Global companies now need their eLearning in five, ten or even 30 languages – and they face three big challenges that prevent effective translation on a global scale.
First, the global market uses multiple devices, multiple operating systems and multiple browsers. iOS and Android are locked in a dead heat for overall tablet and smartphone market share. And PCs aren’t going away any time soon so going global also means supporting ten-year-old IE8 browsers.
Next, the translation process can be time-consuming and error-prone. Despite minor steps forward, it is still labour intensive, expertise-driven and fraught with error. Content is exported and sent to a translator. After translation, it gets reloaded and tested. The whole process is then repeated multiple times. There are many opportunities for errors: copy and paste errors, document formatting errors, mis-numbering, incorrect associations between blocks of text and misnamed media files – just to name a few.
Finally, maintenance and support of content is difficult. There are usually separate courses for each language multiplied by the number of device types you support. A developer or programmer is often required to make the updates.
The good news is globalizing and maintaining eLearning doesn’t have to be so difficult. eLearning anytime, anywhere, on any device across the globe can be developed efficiently.
Here are the seven “musts” of globalizing eLearning
1. Learning MUST work on any device from a single version.
It’s a multi-device world. To deliver on the promise of “anytime, anywhere,” global eLearning must first work on any device.
If that is not the case, you’ll be creating multiple course versions for each and every language. If your eLearning tool uses Flash to support old browsers and HTML5 for everything else, you have two course versions. That means potentially exporting, translating, importing, publishing and completing QA twice for every language.
The key is that the eLearning must work on all of your target devices. Use an approach that adapts the eLearning layout and interactivity to the specific device type (PC, tablet, smartphone) from a single course version.