I always thought that translating eLearning modules into different languages was a big deal, and it seemed to be a more complicated task than actually programming a module from scratch. But that was before I got to work with Storyline 360.
From my experience, I would say that Storyline 360 reduces the time spent on translating the eLearning modules by at least 50%. I could be exaggerating, but I was blown away when I learned how to do it with this software. That being said, there is more to it than just exporting the text, translating it and then re-importing it, into the eLeanring module.
Here are a few useful tips that may be helpful, when you want to translate your eLearning modules into French or other different languages:
1. Accounting for space on the eLeanring screen.
It is important to know what the original language is and what language your eLearning module is being translated into. For the sake of this post, let’s say the original language of the module is English (it can be another language, like Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, you call it) however knowing what language you are translating the eLeanring module into is important, as some languages when translated will take up more text on the eLearning screen, then others. For example, when converting an eLearning module from English to French, anticipate that the text will be 30% longer then the original English eLeanring module.
So, the difficulty arises when you import your French text into a module that was originally in English, you will notice that most of the text is out of bounds and some activities look terribly formatted in French.
That’s why it is important, in the design phase, to account for the space that other languages will need, and may occupy on the eLearning screen. Always try to design your layout so that it has the necessary space, or so that it can be re-formatted easily for other languages. For example, try not to use excessively large fonts, and leave blank spaces around images and text areas; in terms of graphic design, you will notice that layouts with plenty of blank spaces around content areas, tend to look more trendy and professional, as compared to modules where the content is cramped up.
2. Exporting the Text from the eLeanring Module
Thankfully, Storyline 360 offers a feature that allows you to export all the text to a word document or to XLIFF (Which is an XML standard for localiztion) that can be used by translators to easily do their job.
But before exporting, or trying to export the text, always make sure your Storyline 360 copy is up to date. It has been a common issue (at least from my experience) that if my installation is not updated, Storyline won’t be able to export the text from the module.
If you are not familiar with Storyline 360, here is a screenshot of where you can find this very useful tool:
After you export your translation document from Storyline 360, you will have a word document that has the following structure:
You are now ready to start the translation.
3. Respecting the eLearning Formatting
This part of the process, requires special care. When you export your Word translation document from Storyline, and open it in Microsoft Word, you will notice that all the text has it’s own formatting, like font size, colour and even alignment.
Don’t modify the formatting of the text at all, even though it will look very strange and different from how it looks in your eLeanring module. This means, do not change anything about what the font (e.g. the size, style, colour etc), since by changing it will result on undesired results when re-importing the file into Storyline 360.
Make sure your translation department is aware of this, when submitting your documents for translation, as one change to the text details, could have significant results when importing the translated text back into the eLearning module.
For more details and tips and tricks on using Articulate Storyline to create eLearning modules in different languages, contact Pathways Training and eLearning Inc at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-888-961-6011 extension 121 or extension 122.