To maximize your collaboration with a language service provider (LSP), it is helpful to consider a few elements early in the process. Making sure your source material is in the most useable form for localization will facilitate our work and ensure the best possible training experience for your global end-users.
Over many years of working with hundreds of companies to develop localized eLearning material, we’ve discovered some ways to make the process go more smoothly. Here are some tips for increasing efficiency—and saving time and money:
- Versions of the files used in the final source products should be made available for localization. Often, technologies used for eLearning products have two versions of the source—both editable and noneditable (published) versions. If the editable version is not available, then either the localized version needs to be created from scratch following translation or, in the case of multiple languages, rebuilt before the translation is begun.
- When designing eLearning content, be sure to allow space for possible text expansion. Depending on the language, the length of the localized text can increase by as much as 50 percent. If the layout of your source content leaves room for expansion, you won’t be faced with space challenges in the localized versions, which can result in development delays.
- Sharing process information, such as screenshot scripts and asset maps, from the source creation phase can be very useful to the localization effort. This helps reduce the process design time and minimizes the issues encountered during engineering.
- Consolidate repeated items in a single place. Often in eLearning content, certain elements will be repeated on each page (for example, the “Next” and “Back” buttons). Assemble these repeated elements in a common repository or page template so they only need to be replaced once during the localization process. If these elements are integrated into each page, then each equivalent localized version must be similarly integrated, which increases the development time.
- Lastly, consider upfront which culturally relevant items will need to be changed in each version of the training. If an eLearning product has content that is not culturally neutral, that content needs to be replaced or re-written for each localized version. For example, using images of currency from the United States would need to be changed to comparable images suitable for each country. Being aware of this during the design phase will help eliminate time-consuming revisions later.