Rick White - Director of Client Services
eLearning Translation Best Practices, Part Three: Keep Media Simple
Maintain Visual Simplicity
In the creation of media or choice of a platform for eLearning content, there is often a desire to choose the most dynamic and exciting option with as many visuals as possible. However, similar to translation, the best rule to follow is to keep things simple as possible, while still providing an interesting and engaging experience for the user. Choosing the right platforms for supporting localized content and languages and the right opportunities to add audio and visual elements will help to maintain timelines and budgets.
Consider Placement and Expansion
When writing eLearning content that will be translated, one element to consider is where the material will be placed. As previously mentioned, text usually experiences expansion following translation. So, text-free images are always easier to format and incorporate into a presentation. Even editable images containing text require additional formatting time in order to make the translations fit within the same space, and running out of room can happen very quickly. If text must be placed on images, it is important to make sure that the images are editable, and that additional room is available for expanded text.
Plan for Integration of Audio Content
Minimizing or planning for time-sensitive content is another way to improve the translation process for training/eLearning content. Audible content changes in length for different languages the same as written content. It is important to plan ahead, especially if voiceover and audio elements will be used. If it is known that subtitles are desired, it is easiest to begin with English captions and build them into the program with time stamps and decided, static sync points. This is much easier and cheaper than timing out subtitles after audio material has already been recorded and trying to fit one to the other. It is also important to work on a static document, and have material completed and finalized before sending it to translation, in order to avoid having to make updates across all languages mid-process.
Consider the Worth of Including Elements
Considering integration of the elements of a training/eLearning presentation before beginning translation can limit cost overruns and save time. It is important to consider the learner experience, and what is necessary to provide the desired effect. If something is imperative, it can be done, but planning ahead and considering the different steps necessary to make the experience work as a whole will always make it easier. Having a list of end specifications for publishing available, previous to finalization, will ensure that the delivered product is the desired product.
Find a Balance Between Style and Substance
eLearning content is really about providing the best product for the learner, to ensure they get the most out of the experience. It is important to always keep in mind how content and visual and audio effects will translate into other languages and contexts. The more complex the content, the more difficult it will be to implement those complexities into the languages desired. In order to provide the best experience for a learner, it is always best to maintain a balance of dynamic appeal and simple, well-written, and well thought-out content.