Back in the days, most types of formal learning were confined to classrooms and lecture halls, meaning that only a select number of people who had the time to attend every day could achieve formal qualifications. Fast forward to today, and we’re living in an ever-more inclusive world, with opportunities for stay-at-home moms, people who can’t get out of the house so easily, and professionals who are stuck at the office every day to learn and fulfill their dreams. This wouldn’t be possible without the world of e-learning localization – 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 pie (especially as it’s increased the income of US companies by 40%!). 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, when you’re dealing with B2C, not everyone is going to be good enough in English to be able to understand the course content. Plus, people feel a lot more comfortable learning in their native language.
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
- 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 non-native speakers might have a hard time understanding. Then, make sure you know what you need to localize so you can send everything over to your translation provider in a timely manner.
E-learning localization challenges
There are a few points to keep in mind when dealing with e-learning localization so you don’t need to worry that your translation agency isn’t helping you to the fullest.
- 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.
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