Localizing Video For eLearning: Best Practices For Multilingual Voiceovers

When localizing video for eLearning, you have a choice between subtitles or voiceovers. Subtitles are more cost-effective, but voiceovers are better for demonstrations. Avoid problems during eLearning localization by following these best practices. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

10 Steps For Accurate eLearning Translations

Common mistakes during the translation process could be easily avoided with these 10 steps. Whether you’ve completed multiple eLearning translation projects in the past or this is your first experience, these 10 steps for accurate eLearning translations will improve your overall output. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

4 Benefits Of Translating eLearning Courses

Translating eLearning: 4 Benefits To Consider

eLearning course development can be extremely complex and time consuming. It is important to look at all aspects of your course before translating and working with a good eLearning translation partner. The items below are simple reasons why a company should translate their content in the first place. So, let's dig in.

  1. Ease of communication.
    Probably the most obvious benefit of having on-hand translation services is that you can actually communicate with your potential clients. Think of your business as a man at a singles bar. A beautiful woman (the metaphor for a rich client) approaches you with all the signs of interest... but you have no clue what she's saying. It's just easier to go somewhere that people speak her language.
  2. Greater range.
    Translation services mean you can deal with more clients and customers from more areas around the world. By extension, that means you will experience growth, and gain ground on competitors who are limited to one language. After all, there are billions of people out there who might want your product, and many of them would be more likely to get it if you offer it in languages besides English.
  3. Satisfied customers and employees.
    It's true that English has become the world's new lingua franca (ironically enough), but just because someone can speak English doesn't mean he or she wants to. Allowing clients to use the language they're most comfortable with, and making efforts to accommodate them, will lead to a more satisfying experience as well as more repeat business.
  4. Greater confidence.
    There's something about knowing you can make yourself understood in a variety of languages that adds confidence to your business. Translation services allow you to put your best foot forward, assured that you have made yourself as clear as you can. After all, there's a big difference between telling your clients, “We can handle all your needs,” and “We can knead all your handles.” It's the difference between trusting Google Translate, and hiring someone who can actually make you understood.

These are, of course, just four solid reasons to invest in professional translation services for your business. As with all eLearning Translation projects there are many more items to consider as you develop your courses, as there are more reasons why you should get your content translated.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

eLearning Course Translation Workflow

eLearning Course Translation

First and foremost it is recommended that when looking at eLearning Translation you work with a firm that not only does language translation, but is also very experienced in the eLearning industry. The translation company needs to understand the different types of software platforms, like Lectora, Storyline, Captivate or iSpring, as well as Flash and custom XML formats. Translation among the different platforms can be technically challenging, so go with a firm that specializes in the industry or at least has a lot of experience using the platforms.

In addition to an understanding of the software platforms a translation firm needs to understand how to adapt languages for text and spoken, as many eLearning courses have an audio component. Ideally, the translation company will be able to work closely with the instructional designers as well, which will help iron out many of the details as they relate to translation.

Because tone is so important for eLearning it is recommended that you test linguists from the start, in order to identify which translators capture the style and essence more accurately. Vocabulary, word choices, general feel and tone are essential to make an eLearning Course one of a kind – and they must remain as untouched as possible in the translated versions.

Reference materials from the client are a big help here. If there are past translations, they can prove to be a great starting point for new translations. Glossaries, style guides, translation memory files... All of these can help translators keep their work consistent.

All of these steps must be part of the overall workflow in an eLearning course translation. An iterative and agile approach to translation is best as it will allow you to adapt as problems arise or courses are even changed mid-translation. Proper planning is the key to success in the lengthy, methodical process of an eLearning course translation.

General Guidelines And Workflow For Your eLearning Course Translation

Here are some general guidelines and workflow for your eLearning course translation:

  • Start with a “pilot” phase, an initial segment or “proof of content”, with which the client can have a taste of the quality of the translation and express their approval.
  • Based on this pilot segment, the client can formulate their suggestions and feedback, which will in turn serve as guidelines for the rest of the translation.
  • Once the translation has been completed and approved after several reviews both from the translators’ side and the client’s, the latest must sign off the translation in order for the project to advance to the next phase: voice recording.
  • The narration and voice over phase must have a similar structure as the translation phase: after obtaining approval on the group of selected voice talents, the translation company must provide samples and pilot segments so that the client can express their thoughts and suggestions.
  • Once the recording phase is over, the audios must be edited, adapted and synchronized to fit the original videos and learning materials, and this is another process that takes time and client feedback.
  • Communicate more than you think…keep an open dialogue.

