Prepping eLearning content prior to localization translates into big savings

After we translated our big 4-hour Core Certification course into Latin Spanish, sales were brisk and quickly earned back the translation costs. We are therefore updated the next release for this course as well. 

Although over 50% of the content changed either through feature updates or reorganization, I was able to cut translation costs for this second round about 30% by prepping the in-language source files before turning them over to the translation vendor. 

File preparation tasks included:

  1. Pasting in new figures as needed. This was easy for me to do quickly, because my directory for the new release listed the new screen captures I made for my own updates, and I could recognize the old vs. new figures on a slide by sight—something a translator couldn’t do. By selecting the correct figure and choosing Change Picture, I kept the animations and the in-language audio synchronization intact.
  2. Inserting new slides into the localized course where needed, either from the new course or from localized modules for the previous release in the case of reorganization. Again, this was a task that I could do quickly, because I knew where localized versions of moved slides resided.
  3. Cutting or replacing audio clips. For example, if the associated practice lab changed from 12 to 13, I could edit the audio clip myself by splicing together clips from the translated course and then inserting that audio into the new module myself. Cuts to audio were similarly easy to do.
  4. Flagging audio that needed to be rerecorded on a slide. For slides that had only minor audio changes, I provided a spreadsheet describing where the new English text was located (so they wouldn’t overlook it), and actually pasted the English into the notes area of the slide (this text appears in the completed module as “Audio script”).
  5. Updating captions where possible (such as changing a number) or flagging slides that needed captions updated (a very small number, because the course uses very little on-screen text).
  6. Updating figures in the quiz, and importing questions from previously localized quizzes if the content had moved. I also inserted all new questions in the correct quiz format, minimizing the number of required updates.
  7. Verifying that all resource directories contained the current files (PDF handouts). The resources must be manually linked when the module is published.
  8. Ensuring that all subdirectories contained the current audio and video clips that supported a given module, and that all these elements were correctly linked with the master PowerPoint module.
Translation spreadsheet

Sample of minor edits called out for the translation vendor

By salvaging existing in-language source material, and by performing safe edits of translated materials, I was able to significantly reduce the amount of material that had to be updated for the new release, saving thousands of dollars in translation costs and eliminating the subsequent verification effort. 

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