In this article, I want to talk about translating eLearning courses into other languages. Many instructional designers assume that finding a good translator is the key. However, the quality of a translation is only a part of what an instructional designer will be responsible for when dealing with translating courses into foreign languages. Here are some recommendations that eLearning designers in charge of managing translation projects should find useful.
- Use bulleted lists instead of lengthy narratives. This will allow you to make sure the translator did not miss any major points during the translation process.
- Make sure that the graphic symbols you use are universal. Because visuals often mean different things for different people,, learners from other cultures may find your graphics offensive.
- Pay attention to space. When texts are translated into other languages they often expand. This is especially true for the text that appears in boxes or inside the buttons. If you don’t take the size into consideration, you may later end up redeveloping your visual elements.
- Be very careful with the font you choose. When the course is translated into a non-Roman alphabet language, the text will not display correctly. Therefore, try to avoid funky fonts and stick to Unicode fonts instead.
- If the topic of your training deals with sensitive or cultural issues such as sexual harassment or certain behaviors that are not universal, do not literally translate the course but rather try localizing it to meet the norms and standards of the culture the translation is geared towards.
- Before submitting the course for translation, ask for multiple quotes. Then, send a short sample for translation to check the quality. If you do not know the language, consider sending that translated sample to an editor for review. Chances are that you will have to have an editor review the translation anyway.