Thursday, 12 February 2015

E-Learning Content Localization is the Best Way to Reach non-English Learners

Since the last decade, the popularity of e-learning has been growing across the corporate sector, touching all industries and audiences alike. With the investments directed towards e-learning, companies are also reaping positive ROI in terms of reaching out to their global employees and ensuring same standards of learning across the organization. However, there are some considerations that must be taken into account when creating e-learning content for a global audience and the biggest consideration is that of e-learning content localization.

E-learning content localization is the process of creating content keeping in mind the different local and cultural preferences of the intended audience. It may include Translation of written or spoken text. But it is not just that. E-learning content localization is much more than just changing the language so that the learners can read up the e-course. In addition to the change in language, e-learning content localization includes suitable changes in graphics, iconography, font, use of color, tone and so on.

Here are some tips for effective e-learning content localization:

  • For effective localization it is important to understand the learning behavior, preferences and needs of the target audience. While the diverse audience may have many different preferences, there has to be a common learning objective. This needs to be identified before the course development in the source language.
  • Cultural biases towards icons, figures or colors needs to be kept in mind. Local experts can attend to language translations and bring in the right cultural flavor to the text. This makes sure that the e-content is as per the cultural preferences of the audience. 
  • When e-course is developed, e-learning content localization experts should make sure that the text is concise and crisp. It is important to avoid alliterations and descriptive passages that will confuse the local translators. The use of slang or jargon should also be avoided to make the content free of culture-specific references.
  • Audio accompaniment is often an integral part of most e-learning courses. The localized audio should be in sync with the accompanying text, graphics or animations. If using human-voice for voice-overs, choose a suitable mix of gender and ethnicity keeping the target audience in mind. Here too, choosing local voice-over artistes is the best option to bring in the right cultural flavor in the audio.
  • Remember that cultural bias towards graphics and icons are the strongest. It is a good idea to create graphics with common tools like Photoshop, which allow ‘layering’ that keeps imbedded texts separate in source-files (.psd format). This allows changes to be made in the text, while the image can be left the same.
  • Many modern organizations which have a regular and continual need to localize their trainings often prefer to outsource the process of content creation as well as localization to an e-learning company which has all required services. Not only does it centralize the process, the training content is prepared keeping the needs of localization in mind.
E-learning content localization is a necessary process for most organizations that have global audiences. Instead of creating separate training content for different groups, e-learning content localization is the better option as it saves time and costs.

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