While e-learning has been rising in popularity for years thanks to how accessible, engaging, and cost-effective it is, it’s not a surprise that in recent years interest in e-learning has skyrocketed. Especially as a resource for companies looking to train their global workforce. Speaking of a global workforce—having an online course that is suitable for learners that speak different languages requires the localization of several elements within the course so that the whole learning experience is a smooth one.
These are some of the elements worth keeping in mind.
Mouse cursor movement captures
Most e-learning programs contain an instructional nature that include cursor movements. These movements may point to actions that the narrator is explaining. They play an important role and need to be taken into account during the localization process. This may seem odd since these are cursor movements not text, but the cursor movements need to properly time up with the accompanying narration and the timing may be off once the narration is localized into a new language.
Content and narrative translation and formatting
E-learning content includes on-screen text that has to be localized when you want the content to appear in a new target language. When you localize text, it often changes drastically in length which can require formatting changes to make the design of the program flow as intended. Similar to the cursor movement captures we discussed earlier, you also need to make sure the timing of audio content is lining up with any written content in the e-learning materials—as well as any subtitles. The timing of slides can also be impacted by the length of audio and visual text.
Subtitles and voice-over recordings
How large a budget for a localization project is will determine whether or not you need to localize voice-over recording and subtitles or just subtitles—which is a more cost-effective option as you don’t have to hire a narrator and record new audio. That being said, this extra step does greatly enhance the quality of the end product and creates a better user experience for the person engaging with the e-learning product.
On-screen graphics in e-learning courses and training materials can contain text. If the text is embedded into the graphic, that text will need to be translated in an external file and then the original graphic can be localized into the target language with the help of a graphic designer or DTP specialist.
Navigation and action buttons
Because e-learning content often incorporates navigational and action-related buttons that contain text (such as “next” or “submit”), these buttons require localization. If you fail to localize this important type of content, the user can end up confused and frustrated and not able to proceed with their learning opportunity. Authoring tools usually allow the creators to set up the UI language. By selecting the desired language, you can have localized buttons. However, it’s important to remember to do so. If the tool doesn’t allow it, then you can include this in the content that needs to be localized. There can be cases in which the instructional designer creates their own buttons. Depending on how these buttons are created, they may require separate localization as well.
It’s advisable to work with a localization partner who has experience with e-learning content and that has the capacity to work on each of these elements (since they require different professionals such as localization project managers, translators, DTP specialists, voice-over actors, and subtitlers). If they can provide a comprehensive solution, the end result has a high chance of being pretty seamless.