eLearning Translation: Introduction and Benefits

by Dean Haman

Today’s digital age has done more than change the way we communicate, socialize, and conduct business. It has also had a significant impact on the way that we learn. Online learning, often called “eLearning”, is becoming a popular alternative to traditional in-class instruction due to its accessibility, effectiveness, and scalability.

But as effective as eLearning is, if you only present material in one language, you may fail to reach a significant percentage of your audience. This is why eLearning translation is a vital component in the success of online learning for many organizations. In this article, we’ll break down what eLearning is, what its benefits are, why eLearning translation is important, and how it works.

impact of elearning

What is eLearning?

As the name implies, eLearning is a form of teaching that utilizes online technologies to instruct people outside of a classroom setting.

You may think of it as an online classroom for schools and places of higher education. However, eLearning actually is utilized across many industries: education, manufacturing, associations, nonprofit organizations, the medical field, and more. Online courses make it easy to educate others, train a global workforce, and provide resources to people around the world.

Benefits of eLearning

There is a wealth of benefits associated with eLearning, both for students and for the organizations providing the courses. A few advantages include:

Accessibility

Coordinating in-class training times can be problematic for businesses. Accommodating everyone’s schedule is nearly impossible and cuts into valuable time for teams. eLearning courses on the other hand, are available on-demand and can be taken at any time. Because they can be accessed on devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers, people can conveniently learn at their own pace when it best fits into their schedule.

Providing resources and conducting training in different languages can be difficult for multinational organizations. Thanks to the services of professional translation companies, eLearning courses can be translated into any language required. This means that not only can these courses be accessed anywhere in the world, but they can also reach anyone, regardless of language spoken.

Increased Material Retention

According to the Research Institute of America, eLearning retention rates range between 25% -60%. This is a significant increase from traditional training’s 8% - 10% retention rate. Part of this is due to the control that eLearning platforms provides learners. Instead of an instructor setting the pace of the course, eLearners can learn at a speed commensurate with their abilities,  and go back to review material if necessary.

Scalability & Cost Effectiveness

From a cost standpoint, eLearning is a smart decision for businesses. Digital-based learning typically requires 40%-60% less employee time than learning the same material in traditional settings. eLearning is also scalable, meaning that it is just as easy for 10 people to take advantage of eLearning as it is for 1,000.

Additionally, thanks to eLearning translation, language doesn’t have to be a barrier. Students of a translated eLearning course will all be taught the same important material in the language in which they best learn. This creates consistency in organizations and prevents variations that can occur between different instructors and in-person learning settings.

How are eLearning courses developed?

eLearning courses can be delivered in a number of ways: video, narrated slideshows, quizzes, surveys, and games, just to name a few. There are several course authoring tools available on the market that allow instructors to create their own courses, including:

  • Storyline 360
  • Storyline 3
  • Articulate Rise
  • Adobe Captivate
  • Internally-developed web-based tools

Additionally, editing software such as Vyond and Adobe Premiere can also be used to create video content, which that can be included as part of your training.

After they are created, eLearning courses are typically published on a Learning Management System (LMS). This allows creators to streamline all courses in one convenient location.

eLearning’s Popularity

eLearning use has been on the rise for years, and experts say it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, studies predict that by 2025, the eLearning market will be worth $325 billion— a 300% increase from 2015 levels. In 2017, approximately 77% of corporations in the United States utilized some form of online learning, and 98% of those surveyed reported that they planned to deploy it by 2020.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, eLearning has become a necessity for many. The industry has been at the forefront as schools and companies come up with work-from-home solutions. Thanks to the quick ramping up and preparation of eLearning companies, so many have been able to take advantage of what eLearning has to offer during this time of crisis.

Why is eLearning translation important?

As with any form of instruction, eLearning is only effective if the audience can understand what is being said. If you are a company or organization with a multilingual audience, material must be delivered in the language that they best understand. An accurate and culturally appropriate translation is the key to facilitating understanding and retention of the material.

Furthermore, when people are presented with content in their native language, it creates an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. Statistics show that 90% of people prefer learning in their native language. By giving your learners a course that they can understand, you show that you care. When creating your course, it’s important to follow some best practices that make eLearning translation straightforward.

How does eLearning translation work?

Because eLearning itself can take on many different forms, the process for translation differs from course to course. For example, the workflow for a Storyline translation may differ from that of a course created with Adobe Premiere. But, generally speaking, your translation may involve a combination of the following: 

Text Translation

All written text in a course needs to be translated. However, this goes beyond what might appear in slides. Graphics, buttons, interactive components like quizzes and games, and additional resources should also be translated, correctly formatted, and seamlessly integrated into the course.

Audio Recording and Syncing

Some courses utilize video or voice-over narration. To effectively translate these, audio must be transcribed, translated, re-recorded in the target language, and synced into the target-language course. In each of these steps, accuracy is crucial. Recording should be done in a professional studio setting by a native speaking talent in order to ensure quality. After recording, the audio needs to be synced into the course in a way that makes sense to the user.

Localization

To have an eLearning course successfully deployed across languages and cultures, companies should opt for a translation service that does not only translate, but localizes course content for its target audience.

Localization does more than simply translate words. It ensures that cultural nuances are taken into account, visuals are appropriate, and all content is understood in context by your target audience.

After a course is translated, it should undergo comprehensive Quality Assurance by a native speaker of the target language in order to ensure the entire course and all of its components are fully and correctly translated.

Conclusion

Because of its adaptability, effectiveness, and scalability, eLearning has quickly become the most widespread way to educate and train your workforce, students, and organization members. If operating within a multilingual organization, eLearning translation is key to ensuring that all participants can effectively learn and understand the material. Teaming up with a professional translation company capable of handling all aspects of eLearning translation and localization will ensure success for your organization, no matter the course topic or language.

Dean Haman

Business Development Manager

"I like to be part of the team here at Interpro. Helping clients and finding new clients is what makes my job enjoyable."