Top tips for managing e-learning localisation projects

E-learning has opened up numerous opportunities for companies and organisations to deliver training on a global scale. Whether you’re providing in-house training for employees in different regions, or selling an e-learning course to a company with international clients, your e-learning content should be fully localised for the target audience.

Why localise e-learning courseware?

Naturally, if you want your training and course information to be accessible for non-English native speakers, you will need to translate it into the appropriate language. This doesn’t just mean translation of words – full localisation will be required too. This means ensuring all courseware including text, videos, images, animations and graphics is culturally appropriate and relevant to your target audience.

This will allow you to deliver your e-learning courseware in a much more effective way, ensuring that users of your content are engaged with it, are comfortable using it and therefore retain knowledge and complete the course successfully.

So if you are about to embark on an e-learning translation and localisation project, what top tips can we share? Read on…

Five essential e-learning localisation tips

  • Review your e-learning content with a regional expert. Before commencing the translation process, commission a thorough review of your existing content to assess the cultural appropriateness for your target audience. Will your target audience identify with the images used in your courseware? Or are they obviously UK-centric and therefore might alienate users in other regions? Will you need voiceover or subtitling? Are there references in your content that might be misconstrued in your target region? Even the use of colour throughout your e-learning content can impact on its effectiveness in some parts of the world.
  • Select translators with relevant experience. It’s a constant theme in our blog that you should only use translators who work in their native language and who have relevant experience of the industry or sector for which your content is designed. This saves you time and money; if you use a non-expert translator it should be no surprise that translations take longer and require numerous amends.
  • Keep an eye on your word count. Whether you are using existing courseware for translation into another language or you’re developing a multilingual e-learning package, remember that many languages use a lot more words, or characters, than English. Often 30–50% more! Therefore, when translating e-learning content you will need to allow for this. This is particularly relevant if you require subtitles and captions that generally need to occupy a defined space.
  • Choose voiceover artists carefully. If you require voiceover services for your e-learning project, do your research. In some regions different dialects are spoken or, as in the UK, there are regional accents. Make sure your voiceover artist is chosen with this in mind.
  • Go the extra mile. If you want to build your reputation on a global scale and demonstrate that cultural diversity is a priority for your business, go the extra mile and focus on detail. Even when translating content for other English-speaking regions there are cultural and linguistic differences. My spellcheck keeps telling me that localisation is spelt with a “z”, but this is the US, not the UK, spelling. Similarly, why use an image with a £ sign, when the local currency is Aussie dollars?

If you’d like to find out more about localising e-learning courseware and our translation services, why not download our E-Learning Translation and Localisation Guide? Or if you would like to speak to one of our experts about your next e-learning project, please get in touch: or +44 (0) 1926 335 681.

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