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E-learning localization

The whys and the hows of E-learning localization

Back in the days, most types of formal training were confined to classrooms and lecture halls, meaning that only a select number of people attending could achieve that formal training and education. Fast forward to today, where information and proper training has to be accessible in to succeed in the global marketplace. This wouldn’t be possible without the world of e-learning – so let’s take a look at how e-learning can be made accessible to everyone on a global level.

E-learning localization and e-learning around the world

The global e-learning market is projected to be worth a whopping 325 billion dollars by 2025, which is no wonder why so many companies are looking to get a piece of the global e-learning. The thing is if you’ve got your sights on going global you’re going to need at least 12 languages to reach at least 50% of the world’s population – so that’s where e-learning localization is going to come in.

What is e-learning localization?

While you may think that everyone does business in English, not everyone is going to be good enough in English to be able to understand the course content. People feel a lot more comfortable learning in their native language and will be able to use that training more effectively as well

If you’re from the e-learning industry, you’re probably going to hear the word localization pop up from time to time. So, to explain what e-learning localization is – it’s adapting your content for a specific country/region and language. It’s a bit different from translation in the fact that it takes translation a bit further and focuses on more than just the language, which we’re going to cover right now!

What do you need to localize?

As we mentioned just now, more goes into localization than it does translation. So, here’s a list of things you’ll need to localize to fully adapt your e-learning content to its new market:

  • Written content
  • Graphics
  • UX elements (e.g. buttons, interfaces, etc.)
  • Audio and Video
  • Formatting (e.g. dates, currencies, etc.)

How to get started with e-learning localization

While localization may seem a little complicated, there are a number of ways to make everything easier! First of all, make sure that you plan your course content with localization in mind.

Make sure that you avoid slang and language that might not translate over well as it’s specific to only one country/region. If you don’t know ask US Translation who specializes in help organizations identify these potential issues. 

E-learning localization challenges

There are a few points to keep in mind when dealing with e-learning localization: 

  • Remember that not all languages are identical, so certain languages may have to be adapted more than others to ensure they fit in the user interface. 
  • Plus, if you have videos as part of your courses, if you can provide extra footage so that a longer voice-over has plenty of room, that would be a great help!
  • Don’t worry if certain languages look like there’s less text – Asian languages, for example, make the text appear as if it’s been shrunk when localized from English.

Graphics and visuals

Graphics and visuals play a big part in localization. You might be thinking why? Aren’t all graphics the same the world over? Well, not really. Some graphics that you might find completely innocent may be deemed culturally inappropriate in other cultures. Using colors as an example, red has negative connotations in the UK, whereas in China it’s seen as lucky. In the US, red and greed are traditionally seen as Christmas colors, whereas in Portugal they’re the color of the country’s flag and can be found everywhere, apart from on anything Christmassy!

Testing and other techy bits

If you can, make sure you can send your content in editable formats as that’ll help your e-learning localization partner. Plus, make sure you set time aside for testing once the localization has been completed as it will be important to make sure your new language versions works properly in your LMS. Or US Translation can help you do this.

Choosing the right partner

When it comes to e-learning localization, it’s important that you choose the right partner. Make sure you have someone who:

  • Works with a wide range of professional linguists so they can help you with a number of different languages
  • Has the technical abilities to deal with your file formats
  • Offers testing

And if you’d like some help taking your e-learning content to the next level, get in touch with our e-learning team and we’ll be happy to help!

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