Custom e-learning content is designed for specific audiences or individual companies, as opposed to courses developed for everyone or broad groups of people. In terms of learning outcomes, custom content allows you to meet the needs of audiences on a deeper level and create more relevant experiences for each of them.
Catering for the needs of specific audiences is a great way to maximise the effectiveness of your e-learning content but it comes with some additional development challenges – including translation, if you are creating multilingual learning experiences.
Is translating custom e-learning content more difficult?
Developing custom e-learning content involves more work than simply creating a single set of courses for everyone. For example, when running a course on marketing for beginners, the approach could be to create a single course for everyone on the basis that beginners are specified as your target audience and this should be relevant enough.
However, you might find your course reaches audiences more effectively and provides better learning experiences for them by creating custom content for specific audience profiles. For example, by industry, marketing channel, business size, etc. Of course, this requires a more intensive development process, but it will allow you to target each audience and cater to their unique learning needs more effectively.
You might think translating custom e-learning material will add further complexity to the development process, but this is not necessarily the case. When you have the right development system in place to produce custom content and the right translation process, they should interact seamlessly without creating any further complications.
Also Read: A Guide to E-Learning Translation & Localisation.
How to translate e-learning content for custom audiences
Provided your content development system is ready to produce custom e-learning content, the role of a language service provider (LSP) would be to seamlessly integrate their translation process into the development process of your content.
We use the verb ‘integrate’ because e-learning translation is something that should be present throughout the development stage if you want to get the best results. This makes more sense when looking at the nine key stages of e-learning translation, many of which overlap directly with key stages of the development cycle:
Define your audiences
Specify your target audience(s) for each piece of e-learning content.
Determine their needs
Identify what each audience needs from your material, paying particular attention to what makes them unique from more generic audiences.
Select your languages
Set your target languages to translate each piece of content.
Localise your content code
Optimise your source code for translation with a dedicated languages folder and separate files for each language, called in using variables – no translatable material in your core code files.
Develop your custom source content
Now you are ready to start developing your custom e-learning content in your source language.
Prep for translation
Once your content is fully-developed, you can start preparing it for translation by simplifying any complex language, setting definitions for specialist terminology, identifying any potential translation issues, etc.
Translate your content
Translate the text in your e-learning material into each target language.
Localise your content
Once translation is complete, localise the text to deal with any text expansion issues and adapt numerical values for each target location (dates, currencies, contact details, etc.).
Localise visual elements
Translate and localise visual elements including images, graphics, data visualisations, video content and any other non-text elements featured in your e-learning content.
Review & test
With the translation stage complete, it is time to review each language version to detect and fix any potential issues. After that, you are ready to test on sample audiences.
Once your custom e-learning content is translated and ready for release, it is recommended to take a similar approach to translating marketing content and campaigns to promote your courses to each target audience.
By working with a language service provider that specialises in translating custom e-learning content, you can concentrate on the development cycle, knowing that the translation process is managed fully for you at every step.
Another key benefit of working with e-learning specialists is that they can advise you on any relevant aspects of development or content production that will make the translation process easier and also more time and cost-effective. This will help maximise the performance of your content in each target language.
If you regularly produce or work on e-learning projects that require localisation, get in touch with our team of e-learning translation experts by filling out the form on our contact page.