The eLearning Translation Process: What Should You Expect?

The eLearning Translation Process: What Should You Expect?

Jun 12, 2018

The eLearning translation process can seem very complex, especially if it's your first project or if you have had issues in the past. By gaining a better understanding of the phases of eLearning translation, you will be in a better position to navigate vendor selection, as well as the cost structure of a project.

Ideally, the translation of your eLearning course would be an integral part of the course design, taking cultural and language-specific aspects into consideration up front, with cost and scheduling integrated into the overall creation of the eLearning course. However, sometimes you may decide to make an existing course available to global audiences. Here's a quick overview of the eLearning translation process you could expect your vendor to implement:

Analyze project scope. As a first step your vendor will take a good hard look at your course; ask questions about your expectations, your audience and any special needs you may have. You’ll likely be asked to upload your project to a secure portal or file transfer website so your translation company can better understand the components and complexity of your project. They will also ask for the source files in order to start analyzing your course and project needs.

Compile reference material. To ensure that translators and narrators are using terms consistent with the names of events, processes, procedures, people and terminology your company uses internally, it’s important to collect or create glossaries, acronym and pronunciation guides. These help project managers and linguists be on the same page from the start of the project and are a critical part of ensuring the project runs efficiently.

Prepare an estimate. Now that your translation company has everything they need from you, including your project files, reference material and all the information about the project, they will review all the assets and specifications. As they determine the appropriate process steps the company may ask you additional questions to clarify the goals of the project, find out what browsers you intend to use, and verify any publishing settings or concerns before preparing a cost and delivery estimate for your project.

Get project approval. Is the project a go, or a no-go? Once you've had a chance to look over the estimate, ask questions and make any desired changes, a project manager will finalize the project schedule. A kickoff may be held to introduce you to translation team members, discuss any open scheduling, content or technical questions and determine the best means of communicating over the course of the project.

Begin translation. Projects typically start with translation of the course content. Project managers will export the translatable content and send it to the appropriate qualified linguists in each language needed. Qualified linguists are professional native-speaking translators who are familiar with the culture and idioms of their language, the required subject matter and the eLearning process.

Review. During the project there should be multiple reviews and touch points by all stakeholders: the linguists, project managers, you and ideally, some representative end users. The translations should be reviewed to make sure that the context was taken into account accurately during the translation. At this point, revision of the translated source content may be necessary to accommodate local laws, cultural norms and corporate branding.

Record voice-over. During the translation phase, selection of the voice talent should take place. Ideally your translation company should send a variety of voice samples for you to choose for the project. Once the voice talent is selected, the audio portions of the project are recorded. That audio is reviewed, and if necessary, revised.

Create localized audio. Depending on the structure of the eLearning course, your budget and project specifications, audio narration can either be displayed in subtitles or voice-over can be recorded. In each case a script of the narration is first translated, and then revised based on the available space (subtitles) or timing (voice-over). Ideally, for voice-overs your translation company should send a variety of voice samples for your selection. Once the narration is recorded or the subtitles are completed another review is necessary, followed by incorporation of any changes.

Reintegrate content into the course. Once translations are completed and approved, they must be reintegrated back into the course itself. In other words, your translation company re-compiles the course, placing the newly translated content (localized graphics, text, UI terms, audio) into the appropriate section of the course in order to provide a fully functional course for the learner.

Quality control review. At this point the course is complete, but still needs one final review. OmniLingua and our sister company Ingenuiti use an automated tool, Inspector, for client review and feedback. In Inspector, you can let us know what you think and if you would like us to make any final changes.

Publish. Now the project and final quality control reviews are complete! All that’s left is to publish the final project for use on the client’s Learning Management System (LMS). Your translation company will add all final approved translations to your corporate translation memories and archive project assets and communication for future reference.

That’s a general overview of what the standard eLearning translation process looks like for existing courses. Other companies may vary their approach or the order of their process steps or the number of their reviews and quality checks. Therefore it’s important to ask first and receive an overview. You may also benefit from requesting some examples of other projects similar to yours to gain a better understanding of the various project phases.

Contact us with any questions you may have about our eLearning translation process and for further information about the design of new eLearning courses that include global audiences and multiple languages right from the start! We'd be happy to walk you through any of the steps in detail.


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