My experience working with our L&D clients is that they’re all united by one goal: to improve learner engagement and positive learner outcomes.
Whilst great artists might have years to work on their masterpieces, L&D teams do not. You’re under pressure to not only create engaging learning programmes, but translate and deliver it internationally, all whilst keeping to a tight schedule and budget.
There are a few common obstacles we’ve seen over the years that, if addressed, can improve quality and speed when it comes to multilingual content.
Use professional translators
While many L&D teams have access to bilingual colleagues who can help with translations, this is not necessarily the most time- and cost-effective way of going about it.
Inexperienced translators, colleagues that don’t use these skills day-in-day-out, are always going to be slower than someone who translates content for a living. It takes practice to get up to speed and be able to translate 300 words per hour, the average for a professional translator.
On top of this, in-house translators may also have other things to do during their working day, so might not be able to prioritise the translation of your L&D content, in the same way a professional will.
Quality issues can also slow down the process. If your review team are not happy with the quality of the translations produced by your bilingual colleagues, they may request several revisions and this takes more valuable time.
A translation partner can help with all of the above issues. With the right partner you can produce quality learning and training translation in a time- and cost-effective way. That said you need to find the right partner. We have some tips for outsourcing translations in this blog.
Your translation partner will be a seasoned professional, not only in translation and localisation of L&D content, but operating between you and your local market. As the bilingual party, they can make sure your source content is ‘global-ready’ and help manage the needs of both teams.
Assign a review A-Team
Any project that requires input, feedback and approval from several people or teams can become slow as the content is passed back and forth between them. Of course, key stakeholders must have an opportunity to review and sign off multilingual learning and training content, but it’s best to limit the number of people involved if possible.
One way you can speed the translation process up is by centralising your translation team; i.e. by working with one translation provider across all markets. They will manage the translators and desktop publishers for you and can liaise directly with your local market review team too. This reduces the number of people handling your content, speeding up the process.
Many of the L&D teams we work with need to launch programmes simultaneously in multiple markets. This can be very hard to do when translations are handled by lots of different parties, leading to delayed programmes. Centralising your translations can provide a solution to this challenge too.
Take time to understand local market review team needs
There are several reasons why local market review teams – your local market colleagues who approve the translated programme – can be slow to sign off content.
It might be because they’re not happy with the quality, or sometimes the holdup can be because your review team isn’t happy with the programme content. This can happen if they weren’t given the opportunity to review the source content and provide feedback. Some styles of training that are highly effective here in the UK simply don’t engage learners in other markets.
When dealing with negative feedback on the quality of the translations, it is important to ask your local market colleagues to provide specific examples to share with your translation partner. The issues can be related to style or terminology. This may be due to a mismatch in the translation team who do not have the specific relevant experience for the content. You can find out more about key actions to take to ensure higher quality translations in our blog.
Another issue can be their available time. Make sure your reviewers can give the translation project the time it needs and keep to your deadlines. If you engage them early in the process, they’ll be able to prioritise their time accordingly.
Finally, if no guidelines are provided for reviewers, the process can become very slow. That’s because without guidelines each reviewer makes their own judgment on whether a translation is correct, and that can lead to multiple revisions. By agreeing on review guidelines with your local market colleagues and translation team first, the process becomes much quicker.
For large complex programmes, or for ongoing projects, technology like translation memory software can make a significant difference and also reduce costs. This technology stores approved translations of terminology, common phrases and regularly repeated sentences and paragraphs. If you have a large volume of content to translate or various different projects, it can reduce the amount of content that has to be translated from scratch. This will be used by your translation partner as part of the process. Working with them to define a process for keeping the translation memory up to date with the latest feedback will be key to ensure the effective use of the tool.
Any questions? If you would like to discuss any of the subjects raised in this blog post, please get in touch. Call +44 (0)1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to download our free guide if you haven’t already! It provides advice and insights into how you can save time, reduce costs and internal workloads without compromising on the effectiveness of your multilingual learning and training programmes. Click here for your copy.