How to get the best from your L&D translation partner

With your new translation partner now on board, here comes the fun part, translating your L&D content so it works for your global audience. We’ve been supporting both in-house learning teams, as well as Elearning agencies, in translating and localising their programmes for decades. Whilst no two projects are the same, there are some processes you can follow to get the most out of your translation partner.

Kick-off: Getting off to the best start

Great translations are built on strong foundations. Spending time upfront and setting a project up well will pay dividends in the future. In doing so, people will be clear on requirements, expectations and deadlines. This is also a critical stage as it sets the tone as to the relationship you will have going forward. Honesty and openness will help to build trust with your partner.

Our most successful projects have all included the following elements, so we’d consider these a great place to start:

Kick off meeting with all stakeholders, including your translation partner and any other agencies or suppliers involved

This helps to make sure everyone is on the same page and roles and responsibilities are clear. Meetings like this also help to build relationships between all the various people which will help as the project develops.

Develop a style guide – your translation partner can help

A style guide helps to provide consistency across all the translations and so becomes a key reference point for the translation team. If you don’t have one, then a good translation partner can help you develop it. Once you have it, it can be used in all future translation projects so it is worth getting right at the start.

Set up local review teams and brief them fully on their role, expectations and timelines

Individuals or teams of people in the various regions are a key part of the process. They’ll be checking translations, providing feedback and potentially helping the roll-out in their area, so it’s key that they’re fully briefed and understand their critical role.

Agree project timelines leaving enough time for review, feedback and changes

To ensure high quality translations, there is a great deal of checking involved and so understanding and planning for timelines is important. A good translation partner will always aim to meet your timeline requirements but the more certain deadlines are, the more confident they can be in achieving them.

Assign a single point of contact

Having a single point of contact within the customer side of the project, particular for the translation partner, will help to ensure that decisions can be taken quickly. It also means any issues or problems can be identified and solved early on.

Middle: Process Management and Feedback

Now you’re in the heart of the project. This is where things can unravel and problems like back and forth reviews can add time (and costs) onto your project. With the help of your translation partner, you’ll be balancing feedback and reviews on your translation and moving between editing, design and delivery. Here are our tips to streamline the process.

Ensure all assets are editable

Images, audio, videos, presentations etc. all need to be edited by the translation team. If they aren’t editable, they may need to be recreated, which has cost implications. This also applies to JPEGs or screenshots as these will need to be recreated from scratch, so these are best avoided.

Optimise your source material

There are several considerations to keep in mind when creating your original material:

  • Leaving enough space for longer translated words
  • Avoiding puns or humour
  • Being mindful of case studies and examples and how well they will be understood in different cultures.

A good translation partner will be able to resolve all of these for you, but keeping them to a minimum will help. Ask your local review teams to review the source material prior to it being translated. It is much easier to edit one original version rather than several translated versions.

Always get local feedback

Input from your local reviewers will not only make sure that the translated material will land as you intended, it helps to build buy-in engagement in the process from your local teams. This is useful when it comes to roll-out of training and any future translation projects. A well-managed local review process can help to lay the foundations for more successful and faster future translation projects.

Share feedback with your translation partner

By sharing feedback, your partner will gain a deeper understanding of your requirements. This will result in better translations, which means you’ll spend less time reviewing them in future projects.

The finish line: Evaluation and Quality

The method you use to evaluate performance will depend on your original criteria. Many of our clients assess our performance by the quality of the end result. For example, ensuring the translated training material has no errors or issues. They also look at the accuracy of the original quote against the final price and finally, how it felt to do business with us. Did we make their lives easier? Did we remove the burden of the translation process allowing them to focus on their core work?

If you want more information on measurement and ROI of translations, then see our detailed guide here.

Translation projects can be complicated, but finding a good partner can make that process much easier. Hopefully, this blog has eased some of your apprehensions. You should also feel more confident in what to expect and how to get the best from the partner you appoint.

If you want to learn more about working with a translation partner for L&D projects, take a look at this guide and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.

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