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E-Learning: Localization

elearning translation services

Last updated on May 3rd, 2021 at 02:36 pm

elearning-localization-processAfter the e-learning course has been internationalized, the localization process begins.  Localization is the adaptation of e-learning course material into multiple languages.

The goal of localization is to make the course appropriate and useful to each target audience.  A translation of the course is not enough.  Adaptation is key and there are three levels of adaptions involved in the localization process.

Forms of Adaptation

1) Substantive adaptation
2) Cultural adaptation
3) Linguistic adaptation

Substantive Adaptation

In this phase, we do as much as possible to make the course suitable and appropriate for audiences in different locales.  Actions involved, including changing the course material or its “substance” to make it understandable to specific audiences from different locales.  Examples of “substance” that needs to be changed include:

  • Rules & regulations that differ for each geographical area
  • Vocabulary & terminology will also vary in different regions
  • Abbreviations– not all abbreviations make sense or mean the same thing everywhere

Cultural Adaptation

This process involves making the course content understandable and acceptable to a specific culture.  This requires a thorough understanding of the target culture, regarding but not limited to – the following elements:

  • Forms of addressing people are extremely case-sensitive.  In U.S culture, it is appropriate in many instances to address employees by their first name.  In Spanish culture (and many others), there are two forms of address to pay attention to: Formal and informal.  Depending on the tone and type of material of the course, one form will be appropriate rather than the other.
  • Use of graphics and photographs are also case-sensitive.  Visual appearance is the first thing people notice, and it is wise to make sure that the images being used in a course program is acceptable to each target culture.  The color red, for instance, is associated with good luck and happiness in China.  In the Middle East, red evokes feelings of danger and negativity.

Linguistic Adaptation

Linguistic adaptation is the translation process.  Besides translating course material, this phase also requires a technical understanding of how the course program works, and the techniques to use for its testing.  Elements that may be affected by the linguistic adaptation include:

  • Text input fields
  • User Interface
  • Text descriptions in graphic images

And with localization, we’ve made our e-learning course suitable for each target culture to use.  Our analogical “house” has been well furnished and decorated, and ready for the person/group to move into.

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.