This is the second part of Kevin Watson’s piece on translation for E-learning. Pretty good job, hope you find it useful. -Translation Guy
It takes a special kind of translation team to wrangle an e-training translation job. Last time, we talked about the linguistic care our word wranglers took to make sure all the translations came out all snuffy. Now we will look at the bottom of the stall at the technology behind our translations talent.
Another technique to make translation easier is to use a software or web-based template with a design common to every language. This helps users identify with an organization or brand.
The template should also be flexible. For example, different regions may require custom graphics. They may also have local formats for dates, currencies and addresses.
Even font type and size can give problems when translating text. A small font may become unreadable in another language. And the font may not cope with foreign characters. Using a Unicode font and auto resizing can help.
In the same vein, the server on which you store e-learning content must be suitable for multilingual sites. The server must recognize and accept the different characters for various languages.
As for web-based e-learning, the site should have a simple navigation system. Whatever their native language, users should be able to work their way through an e-learning site with ease.
You also need to update and maintain an e-learning program. The best way to manage this is with version control. A Learning Content Management System (LCMS) has version control, and lets you write, manage and publish training materials. Various LCMS systems are available. Choose one with regional options and appropriate support.
A further issue is the speed of Internet connections. These differ around the world.
When a web-based e-learning program has multimedia applications such as videos, audio and graphics, slow Internet speeds can’t cope. The result is poor response times. And when users are waiting for screens to change, their attention wanders. The design of an e-learning program should therefore match the average connection speed of the users.
To achieve this, you may have to choose simplicity. You should cut back on multimedia apps, avoid lots of individual files, and use plain text or XML in preference to complex file formats.
A straightforward approach also has other bonuses: It makes translation, updates and version control easier.
Simplicity is an issue with voiceovers as well. If you’re dubbing a foreign language, you’ve got to keep on-camera speaking in mind. Dub for a lip-sync, or lay a translated track over the original, your multilingual production team can provide details on all the options available.
Subtitling and captions are about a third of the price per minute for audio, and are easy to do. Downside is that a lot of viewers find them distracting and hard to follow.
Adding multiple languages to e-learning apps is complex, and so is managing language quality. Best practice starts with centralized management for quality and cost control. Glossaries, translation memories and style guides are used to keep everyone’s translation on track. Balance and validation can complicate the language process even further. Of course, the input of local managers and their support remains the key to understanding.
1-800-Translate language management programs always share four key objectives:
1. Improve translation quality, consistency and impact.
2. Assure translations conforms to style guide, glossary and pedagogical goals.
3. Lower costs through increased use of translation memory.
4. Improve language quality and consistency of all suppliers.
Before long, you’ll have cost-effective training. And all users, whatever their language, will benefit from it.
Questions? Get in touch with me. Thanks, Ken