Programming tips: Successfully translating eLearning into different languages using Storyline – Part


I always thought 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.

From my experience, I would say that Storyline reduces the time spent on translating the eLearning modules at least in 50%. I could be exaggerating, but I was blown away when I learned how to do it with this software. However, there is more to it than just exporting the text, translating it and then re-import it.

Here are a few tips you may encounter useful when you want to translate your eLearning modules to different languages:

Accounting for the space

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 perfectly be another language, like Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, you call it) and what I have is that, as much as it is a beautiful language, it is also a language that occupies less space compared to, say, French.

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 bounds and some activities look terribly formatted in French.

That’s why it is important, on the design phase, to account for the space that other languages we need, may occupy. 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, 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.

Exporting the text

Thankfully, Storyline offers a feature that allows to export all the text to a word document 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 copy is up to date. It has been a common issue (at least from 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, here is a screenshot of where you can find this very useful tool:


After you export your translation document from Storyline, you will have a word document that has the following structure:


You are now ready to start the translation.

Respecting the formatting

This part of special care. When you export your 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.

By no means modify the formatting of the text. This means, do not change anything of what the font looks like, since by changing it will result on undesired results when re-importing the file into Storyline.

Make sure your translation department is aware of this when submitting your documents for translation.

This is the end of part 1 for these tips on how to successfully translate Storyline modules to other languages, stay tuned for the second and last part of this series of posts. In the meantime, if you want to know more about eLearning and different technologies that can be used, feel free to visit our website and blogs at www.pathwaystrainingandelearning.com

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