as a course manual or online help, to determine what may need to be translated or modified for the target audience. This would include translating key supplemental material and possibly replacing certain references with ones more appropriate for the target locale or indicating if certain material has been left in the original language.


Effectively localizing your e-learning material can help you reach out to a larger audience of both customers and employees to efficiently provide much needed product information, technical training, sales support, among many other possibilities! Contact us today with questions or for more information on how to meet your e-learning localization needs!

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