All in all it isn’t a difficult process; just one that has a lot of steps and areas for confusion. Receiving and giving input throughout the process is crucial and will help dramatically. The regular exchange of thoughts, the sending of text and audio samples, status updates, batches of files as the project develops all create a cycle of trust and openness between the translation company and the client. Sometimes, determining the client’s wants, needs and preferences is not as simple as just asking directly – it requires insight, insistence and a knack for asking the right questions.

Strengthening relationships and keeping communications open between a translation company and the client is a definite must in the practice of an e-Learning Course translation, and while it takes effort and time, it is undoubtedly the most rewarding course of action for every party involved.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

eLearning Translation: 8 Top Tips For eLearning Professionals

Tips For Effective eLearning Translation

Translating content for your eLearning course is rarely an easy task. However, it can offer you the opportunity to reach an entirely new international audience and make your eLearning company a globally recognized brand. To make the process more effective and less resource-draining, here are some invaluable tips and tricks for eLearning translation.

  1. Think about localization when you're creating content.
    Long before you actually begin translating your eLearning course, localization should be a consideration. In fact, when you start developing your eLearning content, think about the translation process that you will have to go through at some point. For example, when crafting content, avoid lengthy paragraphs and break text down into bullet points. Also, try to avoid common translation mistakes, such as using acronyms, if at all possible, and never use expressions as each language, country, and culture have their own common sayings.
  2. Leave plenty of room for translated text.
    Bear in mind that translated text could take up more room than the original version. For example, if you are translating from English to French, German, or Spanish, text can be up to 20 percent longer. On the other hand, character-based language, such as Chinese or Japanese, may take up about 15 percent longer. This means that you will want to maintain a text/white space balance, so that you won't have an abundance or shortage of empty space when translating. So, if you are translating your eLearning course into French, and you find that you just don't have enough room on the screen to fit the text, then you'll have to devote precious resources to reformatting.
  3. Decide whether to use subtitles or voice overs.
    One of the most important decisions you'll have to make during the eLearning course translation process is whether you'll go with subtitles or voice overs. While subtitles may be more cost efficient, voice overs may be more effective. Ultimately, the needs of your international learners, your instructional design approach, and, clearly, your budget will be the deciding factors.
  4. Enlist the aid of a subject matter expert when narrating translated text.
    If you are planning on narrating your text in the local language, you may want to ask your subject matter experts for help. They can give you an idea of how to pronounce problematic words, as well as pointers on which subject matter highlights you can exclude or add. For example, if you are designing a compliance online training course for an Italian company, they will probably have different rules and regulations than their English branch.
  5. Acronyms and jargon: when in doubt, ask!
    There are going to be instances wherein you may be in doubt as to whether the text you are working with is going to translate well. Whenever you are in doubt, ask the client, a translator, or the subject matter expert. For example, if you are dealing with an eLearning course that includes acronyms or technical jargon, these terms may be completely different in the local language. As such, you will need to replace them with the appropriate terms in order to make them understandable and relatable to your audience. If at all possible, speak with a local who is well versed on the topic to get a sense of what terms may commonly be used; there are some terms that may be in the dictionary or Google Translate, but they may not be the most popular or widely used.
  6. Keep the text on the page and out of graphics.
    If you are using images in your eLearning course, be sure to keep text out of them and strictly on the screen. This will save time and resources down the line, thanks to the fact that you won't have to add the translated text to the image itself and re-upload it into the system all over again when localizing. Also, be careful about cultural references when choosing your free stock images. For instance, while a handshake may be perfectly acceptable in most parts of the world, there are some regions that may opt for other forms of professional greetings. Last but not least, try to avoid using images that include region-specific items, such as street signs or money, as these simply will not be relatable to your new audience.
  7. Choose the right font.
    It's best to use a universal font that can easily be converted to the local language. For example, if you use Arial, or another type of Unicode font, the text will show up correctly when translating it to languages that don't use the Latin Alphabet, such as Chinese or Russian. Also, avoid using elegant fonts or those that may be too distracting for the learner, as this will take away from the overall eLearning experience.
  8. Timing transitions is essential.
    This is a golden rule if you have audio or video included in your eLearning course. You need to time the translated text, whether you use subtitles or voice overs, to sync up with the multimedia that you have chosen. To do this, you may want to create a script that includes transitions, so that you can identify timestamps for the translated audio. You can also create a detailed outline that maps out every screen of the eLearning course, as well as its current display time, so that you can figure out how much text you can fit into the page without going over the allotted time. Last, but not least, pay attention to line breaks and figure out where you will need to cut the words by speaking with a translator or a subject matter expert.

