11 Tips for Building Translation-Friendly Courses (Tips 6-11)

Earlier this month, we revealed the first five tips for building translation-friendly courses. In this article, we will conclude with the final six tips you can follow to create courses that are easier to translate.

6. Keep resources editable.

This is generally good practice anyway, simply because approaches and policies can change over time, but keeping your original copies of PDFs and other attached content is particularly important when creating projects for translation because it will be much easier for translators to access and translate documents when they’re in easily editable format, such as a Word document or raw spreadsheet.

7. Use media and other external links sparingly.

In some cases, videos (and sometimes other media links) created by others may not be licensed for viewing in other countries. Consider another option for presenting information provided in media links if they are not licensed for use outside of your country.

8. Build with generous spacing.

Different languages mean different word and sentence lengths. Plan for the possibility of longer sentences by creating a course design that allows ample space for resizing as necessary, and create ample space in text boxes as you build, especially in on-screen text, to allow for different word lengths.

9. Leverage your tools.

SimWriter includes a number of useful tools that can make translation quick and easy. An Export Review Document, for example, can give a translator quick access to the majority of the text used in the simulation. Once translated, it can also be quickly integrated with a few clicks. Becoming familiar with the tools available in your software that can expedite translation can save you hours of work and mountains of frustration.

10. Build a Glossary as you go.

This tip is most important if you are likely to send your text to an external source for translation, but it can be useful internally as well. As you write, consider words that are unique to your industry or

your business that may have secondary meaning. Assemble those terms into a glossary of terms that either should not be translated or that explains the unique meaning of the word to translators to expedite the process.

11. Finalize the primary language course before translating.

This may be the most important tip on the list. If you decide to translate your course at some point during the production process, it is vital that all you have all course content finalized before you move forward with translation. This will prevent the need to adjust word count for an external translator or the need to re-work and tweak language (or, potentially, to have incongruent versions of a course between different languages) later on. While it may seem safe to forward material as soon as the script is approved, further testing and review may result in changes that could have an impact on translation.

What do you think? Did we miss any tips that everyone needs to know? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion at any of our social media links at the bottom of the page to share your thoughts!

Sara Crow has helped facilitate dozens of course translations for clients and has built dozens more from scratch with future translation in mind in her role as an Instructional Designer for NexLearn. She has over a decade of professional writing experience and a couple of shiny writing awards under her belt and enjoys spending both her work day and her free time helping people create storylines relevant to their needs and engaging for audiences across the globe.

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