For successful localization of learning content, it is important to consider localization at the planning and authoring state, as well as the value and intended impact of content across all formats.
Experienced professionals will note that localization of learning materials can be complex and costly when language strategies are not defined at prebuild stages of content design and architecture. Today, learning content is typically heavy in multimedia.
Organizing the source content with localization in mind will make any subsequent translations more effective, less complex and costly. Teaming up with localization experts at the beginning of the planning and content creation stage and applying the following best practices will ensure source content can seamlessly transition into multiple localized versions:
General Format and Layout. Keep generous white-space padding around any English text that appears in slides. Translated text expands in many locales. Keep English text to a minimum font of 10pt in Arial or 12pt in other fonts as translated text may need to be reduced in size to fit the layout. Use common system fonts instead of licensed or custom fonts, available in Mac and PC. Avoid hyphenation of the English text and design columns and frame sizes to accommodate character and text expansion.
Authoring Considerations. Keep text consistent across slide layers and between on-screen text and notes or captions text. Use consistent terminology throughout.
Using Layers. Keep a single slide layer as clean as possible. Fewer total animated objects on a single layer are best. The more objects you add to a single layer, the more work is required to resynchronize animations after translation.
Using Graphics. Use images without text and if text is required, overlay text on the image using editable text-box objects in the courseware.
Using Notes or Scripts in Courseware. Before sending the course to localization, reconcile the included notes against the final audio tracks. Inconsistency between notes and recorded audio can introduce inconsistency between localized notes and localized audio voiceover.
Timing and Synchronizing Audio. Localized audio voiceover also expands or contracts in play time. Minimize the number of graphics, texts or objects that are animated in synchronization to the audio voiceover.
Video. There are a number of localization best practices for video. It can be a significant investment in terms or time and money to localize video footage and the localization approach should depend on the impact. A global television campaign has to be localized to a very high standard, whereas video footage of a speech to a worldwide sales organization can be localized by making the most of lower cost techniques such as home recording voiceovers, subtitling and text-to-speech (TTS).
To prepare source learning content for localization and apply best practices, you need expertise. Any organization producing multimedia learning materials needs to work with a multi-tiered global team of localization experts including translators, linguists, reviewers, production manager, AV engineers and project managers. Vetting your language services provider is an important step in ensuring your content will indeed provide the best learning experience, no matter the content format or method of delivery.
Contact Welocalize Life Sciences for information on how we can help you build a localized e-learning solution.