Follow the above eLearning translation tips and you will be able to successfully localize your eLearning course in order to offer your global audience an effective and engaging eLearning experience.

Want to learn more about the advantages of eLearning localization? Read the article eLearning Localization Benefits and Tips, which highlights the most significant benefits you can expect to receive by localizing your eLearning course.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Top 7 Tips For Effective eLearning Course Subtitling

Effective eLearning Course Subtitling Tips For eLearning Professionals

Hard of hearing learners and those who may be learning English as their second language are just some of the learners who will benefit from eLearning course subtitling. By adding subtitles to your eLearning deliverable, you have the power to make it more informative and engaging for all of your learners, such as those who want to view it on a mobile device or may need text to boost their knowledge absorption. Adding subtitles can even help you localize your eLearning course, so that you can branch out to international markets. Here are a variety of tips for effective eLearning course subtitling.

  1. It's all about placement.
    As the saying goes- there's a place for everything and everything in it's place. This rule also applies to eLearning subtitles. The general rule stipulates that subtitles should be placed low on the screen and centered, so that the learners can read along with the text, but at the same time they don’t distract those who aren't fond of subtitles. Also, you should not place the text too close to the edge or bottom of the screen, as it may get cut off, depending upon the resolution, screen size, etc.
  2. Keep it short and legible.
    It may be tempting to get creative when it comes to the placement of your subtitles on the screen. You may even get the urge to use fonts that are elegant and innovative, believing that it will enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your eLearning course. However, it usually does the exact opposite. Try to keep your subtitling as legible as possible, so that the learners can actually benefit from them. Use a large font, preferably one from the sans-serif font family, and keep it two lines of text or less. Ideally, you'll want to include as little subtitle text as possible, to avoid overloading your learners. They can only read and digest small bits at a time, so keep that in mind when you're creating your eLearning course subtitles. If needed, you can up it to 3 lines. However, if you do this, try to keep it on the screen for a longer span of time.
  3. Add labels to avoid confusion.
    If you are dealing with multiple characters or narrators, then you may want to consider adding labels to your subtitles in order to help the learners differentiate between them. Also, if the narrator is not on screen, as is the case in most eLearning courses, then you may want to place a label on the first screen of subtitling, just to make things clear for your learners.
  4. Minor rewrites may be necessary.
    If you are localizing your eLearning course and you are including translated subtitles, remember that the text may take up more room than the English version. For example, a Spanish translation may be about 20% longer than the original English one. In this case, you'll probably need to either speed up the text, which may take away from the effectiveness of the eLearning course, or rewrite the text slightly, so that you can make room. For this, you may want to enlist the aid of the subject matter expert, who can let you know what absolutely needs to stay in and what can be omitted.
  5. Slow and steady wins the race.
    When it comes to eLearning course subtitling, it's all about achieving a balance between slow and steady. You'll want to go slow enough, so that your learners can actually read them without having to rush, but also keep it at a constant flow, so that they don't get bored with the subject matter. If you find that you have to rush your subtitles to keep up with the text or visuals, then you may want to think about cycling the screens more slowly in order to show the subtitles at a more digestible pace.
  6. Contrast is key.
    Try to make your font white, and place it on a dark, solid color background if at all possible. Ideally, you'll want to place the text in a box rather than placing it directly over the content, just in case you have a screen or two that may blend with the color of the text. However, there is a caveat to this- don't make the box so obtrusive that it draws attention away from the subject matter. Only leave a narrow margin between the text and the edge of the box, so that you get contrast without the captions becoming a hindrance.
  7. Always give it a test run.
    Ultimately, you'll want to test the eLearning course as you go along, to ensure that the subtitles are running in sync with the text and the other elements. Make a point to stop every two or three screens to see how everything is flowing, and then at the end of the subtitling process review and proofread the entire eLearning course at least once to make sure that everything matches up. You wouldn't want to launch the eLearning course only to discover that the video or visuals are completely out of sync with the subtitles you just spent hours creating.

Subtitling can be a powerful tool when used effectively. Keep these tips for effective eLearning course subtitling in order to integrate captions that help, rather than hinder, the overall eLearning experience.

In addition, adding closed captioning to your eLearning course may be a good investment of both time and resources, but it also enables you to bring all of the benefits your eLearning courses offer to the deaf and/or hard of hearing learners. In the article 6 Tips For Closed Captioning eLearning Courses you will find how to add closed captioning to your eLearning courses.

