If you are having your elearning content localized into another language, you may well be asking yourself one of the questions below, just like some of our clients do. So, we’ll answer you as we answer them – with a few tips of best practices for elearning localization.
1) What elements of my elearning course need to be localized?
As many as possible. The goal of localization is to adapt your elearning material to your foreign viewers, so that they feel comfortable and have no difficulties using it.
Therefore, localization can go from translating audio and onscreen text to changing colors, movement direction and photos. Other elements that should be localized include:
• Measurements: it’s not productive talking to people in inches and gallons if they think in centimeters and liters, so adapt this kind of reference according to what is familiar to your viewers abroad.
• Login page fields: in some countries, everyone has a middle name. In others, most people don’t. And there are even countries where people don’t have last names! So, if your course includes a login page, make sure you adapt it to your foreign audience.
• Date formats: maybe in your country dates are written in the mm/dd/yy format, but in your foreign audience’s country the dd/mm/format is the most popular. Overlooking this difference might cause some confusion and difficulty for your users.
• Foreign alphabet symbols: for instance, some English software still doesn’t accept foreign letters like ñ or ç. If your course includes interactive fields and your foreign students might have to enter letters that are not in your alphabet, see that your course recognizes them.
2) If my elearning video has onscreen text, can I have it presented in subtitles?
You can — but usually this is not an ideal solution. Why? For several reasons:
• If there’s both onscreen text and narration to be localized, they may take up too much screen space together.
• Keeping the original onscreen text may be confusing or distracting for your foreign students.
• Depending on the placement of the onscreen text, it may be covered, or else the subtitles may have to be placed in unusual places on the screen.
What’s the ideal solution? If you are still creating your video classes, avoid onscreen text altogether. This will make it much easier to localize it into different languages down the line.
If your video classes are already recorded, and there’s no way to change the onscreen text itself, get in touch with us. At Upwords we take pride in being a translation company that really cares about doing elearning localization right. We’ll help you assess what’s the best solution to render your video classes in another language.
3) Should I have elearning audio dubbed or subtitled?
This depends on the kind of audio, on your budget, and on your target audience.
Is your material a video lesson with actors playing roles in a scene? Dubbing is probably your best option. If you are on a budget, subtitling is second best.
If your audience has trouble reading onscreen text, but you want a cheaper solution than dubbing, go for a phrase sync voiceover. This is also your best option if your video does not include acted scenes, only talking heads.
4) What’s the difference between using subtitles and closed captions in elearning videos?
Subtitles are burned onto the video, and cannot be turned off, while captions allow the viewer to decide whether he wants to see them or not.
So if you want your course viewers to be able to choose to listen to the original audio with or without an onscreen translation, captions are your best option.
If you want to make sure the viewer will see an onscreen translation, opt for subtitles.
These are just a few tips to get you started on how to localize your material, so you can offer high-quality elearning services in a foreign language.
If you think we could help you, do let us know. We offer you a one-stop shop for translation services – including localization, dubbing, subtitling and captioning.