Rick White - Director of Client Services
Is Your eLearning Translation Service a Vendor or a Partner?
With subject matter-intensive projects like eLearning and training translation, developing an ongoing partnership can really pay off
We understand why our clients use multiple eLearning translation and localization services. Redundancy, having backup resources, and increasing your ability to manage multiple training projects across multiple languages, can eat up a lot of bandwidth. But so can managing multiple eLearning translation service providers with differing workflows. And it can result in inconsistent quality that could negatively impact your reputation. If the translation review process is flawed, you may not even be aware of the quality issues because they involve languages your people don’t understand. In this article we look at reasons to consider forging a partnership with an integrated eLearning translation service who syncs up with your workflows and understands how your courseware platforms and methodologies work.
Translation is not your core competency, nor should it be
Core competency defines any company, and eLearning services are no different. Your core competency is learning and development, not translation and localization. If you have a large translation workflow you likely have a translation manager whose role is to manage the translation vendors, not to build a translation division within your company. Translation and localization of complex content like training courses is very specialized due to the many different media used to convey information. Finding an eLearning translation service with the expertise and resources in place will take a big workload off of your translation project managers, while ensuring that quality is never an issue.
Keeping all the elements of your courses in context is critical
Perhaps the strongest argument for developing a longer term partnership with an eLearning translation service is the need to keep the various types of translated content in a course in context throughout the translation process. With an eLearning translation service provider that handles eLearning translation projects end to end, including all the different media challenges, everything is more likely to work together as the course designer intended.
If your people are managing these processes with multiple eLearning specialist vendors, there is the potential for quality issues, issues you may not even be aware of when you distribute the courses across language markets. Having a partner and their project managers keeping things in context for the various translators and reviewers involved helps you avoid these kind of errors and omissions.
Sourcing vendors for individual elements like audio dubbing is not easy
Simply finding that multilingual voice-over vendor, and aligning their workflows with the many other elements of a complex course or training program, is not easy. A fully integrated eLearning translation service with a specialty in learning and development localization, has these resources in place, and has developed valued relationships with them. This is a core competency of the project manager/linguists in our company who manage these eLearning translation projects every day.
Not all translations are equal- a partner will assign linguists who understand your unique ‘voice’
Having one eLearning translation service managing one client course and another managing a related one is likely to create problems with delivering a consistent ‘voice’ that reflects your company’s style and branding. Translators don’t just do word for word translations- they localize to make those translations understandable to different cultures while maintaining the intent of the course content. These kinds of decisions are driven by experience, both as a member of that culture and with your product and learning style. With a partner model you can be sure that you consistently work with translators who are familiar with your projects and tools.
Working together over time means aligned workflows and improved efficiencies
A glance at our eLearning Translation Services page reveals the complexities of these projects, including the many media formats, types of training , and courseware platforms that we work with. When we begin work with an eLearning client we learn your workflows and align ours with them. Each courseware provider or corporate training department has their own combination of elements and platforms used to develop their products. When you partner with an eLearning translation service over the longer term you realize the benefits of this alignment with lowered costs, faster turnaround times, and more consistent quality.
An eLearning translation service partner becomes a strategic resource for planning rollouts in multiple languages
Rolling out a training program across multiple languages, with training managers around the world, or within a large multinational company, requires a strategic approach to planning that process. Your language partner should be a participant in that process. They can provide practical insights into timelines, specialized vendor sourcing, potential roadblocks, and more, that can derail a complex rollout. Working together over time helps them understand the culture of your company and the priorities of you customers, clients, and end-users.
Partnerships only work if driven by mutual benefits
It is a caveat of partnership that there must be equal benefits realized by both parties for the partnership to work. Both sides will be investing time and resources into creating an efficient ‘machine’ for delivering your content into global markets, with each side bringing their core competencies to the table. Forging a longer term partnership helps both sides build efficiencies, delivering higher quality results, and increasing mutual profit.