Translating e-learning training courses: what a programme!

With the rapid growth of the internet, e-learning has become an important part of the training sector. Universities, schools and other training institutions have made this learning style proliferate, but they are far from being the only ones. In fact, businesses also use e-learning courses for knowledge management. They publish both internal training courses for their own staff and external training courses for their partners. The issue of how to translate these courses naturally arises, as businesses want to make sure that this knowledge is disseminated abroad in the best possible way.

If you are the head of communication and training in your company, you must take the right approach when translating your e-learning training modules.

What are the first questions you need to ask yourself?

• Is this an internal or external training course?
• Who is the target audience?
• What are their age and nationality?
• What are their qualification and education levels, or even their position within the company hierarchy?
• What tone should be used?
• Should the vocabulary be simple, formal or adapted to address as wide an audience as possible?
• What register should be used?
• What are the names given to the solutions developed by your company and should they be retained?
• Should certain expressions be translated or should terms be kept in English instead?

A translation agency will know how to guide you and help you answer these questions.

E-learning is a learning method that is changing continuously. Translators must have expertise in the subject matter and the skills required to adapt the content to the relevant medium.

So what are the different mediums used in e-learning?

Training courses can consist of written mediums, such as PDFs and PowerPoint presentations. These mediums are interesting but it is not always easy to transfer them to the target culture. Experienced translators can keep the reader’s attention by making the style really dynamic while respecting the formatting.

Many people also use videos. There are many ways to adapt videos to different languages, using voice-over, dubbing and subtitling.

Another strong trend is the gamification of training courses. These are also known as serious games. Companies saw the attraction of apps that draw on the natural human tendency to want to play games. Translators prioritise user experience when adapting this type of project.

Mobile learning mainly draws on Internet connectivity and the wide range of applications on offer thanks to smartphones and tablets. This is down to the fact that information is constantly changing; it must be proactively updated and, therefore, translated.

Microlearning uses really short learning sequences (between 30 seconds and 3 minutes long). The tone used must be extremely powerful and well-paced to be as effective as possible.

Lately, e-learning solutions have also drawn on virtual reality and augmented reality technology. Virtual reality physically simulates the user in a digital environment, in which he or she can interact. Augmented reality superimposes computer-generated elements, such as sound, images and video, over a real-time view of the real world. A detailed understanding of the broader context is paramount to translate this medium as well as possible.

Each training method has its own particular features and limitations, and reproducing them in the target language is a strategic challenge for companies. It is vital that your training material is perfectly transposed into the target language and well-adapted to your audience.

If you need to translate your e-learning training courses, we can help you find the best solution; just contact us!

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