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eLearning localisation: Best practices for multilingual video learning

Published on June 28th, 2019

Video has become the champion of eLearning content in recent years. Countless studies have shown the benefits of visual learning and this – combined with today’s mobile and cloud technology – means people can access video eLearning material anywhere, anytime.

This has opened up the eLearning industry to global audiences, making content accessible to people all over the world. However, brands still need to overcome the language barrier with effective translation and localisation.

eLearning localisation best practices

We are going to break this article up into two sections: first, we have eLearning localisation best practices to make your content more effective for multilingual audiences. Then, we will move on to video localisation best practices, because you will need to combine these two principles for your eLearning video material.

So, let’s start with the eLearning localisation best practices:

  1. Use specialist eLearning translators: Make sure your translators have experience and expertise in translating eLearning material, because there are unique challenges compared to regular translation projects.
  2. Localise numbers: Date formats, currencies, addresses and various other numerical details need localising to the relevant format for each market.
  3. Know your platforms: Accessibility is a key part of eLearning, so make sure you understand which platforms your target audiences are going to use (Android, iOS, YouTube, Udemy, etc.).
  4. Use simple, concise language: This will lead to fewer complications during the translation process.
  5. Localise your script before creating any visual content: This will mean any changes can be made without having to recreate/reshoot visuals.
  6. Prepare for expansion/contraction: Printed text will get longer or shorter via translation and the same phenomenon happens to spoken words (more on this in the video section).
  7. Avoid cultural references: These can cause unintentional offence or tension and it is generally safer to leave them out altogether.
  8. Review colour, symbol and visual use: These can also have different meanings across cultures – so have the necessary checks in place.

Those best practices apply to all types of eLearning content and localisation projects in general. Now, though, let’s move on to the video-specific side of things.

eLearning video localisation best practices

The most important aspect of eLearning video localisation is planning ahead of your shots. Reshooting footage is costly and some careful planning will save you a bunch of time and money when you are creating eLearning videos for multilingual audiences.

Here are the key things to consider:

  1. Text/speech expansion: Leave space between scenes and cuts for text/speech expansion.
  2. Pacing: Keep speech slow enough to accommodate subtitles or voice overs in your target languages.
  3. Limit on-screen text: If you are using subtitles to deliver translations, be careful with text use, as people cannot read two things at once. Also, avoid text in the lower-third of the screen, as this is where subtitles normally appear.
  4. Avoid speech interruptions: It is best to avoid multiple speakers at the same time, as this makes it difficult to implement subtitles and voiceovers.
  5. Localise visuals: Maps, location shots, images including people, graphs using monetary values and other visuals should be localised to make them more relevant to each market.
  6. Participants: Consider whether using local participants in your footage (presenters, actors, interviewees, etc.) will improve the relevance of your video.
  7. Optimise for platforms: Make sure your video is optimised for every platform (Android, iOS, YouTube, etc.) and all device types (mobile, desktop, TV, etc.).

That last point is really important because accessibility is a key benefit of eLearning. People want to access content on their favourite platforms, whichever device they are using at any one time. Likewise, accessibility can increase engagement – for example, YouTube will continue to recommend more of your videos to people.

Primarily, the rest of the process focuses on shooting with localisation in mind, so that you can create footage that is ready for translation. This is why planning ahead is so crucial and working with experienced language experts will save you all kinds of hassle, if you are not used to shooting for localisation.

If you need any help or further advice about eLearning localisation, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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Posted on: June 28th, 2019