What is the Best Way to Translate eLearning Content?

You’ve made the important decision to translate your eLearning content, now what? With all the options for translation available, it can be a little overwhelming thinking of where to begin. Do you ask a bilingual speaker whom you know or work with to translate? How about just doing it yourself using Google Translate or a similar service? Or, should you bite the bullet and invest in a professional translation company? It is important to compare these options by considering the pros and cons of each one.

Do I Hire a Bilingual Speaker?

Perhaps you happen to know or work with someone who is bilingual and willing to translate for you at minimal to no cost. While it may be appealing to save some money by going this route, there is one very important factor to consider: fluency in a language is completely different than fluency in the language of a specialized industry. Essentially, your translator would need to be fluent in 4 different languages: English, the other language, your industry language in English, and your industry language in the other language. There are simply too many possibilities for error.

How About a Service Like Google Translate?

Google Translate works just fine when your translating needs are not necessarily in a professional arena. For example, if you are going on vacation to a foreign country or need to speak in a casual way with someone who doesn’t speak English, Google Translate can work OK. However, there is so much more to translating eLearning content than just converting the individual words from one language to another. If it is done the wrong way, sentences and phrases could come across as nonsensical or, even worse, offensive. It is a real possibility that you could lose clients and have to re-do everything from scratch.

Do I Invest in a Professional Language Company?

As touched upon, language translation is a complex business that, when done incorrectly, can cost you clients, time, and money. You could risk coming across as unprofessional or culturally insensitive, which is a reputation that is not at all easy to repair. Really, the only way to be completely confident in your eLearning content translation is by partnering with a translation company that has done it before and has done it well. In the long run, it is a decision that will likely save you money and help you avoid the many headaches that come with having inaccurately translated eLearning content.

The Answer is Clear.

In choosing an eLearning translation company, it is important to empower yourself by doing some research. Arm yourself with knowledge by asking around your industry network, reading lots of reviews, and interviewing potential vendors. A reputable translation company will carefully review your eLearning materials and take note of any industry-specific terms, acronyms, and other language nuances to ensure that your content is translated correctly the first time. While it can seem like a daunting process, choosing the right translation company is a vital first step in getting your eLearning materials translated precisely and accurately.

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