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August 1, 2019 |

How Do You Overcome These 4 e-Learning Course Translation Challenges? 

e-Learning course translation doesn’t lack challenges, especially when you’re dealing with a high volume of work and fast turnarounds. Luckily, there’s nothing you can’t overcome with some proper organization and the right team of skilled translators.

Best practices can help you guide your translators and streamline your workflows for increased efficiency. Here are some of the most common e-Learning course translation challenges and how to overcome them.  

1. Translators Miss the Meaning Behind the Content

e-Learning course translation is a broad niche–almost 77% of US corporations use online learning to train staff. All this much diversity makes it hard for language service providers to find the right linguists to work with. 

Depending on your client’s industry and the type of courses to translate, you may need to find a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to help you with your project. 

The trick is that SMEs rarely have the abilities necessary for accurate translation and localization. But, a team of skilled translators who don’t understand the nuances of technical topics is equally likely to deliver poorly translated courses. 

Errors in e-learning course translation can cause misunderstandings. End users don’t get the right message from the translated e-learning course, and your clients don’t reach their objectives. Moreover, translation fails can even put your clients in a sensitive position if they deliver different products to international audiences. 

It’s a scenario you can easily avoid if you test your team before assigning the e-learning course translation project.

Select a sample of the course and see how the translation process goes. Are there any issues that your regular translators can’t handle? Does the content include too many technical terms? These sort of challenges slow down a translation project, so make sure you find the right people for the job before setting terms and deadlines with your client. 

2. The e-Learning Course Translation Lacks Consistency

When you translate vast amounts of content and work with multiple translators, consistency is hard to keep. The more target languages involved, the higher the chances that your translations won’t feel like versions of the same course, but different pieces of content entirely. 

That can quickly become a problem for clients that need to provide the same quality across multiple markets.  

The secret for overcoming the consistency challenge is a top-notch Translation Memory (TM). Organize an exhaustive glossary of terms, integrate it into your TM, and your translators will know how to translate each phrase correctly. 

Without a user-friendly translation memory, you keep your translators in the dark and force them to rely exclusively on dictionaries. Since every translator uses different resources, you may end up with having the same term translated differently along the course. Situations like this one create confusion and lead to poor learning experiences for end-users.  

3. Spacing Issues Slow Down the Translation Process

Text size in translation can become a real challenge when you have limited space available, mainly when you translate into European languages like Italian or German. As e-Learning courses often follow specific templates, it’s hard to make your translations fit in.

So, make sure you can access to the course’s template to see how you can adapt your sentences and paragraphs. Also, working with smart e-Learning tools and CAT tools can help you to overcome the spacing issues in the blink of an eye. 

The issue is a little more complicated for audio files. Most languages have more words per sentence than English, so it’s hard to stay within the time frames. In this case, the ideal solution is to work with your client and come up with a flexible course that leaves room for timing variations. 

When this isn’t possible, try to stay concise so that subtitles or voiceovers are correlated with the right visuals and don’t create confusion. The trick is to work with a native language speaker when synchronizing audio and video for translated versions of the e-course. This way, you make sure no delays can distract users from the content and slow down the learning process.   

4. Reworks Add too Many Working Hours

Reworks are a translator’s worst nightmare. Luckily, most of them can be avoided if you follow some simple e-learning course translation best practices. 

Most of the time, reworks are necessary because of miscommunication between you and your client. First and foremost, you need to make sure you have the updated version of the content to translate. If by mistake you’re given an older variant of the e-course, your translators will have to redo the translation. That’s plenty of extra hours to bill, which leads to a poor customer experience.  

Furthermore, a cost-effective way of eliminating reworks is asking your client for reviews after completing any new step of the project. This way, you can solve errors as they appear, instead of carrying them with your along the translation process.  

Another sensitive part of e-learning course translation that adds reworks involves voiceovers. Clients that don’t participate in choosing voiceovers may not like the final version and ask for changes. Think about the costs of doing a second audio recording! 

To avoid that, you should ask for multiple voice samples and select the best options together with your client. If you get approval before audio recording, you’re less likely to have to repeat this phase of the process. 

Another smart trick to consider here is some accurate instructions for the actors who do the voiceovers. Explain to them how you want the job done, discuss any pronunciation issues, or whether they need to keep a specific tone while recording. 

Final Thoughts on e-Learning Course Translation Challenges

e-Learning translation challenges like the ones above can keep you from delivering a high-quality service to your clients. You need to review your processes and invest the time upfront to see better results. You should also guide your linguists and translators and encourage them to follow best practices. 

Meticulous organization and an understanding of the specific demands of the e-learning course translation process can significantly change the outcome. You’ll be more prepared for the unknowns along the way. This way, you’ll make the translation process easier for both your staff and your clients.

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