Engaging, high-quality content can help participants better understand and retain your message. How can you make eLearning content engaging, even if your audience doesn’t read English well?
In addition to translating and localizing your eLearning content, it’s important to analyze the user experience, text, and design, while looking for opportunities to improve quality.
User Experience (UX)
No matter the topic of your eLearning course, you’ll need to keep UX in mind. How people interact with your content can significantly impact their learning experience. Consider these questions:
- What will the average user expect from your course?
- Most users have taken an eLearning course before but may not have used your preferred platform. Is it easy to navigate? Are there special features that audiences may not be familiar with that will need an explanation?
- What types of devices will they use to interact with your content?
- Will the content only be accessed using one type of device—mobile phones, tablets, or PCs—or do you need to support all of them? How will you maintain the same experience across various devices? Will users need additional equipment to get the full experience, such as headphones to listen to audio?
From on-screen text, captioning, or subtitles to voiceover audio, your audience will most likely see and hear hundreds of words during your eLearning course. Here are a few ideas to improve your content:
- Keep content simple: While you want your text to read well and interest your audience, instructional content should leave no room for misunderstanding. Plain language helps you connect with people across multiple literacy levels and helps ensure better understanding. You’ll also want to avoid using idioms, metaphors, and other phrases that may not translate into other languages.
- Consistent terminology & tone: Reusing words and phrases throughout your eLearning content improves clarity while potentially decreasing future translation costs. If your course has multiple lessons or modules, a familiar tone helps audiences connect ideas from one chapter to the next.
Imagery and video boost your eLearning course’s visual impact and user engagement. Beyond incorporating a consistent look and feel, you’ll want to:
- Use universal graphics that can be understood no matter the user’s preferred language or culture.
- Avoid images with embedded text, as you’ll need to translate all content into multiple languages.
- Leave space for languages that take up more space than English. For example, written French takes approximately 30% more space than English to say the same thing.
How to save on eLearning translation
- Think of the English version of your content as the master template for all future iterations. Thoroughly review content for errors to avoid the same flaws from popping up in your translated text. Correcting a mistake that has been translated into a dozen languages can be a costly inconvenience.
- Wherever possible, aim to reuse the same content or audio across all lessons. For example, using the same text for each module's introduction, instructions, transitions, and closing text can significantly reduce the cost of translating text.
- Using translated subtitles instead of localized voiceovers can deliver huge savings, but it isn’t always appropriate for instructional content. For example, when watching a video demonstrating how to perform a task, viewers will want to focus on the action itself rather than reading subtitles (which might even block the bottom third of the screen).
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