It may sound cliché, but the world is moving toward a true global economy as sharing information and services gets easier with the prevalence of Internet use.
According to Chief Learning Officer, the best way to create international elearning software is by anticipating the expansion at the start of the project. Taking these steps before development begins can save time and money throughout the rest of the process.
While it would be ideal to adapt a program down to specifications for use in another culture, it isn’t logical to focus intensely on these details. Although some cultural nuances will be left by the wayside, gather key information that should be included from the start.
Components to consider
Before developing global online training software, it’s a good idea to create detailed style guides. According to the source, there should be a separate style guide for each culture and language the program will serve that involves the main goals and preferences. Aspects to consider are key phrases, formatting, literacy level, brand voice, tone and syntax. Other information to gather in advance is the preferred style such as headers, footers, fonts and layouts, as well as grammar rules pertaining to capitalization, acronyms and punctuation. It’s important to note which product names or words shouldn’t be translated and how to refer to dates, currency and time zones. CLO recommended clearing up any issues regarding terminology with sentiments that can’t be translated across the languages from the beginning as well.
When brainstorming ideas for the multimedia aspects of a learning management system, consider the time and resource commitment involved with the production. However, these elements can be vital to the program because they promote engagement and retention. One way to avoid extraneous costs, according to CLO, is by including a variety of nationalities when casting for videos. The source suggested keeping the number of characters low and steering clear of close-up shots that could district learners in dubbed versions.
Anticipating road blocks
Learning Solutions Magazine reported on the challenges and solutions that arise when developing online training software in a foreign language. The publication suggested developers write all of the copy in English then outsource translation to a native speaker. When confronted with a situation where precise or accurate translation isn’t possible, go heavier on the use of graphics to illustrate key points. However, the graphics should reflect the culture, including the clothing characters are wearing. In the source’s example, a team was creating software for a group in Iraq, so it was necessary to illustrate women wearing the traditional garb for cultural synergy.
A big part of working with a foreign organization to develop their software is keeping communication open, according to Learning Solutions. There may be barriers that don’t present themselves until a team is already in the thick of writing and developing a program. One way to streamline communication is through a portal or file sharing system. This allows both the firm and client to access everything pertaining to the project for full transparency. Additionally, it can be helpful to show the client how things are coming along early and often. That way, any potential issues can be addressed and resolved before development continues and puts the team behind in production.
Finally, establishing a primary translation point person can result in a more cohesive and fluid finished product. This individual would be responsible for double-checking the translation team’s work and evaluating each portion as a whole to correct any incongruities caused by several people working on the same project.