Benjamin Franklin once said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest” and nowadays multinational companies vouch for this. Ever since the industrial revolution took place, a myriad of institutions came to recognize the importance of providing high quality education to their employees, yet it remained quite difficult to disseminate this knowledge across borders. Now with the unprecedented advancement in digitization, e-Learning or electronic learning came out to facilitate this educational process, especially for the giant organizations that expand their arms all across the globe.
These corporations, consequently, developed an additional need for e-Learning translation services so as to spread the knowledge among their staff beyond boundaries. Nonetheless, forming multiple versions of the same learning materials in different languages is, in fact, very critical and challenging. Errors might happen all along and result in insufficient translation, which means investing unnecessary time, money, and effort. Even if the translation is flawless, the need for frequent updating and constant amendments remain a challenging process.
In this article, we try to assess the e-Learning translation errors, while highlighting ways of overcoming them.
Translation Errors Ruin the e-Learning. Watch Out!
Localizing training and course materials is prone to multiple pitfalls. It is very likely that e-Learning translation, in particular, falls short of conveying the same original meaning in a different language due to the countless errors that might happen ahead, during, or after the translation process.
Combining the scattered efforts of many inexperienced translators, for instance, might generate an inconsistent translation. Trainees struggle to grasp a compiled text of small bits and pieces instead of coherent and precise materials. This includes the communication of vague terms, long and complex sentences, irrelevant visuals or colors within the course syllabus.
Moreover, translators might be unaware of the possibility that translation into a particular language would necessitate the usage of larger word count or longer phrases. This, in turn, brings about a spacing issue in writing templates or considerable inconveniences in audio and video files that feature voiceover or subtitling.
Inadequate or poor communication between clients and translators, in the first place, distract translators in most of the cases. The unavailability of enough information on the course objective and audience, for example, might undesirably lead to lots of rework and thus doubled efforts and costs.
Distance education barriers further extend to the incorporation of embedded content, unreachable text strings, hard-to-translate multimedia elements, and so forth. Also, the provision of interactive content needs to be taken care of as it might cause reverse implications if not translated properly. Some examples of this are redundant and unnecessary clicks, uncontrollable interactions, and overused visual elements, just to name a few.
In short, e-Learning translation errors range broadly from tiny grammatical and structure misuses to the incorrect interpretation of the hard-to-localize elements and the usage of inaccurate terms.
Ensuring Error-free Translation is a Must. Take the Right Path!
Bearing the aforementioned fatal faux-pas in mind, here are some general tips to prevent any potential errors and help translators reproduce a flawless copy of e-Learning materials in a professional and easy manner:
Design your Original Text for Translation
Be aware that your e-Learning course is likely to be localized, and thus develop a translation-friendly content that is free of any sophisticated language structures or culture-specific idioms and terms. Short sentences comprising clear expressions are much easier to translate, especially when it comes to distance education.
Avoid Hard-to-localize Content
For a less tedious process and better results, try as much as you can to stay away from the embedded content and unnecessary visuals that include texts. Devote meticulous attention to the colors and designs you use as they might be misinterpreted in other cultures. This also includes unreachable text strings.
Leave Enough Room for Translation
Generally speaking, the allocation of larger spaces for the languages in which translation might extend is a perfect technique. Same goes with the design of an interactive and multimedia content that leaves room for change when localization takes place.
Use a Neutral Tone
Make sure to keep a neutral style in your teaching materials and avoid using examples that are related to a specific culture.
The Optimum Translation Process. Follow the Best Practices!
Apart from the repeated errors, there are three practices you can apply to maximize the benefit of your e-Learning courses and take it to a higher level.
Keep Translators in the Loop
To make the most out of e-Learning translation, translators should be granted access to all the available resources and references, including previous materials and the company’s history. It is also equally important to share with them the objective of the course and the nature of the target audience, along with all they need to know to come up with a comprehensive translation.
Make Use of Available Assistive Tools
Many reliable tools can help out during the process of e-Learning translation. This begins with the newly developed e-Learning rapid authoring tools that aid in designing attractive e-Learning formats and ease the import and export of texts and materials.
Assistive tools also include glossaries and translation memory tools that develop over time and help translators in a significant way. For the ease of reformatting the text after localization, developing Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to describe the text attributes would also be of a great help.
Test Course Materials
Conducting an initial testing on a smaller scale is a proven tactic to produce higher quality copies of distance learning translation. Before getting them published, test your translations on a sample of employees to validate the efficiency of the localized content.
Cherry-pick the Translation Service Provider
In conclusion, the careful selection of a reliable language service provider (LSP) takes a heavy weight off your company’s shoulders. The following are some steps you should take to ensure you are opting for the right translation firm:
- Ask Around! Reach out for the company’s clients and share your inquiries and concerns.
- Request a Sample! Ask the company to send you a sample of their translation in your particular field.
- Check their Tools and Resources! Get a full grasp of the company’s translation methodologies and the tools it makes use of.
- Look for native speakers with subject matter expertise! Have a look at the translators profile to rest assured they will be able to do the job properly.
- Get Involved in the Process! Engage yourself with the translation team and ask for frequent updates on the entire process.
Heading to Africa for this! We have got your back!
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, AfroLingo is a proficient translation agency that offers deliberate e-Learning translation services into various African languages. Our team consists of vetaran linguists and experienced translators and follows the globally approved standards and specs. Get a free quote now!