Multilingual eLearning

Multilingual eLearning: Take Your Courses Global

Do you want to produce multi-language eLearning content and boost global engagement? Then, you will need Multilingual eLearning localization services.

In this blog, we will expand on the ins and outs of eLearning localization, the vital role of the Language Service Provider (LSP), and the steps that are involved in creating the perfect eLearning Localization process.

The Pillars Of Successful Multilingual eLearning Services

Multilingual eLearning translation involves more than just linguistic services and goes beyond translating words. Whether your course is geared at language learning or designed to provide multilingual education to staff, in many cases, powerful visuals or even a level of gamification should be introduced in order to make an engaging course. And if you wish for your course to achieve the same impact in all its language versions, all these elements will need to be adapted and tailored to match local preferences.

Here’s what a multilingual eLearning course should look like.

The 3 Pillars of an Effective Multilingual eLearning Course

  • Accuracy: your eLearning translation should achieve complete clarity and accuracy. This means that the content will need to be translated flawlessly, but the choice of vocabulary and references will also need to be adjusted depending on the region.
  • Relevance: the translation will also need to be culturally relevant and be presented in a familiar context that your international audience can recognize and resonate with.
  • Functionality: the eLearning course will need to function optimally, be free of bugs, and operate with great technical precision, so it doesn’t disrupt their learning experience.
Multilingual eLearning

Who Can Help You with eLearning Localization?

So, how will you be able to get multilingual eLearning courses of such a high standard? These are the options you will have available to you.

Multilingual eLearning Localization From Start To Finish

Getting Started: Make Sure Your Content Is Ready For Localization

Multilingual eLearning Localization is often described as a very complex and intricate process. And depending on the elements involved, it very well can be. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken before the localization process. They ensure that the eLearning content is optimized and the localization process is delivered with a minimal number of time-consuming workarounds and setbacks. Here are some of our top tips!

  • Scope your translation project by identifying all content types that will need localization. For example, this may include transcripts, on-screen text, imagery, videos, voice-over, and so on.
  • Make sure that you allow for text expansion and contraction. Did you know that some languages take up more space than others? When not handled effectively, text expansion, or indeed contraction, can cause bugs and issues during the localization process.While a skilled LSP will be able to avoid such errors, it can be a time-consuming workaround if the files are not properly prepared for this eventuality. For this reason, we recommend that you allow for about 35% of text expansion when preparing your content for translation.
  • Speaking of preparing content for translation, if possible, we recommend that you try and maintain a neutral language as much as possible. If the content is filled with colorful expressions unique to the source language, an equally effective alternative will need to be found in the target languages, which can be time-consuming.Of course, if these expressions add to the eLearning experience and are important for learning engagement, do keep them in. Quality alternatives will always be found. But be selective with where to add them if you expect a fast turnaround time.
  • Always provide your LSP with a Glossary and a Style Guide. A Glossary includes specific terminology and their approved translations, and a style guide confirms your brand voice as well as any stylistic preferences you have. These will prevent extra rounds of feedback.
Multilingual eLearning

Multilingual eLearning Localization Process

So, what about the actual translation process?

eLearning Localization should be linguistically, visually, culturally, and technically flawless. While we will be focusing on all of these later in the blog, let’s first focus on the global process. The content will be run through the translation, editing, and proofreading (TEP) process, and optimized for the target locale. More specially, multilingual eLearning localization involves the following.

    1. The content will be exported in a translation-friendly file type, such as XML
    2. The files will be prepared for translation. This includes the implementation of regular expressions. These regular expressions will ensure that any untranslatable content, such as code, will be locked so that the translators won’t be able to edit them and cause issues.
    3. The translated files will then be imported back into the preferred eLearning platform.
    4. The DTP team will be assigned to work their magic and make sure the eLearning courses are visually optimized.
    5. Lastly, the eLearning materials will be subject to rigorous Quality Assurance (QA)

Desktop Publishing: Getting The Visual Features Right

In our overview of the ideal eLearning localization process, Desktop Publishing may have caught your eye.  DTP experts provide that critical service that makes your visual material adapted to the target locale. More specifically, DTP services for multilingual eLearning localization includes the following.

    • Format all translated content to fit perfectly into the design and format. For example, even an eLearning authoring tool or Learning Management System optimized for multilingual applications, such as Articulate Storyline, will still have some difficulties processing certain languages and characters. Most of these are related to language direction. Languages such as Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew, for example, are right-to-left languages. Asian languages such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese can be read in columns. All of these language directions will need a design optimized to fully support them. And while there are platforms out there that do support these languages, errors do sneak in, and DTP experts are still needed to make sure the format is fully functional.
    • DTP experts will also make sure that certain details, such as selecting the most appropriate font for each language, are implemented. Because there is no one font that fits all languages. Style, local preferences, height, and diacritical marks all need to be taken into account.

Pro Tip! Want to learn more about localization into multiple languages specifically for Articulate Storyline? Read all about it in our blog How To Localize Your Storyline eLearning Courses

Weeding Out The Bugs: Quality Assurance And Multilingual eLearning Localization 

So, let’s say a few more words about that all too crucial final stage, Quality Assurance. During the QA review, language, design, and functionality should all be taken into account. Here is what they all entail!

  • When it comes to linguistic testing, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and choice of wording are all taken into account. This also includes any audio files that may be part of the eLearning courses and content in the images.
  • The design will be tested for any visual bugs that may compromise the quality of the product. This includes text expansion issues due to character length and the efficiency of the user interface in combination with the target audience, culture, and language.
  • Lastly, the functionality testing will confirm that the entire course performs well technically and functions smoothly. Buttons will be tested as well as the scheduled times for audio tracks, technical glitches, and overall performance.

Multilingual eLearning And Multimedia Localization

Before we conclude the blog, we just need to share one more thing about Multimedia Localization. We have mentioned videos, audio files, voice-over, close captions, and subtitles throughout the blog, and these could all very well be part of your eLearning course.

In order to ensure that you get the best service across this wide selection of specialized services, you should make sure that you connect with an LSP that offers multimedia localization services and has a proven record of performing well in them.

If you are wondering in what way multimedia localization would be useful, just consider that for videos and virtual teachers, for example, you will need local talent to truly connect with the audience you are translating your courses for. The way they look, move, and even the posture they maintain can all communicate specific things about the culture at hand. Even with voice-overs, the narrators will need to be carefully selected for regional accents, age, and gender.

Similarly, think about the environment you are setting up in your course. Let’s assume you have developed multilingual learning courses and training programs on driving. If you are localizing this course for, let’s say, the Chinese audience, you will need to adjust the visuals in the course so that they reflect the cities and specific regions known to them in the images and backgrounds. In addition to that, local driving culture, habits, and health and safety regulations will also need to be taken into account.

Pro Tip! Eager to learn more about how languages and cultures can influence the multimedia localization process? Check out our blogs Multilingual Voice-Over: Get In On the ActionMultilingual Voice-Over: How To Get It Loudly Right, and Machine Subtitling: Automation To Support Large Subtitling Productions


When creating Multilingual eLearning experiences, it is essential that the best practices are maintained and a skilled LSP is engaged. This way, you will be able to effectively localize all of the various content types that can make up an eLearning course.

Laoret offers Multilingual eLearning translation and localization services in over 120 languages and hires only native specialists with subject-matter experience. Clients can contact us for specialized localization services from eLearning localization to multimedia localization. Ready to see if your next project will align with your budget? Request a free Translation Services Quote!

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