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How to Successfully Localize eLearning Content


5 min read

Written by


Argos Multilingual

Published on

11 Jan 2018

The challenges of eLearning localization

By the end of 2020, the market volume of the global corporate eLearning market will reach up to approximately USD 31 billion in revenue. More and more multinational companies are starting to understand the economic return from investing in eLearning, as it offers a very cost-effective approach to training and increased employee retention compared to conventional classroom programs.

But many companies are facing numerous challenges when it comes to eLearning localization. With complex linguistic, technical and content development requirements, multilingual eLearning initiatives present some of the most challenging localization projects. The following blog entry provides useful insight into the world of eLearning localization applications and may give companies some helpful advice and tips about how to localize eLearning content properly. 

Getting started

The first stage may include choosing an internationalized learning management system (LMS), modifying forms and databases, standardizing date, measurement and currency formats, and other fundamentals. It may require creating content design templates that account for the expansion and contraction of content when it is translated into foreign languages. Support of foreign character sets and keyboards is implemented and graphic libraries, icons and color palettes are reviewed to make them as language-agnostic as possible. Source text is reviewed to ensure it is concise, clear, free of culture-specific examples and references, and that it does not contain jargon or slang. Finally, all translatable components are externalized to make them easy to identify and translate.

Choose your target locales

International locales that are selected are ones where there is the greatest opportunity to increase sales and market share for eLearning products. Ideally, web and eLearning globalization planning takes place alongside product planning, so that all localized deliverables are budgeted for, including courseware, documentation, marketing collateral, and websites. This provides an effective path for the company to successfully launch global products simultaneously.

Simplify and globalize your content

It is very important to understand your target markets because ignoring cultural factors inevitably leads to frustrating and ultimately ineffective learning experiences. If cultural issues are not addressed, research shows drop-out rates as high as 80%.

A developer working in one cultural context must be aware of the various changes in context that arise with audiences in various international locales, avoiding the terms, examples, or phrases that lack meaning in other locales. This extends, as well, to the recognition of the impact of geographic differences for the same “culture”—products for the Spanish speaking market in Spain have a different linguistic style and vocabulary from the products for the Spanish speaking market in Mexico.  

To prepare your product, target the content at specific reading/education/professional development level for your courseware. Establish standard linguistic style guidelines and terminology, using clear, concrete language. Keep sentences short and avoid excessive use of commas. Use the active voice in the present tense. Avoid the use of analogies and metaphors. Avoid cultural references, such as humor, gender-specific roles, and ethnic, geographical, or historical references that could either lose meaning or be inappropriate in another locale and culture. Do not include references to alcohol, sex, religion, politics, the human body, or animals.

ELearning localization brings a lot of different challenges. Choosing the right markets and adapting culturally to them is of high importance. But there are many more things to consider: have a look at our second blog post which provides more details about the technical considerations of eLearning localization.

Argos Multilingual – our mission is to provide high quality innovative language solutions to our customers while being the most respected business partner in the localization industry. We provide a full range of language translation services that cover all our clients’ needs. Contact Us to discuss your specific requirements for your next eLearning localization process!

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