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  • Writer's pictureRick White - Director of Client Services

eLearning Translation Best Practices, Part Two: Plan and Prepare for Translation

Anticipate Roadblocks

One great way to ensure a smooth translation process is to consider any issues the linguist may encounter before they occur. Going back-and-forth over word choice and intended meaning can slow down the translation process, sometimes to a screeching halt. In order to maintain and meet deadlines, and to maximize translation time, it is very useful to create and use a glossary of client-specific terminology and a pronunciation guide. Taking these steps can prevent or shorten time lost to clarification, rewriting, and rerecording material while in process.

Create a Translation Glossary

It is very important to create a glossary of client-approved key terms at the beginning of a project. This limits delays while checking terms and translations, and simplifies the client review process after translation. Having a list of client-approved terminology also helps to replicate the user’s course experience and relays the desired message and tone across multiple languages.  Word choice is very important in explanatory material, especially when company-specific terminology and language is involved. Explanation of terms, processes, acronyms, etc. are necessary to ensure understanding in the target language.

Understand That Translation Can Expand or Contract Text

One thing to take into consideration is the difference in length of text across languages. The amount of characters, languages, and words can be quite different across languages. Keeping in mind that text is likely to expand in target languages and planning for that required additional space will make the formatting process much smoother and easier after translation is completed.

Create ‘Producer’ Guides For Voiceover Text

When you create and record voiceover content for video and audio eLearning, someone typically serves as the producer for the session. Their role is to guide the talent to ensure clarity, pacing, and tone are spot on. It’s no different for the translation of this important content. You should have the person in the producer role create some guidelines for re-creating the content in the target language.

Voiceover is a great way to make eLearning content more dynamic and interactive for the user. However, it is very important to ensure that any voiceover content is easy for the user to understand. Choosing a clear voice that matches a particular tone and style of diction, and using a pronunciation guide to ensure that the vocal talent uses the desired pronunciation of any important terms, can really make a difference. Another important factor is including a script or transcription for any voiceover content included in the presentation. Timing of on-screen content and speech must be matched in both the source and target language, so it is important to consider word choice, length, and spacing when writing the script. If done with care, voiceover content can greatly improve and enliven the overall user experience. These steps can ensure that the enhanced experience works in other languages and contexts.

Taking Steps Now Saves Time and Money Later

In a process with so many opportunities for delays, taking the steps to prepare for possible confusion or mistranslations before beginning translation can save time that otherwise may have been lost to debating over word choice or meaning, or even to rewriting or retranslating material. Creating guides, glossaries, and scripts is an important way to ensure that the intended message and tone of the training/eLearning content reaches the user, no matter what language it is delivered in.


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