Last but not least, subtitling is one of the most effective and cost efficient ways to localize your eLearning. The article eLearning Localization Benefits and Tips highlights the benefits of eLearning localization and offers tips to make the eLearning localization process less stressful, more effective, and more profitable.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Top 5 eLearning Translation Mistakes You Should Avoid

eLearning Translation Mistakes To Avoid

eLearning translation can prove to be challenging, even if you have a vast amount of eLearning experience under your proverbial belt. The process can be less stressful and more successful if you steer clear of a few key mistakes. Here are a few of the most common eLearning Translation mistakes, as well as tips on how to avoid making them when designing your localized eLearning course.

  1. Using images and graphics that aren't translation-friendly.
    Opting for images, navigation icons, or graphics that contain embedded text which cannot be translated or items that aren't relatable will make your learner disengage from their learning experience. They simply won't be able to understand or connect with the content, which will take away from the true value of your eLearning course. When choosing images for your eLearning course (even if you aren't planning on localizing it for some time), try to select ones that are free of culture or country-specific images. In fact, it's often wise to go with images and graphics that are more globally recognized and accepted, such as an envelope to represent an email contact link. Also, if at all possible, avoid using images that contain signs or gestures that are typically only found in a particular country or culture. For example, a graphic with a stop sign may be recognized by those within the U.S., but not by certain international audiences.
  2. Diving into translating without putting in some research time.
    One of the biggest eLearning translation mistakes is to dive in head first without first researching the subject matter, audience, and company needs. If you want to offer your learning audience the opportunity to achieve their performance goals and learning objectives, then you need to know what those goals and objectives are and how your content can best serve them. Before you begin the translation process, learn as much as possible about client expectations, the educational and cultural background of your learners, and what they need to take away from the experience. Are there words or images that may not be appropriate? Are there specific photos that need to be included in order to make their version of the eLearning course more realistic and relatable? Conduct a survey, interview, or focus group beforehand, or speak with the department heads, to get an idea of what should (or should not) be included when translating your eLearning course.
  3. Using slang or culturally-specific jargon.
    There are words or phrases that may be widely used in some countries, but would be completely misconstrued in others. For example, some phrases we use simply would not translate well, and would only serve to confuse the learner rather than add value to your course. As such, to avoid these eLearning translation mistakes, be sure to leave out slang or culturally-specific jargon that may eventually hinder the overall learning experience of your international learners. In fact, when you're writing your original eLearning course content, you may want to keep this “rule” in mind and omit any of these items in the first place. It's often best to keep your content concise, clear, and relevant. Don't be too verbose, and avoid using technical jargon (unless absolutely necessary). Also, steer clear of acronyms that may not translate well. If you need to include the name of an organization that goes by an acronym, speak with a subject matter expert or translator to see how you would go about translating it into the target language, or just spell out the name of the organization.
  4. Not having a translated script for audio/video elements.
    Undoubtedly, you've spent a fair amount of time developing the audio/visual elements of your eLearning course. Therefore, you'll want to spend a good deal of time now ensuring that they are properly translated in order to give your learners the best possible learning experience. This will often involve a detailed script with time markers, deciding whether you want to do a translated eLearning narration or captions, and finding the perfect narrator to reflect the tone of your course, if opting for an eLearning Course Voiceover. Also, make sure that your audio and video components are free of those culturally-specific images and graphics I mentioned earlier.
  5. Not leaving enough space for the translated text.
    While the quality of translating your eLearning course is of the utmost importance, it won't make much of a difference if it won't fit into your existing eLearning course template or layout. Some languages will take up more space on the screen, which means that you'll have to leave ample room for expanding text. Then there are others that become condensed when translating eLearning courses, meaning that you may be left with an abundance of white space. As such, you'll want to choose a layout that is flexible and can accommodate for a wide range of language texts. Also, go with a font that can be used in a variety of markets, rather than one that is customized and may lead to confusing or jumbled content when it's translated.

Avoiding these eLearning translation mistakes can help you to create learning experiences that are always relevant, relatable, and effective for your users, even if they happen to be a world away (both geographically and culturally) from your original learning audience.

Want to learn more about the eLearning localization benefits of translating eLearning courses? In the article eLearning Localization Benefits and Tips, you will find 4 benefits of eLearning localization, as well as tips you can use to successfully localize your eLearning courses for international audiences.

Last but not least, are you an e-Learning professional concerned about the best way to have your program reach non-English speakers? You are more than welcome to check the article 7 Sure Fire Translation Tips for e-Learning.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.