“One of the most important areas we can develop as professionals is competence in accessing and sharing knowledge.” – Connie Malamed
Imagining learners in Iran taking physics courses at Oxford University, UK, and American learners studying Middle Eastern history at German universities without any of them crossing the borders of their countries is no longer a dream. Technology breakthroughs have brought the world’s knowledge at your fingertips, regardless of your mother tongue, with numerous advantages and a global demand, the E-learning industry is booming
Learn It Your Way
Acknowledging that not all global learners perceive information in the same way and that each target locale is influenced by its cultural factors, global corporates soon realized that localizing E-learning materials is the key to reaching out to learners around the globe, broadening their customer base and drastically boosting sales.
A training material that speaks one’s native language is sure more effective. However, localizing a training material is not only about translating words…it is more of recreating a training material that target learners can easily relate to while maintaining the exact same message.
It is only logical that 65% of multinational enterprises believe localization is important to increase revenues while 56.2% of consumers say that the ability to prevail information in their own language is more important than cost.Besides the advantages of reaching a broader audience, reflecting a global brand image and proving to your customers that you are willing to go that extra mile to provide a training material that resonates with their cultural norms would definitely pay off in regard to credibility and loyalty. Another significant upside is that global corporates deliver their policies, corporate culture, trainings, etc., consistently and reliably in all their branches across the globe which positively impacts employees’ performance, no matter what their mother tongue is or where the branch is located.
E-Learning Localization: A Jigsaw
E-learning localization requires the integration of multiple aspects. Localization engineers, linguists, graphic designers, and QA experts work jointly to deliver localized training materials that appeal to the target audience. It is more of a jigsaw, and only an experienced reliable localization partner can correctly put all the pieces together.
Delivering E-learning localization service that ultimately helps clients effectively communicate with their end-users is a multilevel challenge.
Addressing text expansion, a common occurrence with translating from a less verbose to a more verbose language, is not an easy job. Moreover, accommodating character-based languages, cursive and bi-directional languages like Arabic and Persian, is a hard-to-avoid pothole.
An image of people playing Rugby (a kind of sport played in England, the USA, and some countries in Europe and Australia) can be hard to relate to by the Middle Eastern audience. Hence, localization should involve images, graphs, and colors (the same color can have totally different implications for different cultures). Also date and time formats as well as measurements need to be localized.
Furthermore, technology terms usually do not have equivalents in Middle Eastern and African languages, which can lead to ambiguities or unnatural translations.