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Don’t forget translations – a vital element of eLearning content


It’s a huge moment. You’ve planned and written your eLearning course and it’s time to think about building the course that you will launch into the world. 

What’s next? 

Before you begin building your course on your chosen platform, you need to consider how you will ensure your content is accessible to all audiences who may need to use it. And a vital part of accessibility is translation.

Whether you’re training your workforce or educating customers on using your product or service, translation helps ensure you are inclusive. 

Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to translation services for your eLearning content.

Why does translated content matter?

When you’re investing time and budget in creating high quality course content, you also need to ensure it’s accessible to as many people as possible. Otherwise, in addition to diversity & inclusion or accessibility issues, you are going to need to find another way to reach your excluded audiences. 

Whilst you can translate later, as with many things, it’s easier and more cost effective to build translation in from the outset.

As a footnote on accessibility laws; it’s worth bearing in mind that you have to be compliant to the highest standard applicable to the territories you operate in. This can mean going above and beyond what is required on a local level. In short, even if you don’t want to translate your content, you may find that you have to.

What to consider when you’re translating

Translating eLearning content is more complex than you might initially think. In addition to the written word, you need to consider audio, video, infographics, graphics and imagery.

When you’ve worked out what you need to translate, you then need to think about how. For example, for your audio and video content will you use voice overs, dubbing or subtitles? Or will you create new bespoke AV content?

From a design perspective, you must consider how your subtitles fit within your visuals. If you don’t prepare for this when you first create the content, you may find what you’ve recorded cannot be edited and needs to be redone entirely – with all the time and cost implications of doing so. 

Cultural considerations are an important factor too. The tone or subject of the content being used often varies in meaning depending on where it’s being viewed or by which audience. Depending on cultural groups, countries or territories, you may find that your content is considered inappropriate and therefore can’t be used “as is”.

And then there are the technical considerations, i.e. for accessibility purposes, you’ll also need to ensure your Alt tags are translated on every image and video, into every language you are translating to.

Can’t I just add it later?

There’s a well known phrase in business that says, anything can be done if you’ve got the budget. 

However, as alluded to above, whilst translation can be retrofitted to your course content, it will typically be more difficult, take longer and cost more than doing it from the outset.

If you’re adding subtitles to videos, you may find it impossible to keep the original content intact meaning it’s necessary to re-record. Graphics may need to be redrawn in their entirety. Colours or imagery may need to change.

Alongside this, you need to consider the administrative factors involved with extracting content from your Learning Management System (LMS) platform in order to translate it. 

From experience, clients always benefit from translating course content during the development phase of their projects.

Is it relevant depending on where I’m based?

Accessibility requirements vary worldwide and by sector. Government and official organisations must comply with the most demanding legislation, and you’ll need to understand your legal obligations surrounding your digital content. This is an area we can assist you with.

Translation isn’t just for businesses that operate internationally. The UK is a multicultural workforce and therefore you need to consider employees for whom English is not their first language. For example, if you’re delivering mandatory training such as health and safety training for a multicultural workforce you may need it available in Urdu, Polish, Welsh, Italian – you get the idea. 

What do Foster & Forge do?

Foster & Forge provides an end-to-end translation service, ensuring your content is translated and reviewed by an external linguist as well as a native speaker from within your organisation. After all, it’s that not just the language that needs to be correct – the tone of voice, brand messaging and intent must also be maintained.

We have tried and tested translators and linguists available who have helped many of our customers make their content universally accessible for their students.

Our service goes further than ”just” changing the language. Our in-house designers can also update graphics and video translations. 

Plan, create and translate your eLearning with us

Creating robust, accessible eLearning content takes careful planning. Even if you’ve created courses before, scaling your content for different audiences and territories is a mammoth task.

Our end-to-end service delivered by an experienced team ensures your eLearning project runs smoothly and on budget ultimately delivering a high-quality end product that achieves your objectives. 

Click here to schedule a call and discover how we can help you.

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