How Tech Companies Can Translate eLearning Content to Improve User Experience

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Whether your company is first-to-market in a new language, or you are looking to increase your market share, translating your customer-facing eLearning content can have huge benefits. That might include articles in your knowledge base, onboarding emails for new customers, or even certification exams and related study material.

This article will discuss why choosing to translate eLearning content can improve a user’s experience, how that will benefit your company, and what to be aware of as you translate.

Why The User Experience Improves When You Translate eLearning Content

A 2020 Common Sense Advisory study found that users strongly prefer localized content—to the point that many will pay more for access to a localized product.

This is especially true of B2B buyers, who must justify the cost of a major investment in their company. That means they are attuned to how easily employees adopt a new software product. Localized eLearning material is one easy way to ensure user adoption. 

When you translate the eLearning content for your product or service, the overall user experience improves for users in each market:

  • They have a higher level of comfort from the beginning. Even those with excellent English often feel more comfortable using a product in their native language.
  • They are less likely to make user errors based on linguistic misunderstandings. The more difficult it is for them to use the product, the less satisfied they will be.
  • They will be able to get answers to their questions faster and at scale. Translated eLearning content can address concerns early on rather than forcing a user to make a call or have a chat to get an answer. 

How A Better User Experience Benefits Your Company

Increased Customer Retention

It is often said that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.

The same study we cited before found that 75% of customers surveyed were likelier to repurchase from a brand if they had access to customer care in their own language. Even among customers with a high level of English competence, 60% still showed a preference for localized customer help.

This is especially relevant for SaaS companies that bill their clients on a monthly or yearly basis—churn needs to be minimal to keep monthly recurring revenue (MRR) at a high level.

One of the easiest ways to decrease churn within non-English-speaking markets is to translate eLearning content as part of customer care so that customers can get the help they need in the language they speak.

Reduced Strain on In-Language Customer Support Teams

When you translate eLearning content for each target market, you can reduce the number of calls or tickets your customer support team receives. That translates to a major reduction in costs for your company. 

A study by Forrester Research and Oracle estimated the cost per contact of a call center CSR at $6, a (non-AI) web chat at $5, and a web self-service experience, such as a knowledge base article, at just $0.10. 

When they have a problem, many customers—especially younger ones—prefer to start with a self-service option and escalate if that does not answer their question. If they can find an answer in their language, it saves them time—which also helps ensure that they perceive the brand positively.

What to Focus on When You Translate eLearning Content


What to Focus on When You Translate eLearning Content

Prioritize the Content You Translate to Get the Most Out of Your Investment

To maximize your return on investment (ROI), you will want to think carefully about what eLearning content to translate and what order to follow.

For example, the localization team for Asana, a subscription-based project management tool, uses quantitative data to decide what content to translate—and which languages to prioritize.

If some features of your application are not available to users in a given market, then make sure that you exclude related eLearning content from the scope of work for translation.

Involve the Localization Team Early in the Process

We highly recommend that you only translate eLearning content once you have finished and approved the source-language content. That way, you can avoid re-translation costs when the source is altered.

However, we also recommend involving the localization team during the process as you write or record your eLearning content. They can provide you with best practices to ensure that the language you use is clear and easy to localize in the future.

They will also point out areas where cultural context could affect understanding for users in a different target market.

Additionally, developers and creatives should be reminded to create interfaces and documents with adequate room for localized text with a different word and character counts.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Translate eLearning Content

Avoid When You Translate eLearning Content

1. Not considering the cultural context

We have written before about the importance of adapting cultural references for successful eLearning translation so that your target audience understands the material.

Even something as simple as an icon can have different meanings across cultures. For example, users in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere associate the magnifying glass icon with the Search function. But users from other countries interpret it as “secret or confidential” or mistake it for a key. 

Likewise, imagery and colours can also have different meanings for users in another culture—and that meaning changes over time. For years, Brazilians from across the political spectrum wore the iconic yellow jersey of their national soccer team. But in the past few years, it became closely associated with supporters of one political party. Using an image of someone wearing the jersey could have a specific subtext for a Brazilian reader. 

When you partner with a language services provider having in-country experts to translate eLearning content, they will be able to identify potential problem areas and suggest ways to adapt the material.

2. Not capturing localized elements of the user interface

When you translate eLearning content for an app, website, or software program, you need to ensure that all screen captures and video walkthroughs also show the localized content.

For example, if you translate an article showing users how to save a file, you need to ensure that any screenshots of the UI are of the localized version. You will also need to make sure that any explanatory text uses the same names for buttons, menus, etc., as the UI.

Your localization provider will be able to help you with website localization, software localization, or mobile app localization.

3. Not translating graphic elements

Any graphic elements with translatable text (images, charts, etc.) within an eLearning course or article must also be localized.

This may include images that we do not think of as “translatable,” such as a picture of a stop sign or a taxi. In Japan, stop signs are triangular, so a red octagon may not trigger the same context for a Japanese learner. Similarly, a bright yellow sedan says “taxi” to many Americans and Canadians, but Costa Ricans will not infer the same meaning—their taxis are red.

Even in cases where an image does not have words, choosing a more local image can make the content more relevant to the learner and avoid situations where a poorly chosen image might cause offence.

You might want to have your localization partner takes care of your post-translation desktop publishing (DTP), as they are experienced in working around text expansions, placement of right-to-left text, and making other necessary modifications in foreign text.

4. Not allotting enough space for translated text

English is a relatively concise language. What takes 100 characters to say in English might require 130 characters in Spanish or 150 in German.

Developers should keep this in mind when creating eLearning content. There needs to be space for the increased character counts that come with localized content.

5. Not testing the eLearning content within the software

Once translations have been compiled, they will need to be tested inside the eLearning software itself.

Your QA testers—who should be able to read the language being tested—will look for several types of errors:

  • Misspellings, typos, and other minor linguistic errors
  • Display issues, such as text that appears cut off or accented characters that appear as boxes
  • Correct placement of localized images, videos, etc.
  • Hyperlinks not pointing to translated content
  • Functionality issues, especially when it comes to quizzes or other testing

Some issues can only be detected once the translations have been incorporated into the software, so it is important to perform a round of testing afterward.

Partnering With Art One to Translate eLearning Content

Art One Translations relies on market-leading technology and a team of subject matter experts to translate each eLearning course our clients trust us with.

We have experience with a range of popular eLearning platforms, including Adobe Captivate, Docebo, Camtasia, and Articulate Storyline 360. We translate eLearning in its entirety, including all elements of your eLearning material, such as multimedia content and put the finished product through a rigorous testing process.

To learn more about how Art One can translate eLearning content for your company, contact us today. 

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