• Sebastian Cron

eLearning Translation and Quality Management

eLearning translation presents its own unique set of quality management challenges. Following are some common challenges and how to address them.


Quality management for a typical translation project is relatively straightforward: The content is passed through translation memory to flag previously translated content and the remainder is sent to a translator who then translates it. The translation enters a review process with another native-speaking linguist who reviews the translation for accuracy and for cultural localization issues, offers edits and they are made. The quality-vetted translation is returned to the client.


eLearning translation represents a far more complex workflow


eLearning and Training projects can represent an entirely different level of complexity due to the large number of elements often included in a course or training session:

  • Adaptive learning systems

  • Microlearning

  • Audio/Video

  • Transcription of scripts

  • Recording of translated audio

  • Insertion of translated audio or subtitles

  • Blended Learning

  • Interactive Video and Audio

  • Interactive text with branching

  • Social Learning

  • Animations

  • Podcasts

  • Quizzes

  • Elements Designed for Mobile (apps, responsive websites)

  • Hand-outs (for in-person training)

The existence of any or all of these elements in an eLearning translation project will determine the complexity of the workflow. For example, if a complex text animation that took several hours to build in the English content exists, it will need to be replicated in the foreign language version. That means the same build time is required X the number of languages you're translating into. - And that's assuming the foreign language text will adapt well to that particular animation (imagine Chinese characters being adapted to a complex animation).


eLearning content creators will gain experience over time and realize which elements add the most significant complexity to the translation process and will start to adapt their content creation process to maneuver around these elements (or leave them in and build a budget around the additional cost required to handle them). An experienced eLearning translation vendor can review your source content and point out which elements affect cost and what can be done as a potential workaround.


If you know translation is going to be required a good rule of thumb is to try and keep your training as simple as possible. Responsive design is important, and a reduction of interactive elements and animations is critical if budget and timing are paramount.


What is the Japanese voice-over talent in your video actually saying?


It is not unusual for these elements to be handled by specialized third party vendors. In the case of video with a voice-over track, for example, the translation company may transcribe the script, re-record the audio in the target language, and edit that soundtrack into the video. As you might imagine, the opportunity for errors multiplies with the complexity. And this is only an example of one element, video with voice-over, that may be just a piece of a learning experience. So, how do we manage quality issues across these complex projects?


One Project Manager for the entire project


The first step is to assign a project manager who ‘owns’ a project from end to end. They parse the requirements and create a price quote and timeline. This is vital because quoting requires breaking down each required element, getting pricing from any specialized sub-vendors for each, including translators and reviewers, and estimating project management costs. Each element is mapped to project management software within a master project file. No quote can go out without these steps. The quoting process lays the groundwork for the quality management process.


Linguists are regularly vetted for quality and reliability


A full service language service provider has a proven roster of linguists/translators that they have worked with successfully on similar projects. This means you do not have to go through these vetting processes yourself, unless you are handling project management internally. Because translation for specialized projects like eLearning is a significant part of our business, we have dedicated project managers with extensive experience in translation projects similar to your own. Their experience enables us to introduce efficiencies that it would be difficult to recreate in-house, saving our clients time and money while reducing their workload significantly.


Audited ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Protocols Drive Our QM Processes


From our company Quality Management Page:

"Since our inception in 1988 Language Intelligence has been following a documented Quality Management System. In 2009 we chose to certify our Quality Management System to the ISO 9001:2008 standard as proof to our customers of how serious quality assurance is to us as a company. We have since updated our certification to ISO 9001:2015, and we plan to continue to maintain certification moving forward.

We chose the ISO standard because we believe that it is the most comprehensive of all of the current guidelines and standards available to the translation industry, and because it is a standard that many of our customers are familiar with, or have implemented themselves.

Any of our customers, or prospective customers, are welcome to review our documented quality processes and procedures, along with our measurement and improvement records.

Some of the processes documented in our Quality Management System include:

  • Our Translator Qualification Process

  • Translator Evaluation Procedure (which incorporates the SAE J2450 metric)

  • Translation Quality Control (standard and optional QC steps)

  • Translation Project Management (this includes project manager training and related documented procedures)"

A consistent end-to-end process is the key to maintaining quality on complex projects


All of these quality controls are made possible by applying consistent processes that have been developed through years of practice with multiple eLearning and training translation projects with complex client requirements. Our business is based on creating long-term relationships, so managing quality is integral to our business success. Simply put, it is good business.


Our quality management processes are an open book. If you would like to learn more we can walk you through how they would apply to your eLearning and training translation projects.