A Comprehensive Guide To eLearning Translation And Localisation

e-learning translation and localisation

Table of Contents


With every skill training becoming accessible, thanks to the rapid growth of the online education industry, learning things online has become the new normal. So, you can imagine my disappointment when I bought a photography course to see a pathetic translation and miserable sync between the video and audio. It was impossible to get through! 

The biggest benefit of creating eLearning resources is that there is no physical boundary on how many people it can reach and benefit. But for that, it needs to be optimised for the global audience (or whichever part of it is your audience). Whether it’s a short video or an interactive eLearning module, users need to understand what they are reading or viewing fast and easily.

This article is about the crucial role played by eLearning translation and localisation. It explains what each process involves; outlines the benefits of using these processes; demonstrates why you should use them both together; and provides a detailed step-by-step guide on how to implement these practices efficiently in your projects.

What is eLearning translation?

Translation is converting the text of the eLearning resource from one language to another. This is essential if your eLearning content is going to be viewed by an audience in more than one language.

What is eLearning localisation?

Localisation refers to adapting eLearning content so that it is relevant, accessible and understandable to users within a specific geographic region or culture. It goes beyond simply translating the content from one language to other and makes sure that the audience gets the same experience as viewing their native content.

Benefits of eLearning translation and localisation

Translating and localising your eLearning content is crucial for getting the most out of your investment in creating eLearning resources. Here are a few examples of the benefits you’ll reap:

Reach more potential customers:

Your translated eLearning content can reach a much larger audience than you currently reach. You can choose to cover as many languages and demographics as you want to cater to.

Preserve and improve your brand perception:

Without proper translation and localisation, you might inadvertently offend people from different backgrounds. That doesn’t reflect well on your brand. On the other hand, a job well done here can earn your brand a lot of brownie points.

Makes content more relatable:

Localised eLearning content is relatable and hence easy to consume. Since comprehension is better, the focus/engagement will improve.

Maximum resource utilisation:

Creating an eLearning resource takes a lot of time and effort. Translating and localising the same content to cater to a larger audience will let you get the most out of it.

eLearning content translation and localisation process

Figure out your action plan

The eLearning translation and localisation process comes with a lot of challenges that might cause delays. Planning well in advance can help you escape last-minute hiccups.

Prepare your base content

The first thing you need to do is prepare the base content of your eLearning course in the primary language. Collate the script, images, or any other content you need to use in your eLearning module. Make sure that the material has no errors and ambiguity as this is going to be used to translate to all the other languages.

Relevant: How to Create Engaging eLearning Courses with Instructional Design

Work with reputed eLearning translation and eLearning localisation service providers

You can choose to hire a team to do it in-house, but it’s going to be a lot of hassle. Instead, opt for a reputed language service provider, as eLearning translation and localisation is a very specialised field. Define your translation and localisation requirements clearly to the language service providers to avoid any confusion.

At Translate by Humans, we offer a specialised eLearning localisation service that allows you to localise your content in 180+ languages. From transcription by native speakers to dubbing and voiceovers, we have everything in one place. With a dedicated project manager and a quick turnaround time, we assure high-quality output.

Localising source codes

When you are creating eLearning content, most of the time you need to localise the source codes to add translated content. These codes are used by the software to display text on the screen. While you can also use image files to create different images for different audiences, it is recommended that you use source codes because source codes:

Test your finished product

After you have created your eLearning content and localised it, it’s important to test your product thoroughly. You can do this by distributing your eLearning content to beta testers before making it live. Check how well they can understand, take their feedback and make changes if necessary. Then you are good to go!

Best practices

Avoid machine translation:

If you are planning to save money by using machine translation, you may have to re-translate the whole content later on. This can increase your costs significantly. Machine translation can be useful for a quick and approximate translation, but it’s not suitable for eLearning translation and cannot match the accuracy provided by eLearning translation companies.

Avoid embedding text in images and videos:

If you add text to your images and videos, you have to edit them in each language you choose to localise your content to. This is an unnecessary complication. Avoiding text in these places will save a lot of time and resources.

Get a typical customer to review your content:

It is advised that you get someone who represents your target audience to review the course before taking it live. Your beta tester can’t be anyone. They have to be from your target audience itself.

Choose function over fancy:

It can be tempting to add fancy attributes to eLearning content like animation, infographics, etc. Do so only if you have the bandwidth and the time that it will take to re-create it or edit it to multiple languages. Otherwise, it is better to stick with functional elements that can be easily adapted to other languages.

Keep it concise and add white space:

It is best to keep the primary content concise and add enough white space since translation to another language can expand the length on an average by 30%.

Avoid slang:

Slang words and phrases in one language might not have an alternative in another language. So, avoid it in the primary content. It makes the translators' job very difficult. The back and forth of queries it might lead to is not worth it.


eLearning content creators need to understand how best to implement translation and localisation in their courses to reach as many learners as possible. While specialised eLearning translation companies and eLearning  content localisation service providers like Translate by Humans can take care of the most challenging aspects of it, creators still need to be aware of the process and its nuances to plan ahead and execute the plan flawlessly. 

If you are planning to launch an eLearning resource for your company or audience and need more guidance, you can talk to our experts and have all your doubts resolved. 

Bhumika Thaker

Bhumika Thaker

Bhumika Thaker is a Content Writer at Translate By Humans. A former Mass Communication & Journalism student who relies on non-fiction books for regular dopamine boost and creativity enhancement. She loves to explore new places and immerse in adventurous experiences but being a working mother she's always in search for some 'Me Time'.
Bhumika Thaker

Bhumika Thaker

Bhumika Thaker is a Content Writer at Translate By Humans. A former Mass Communication & Journalism student who relies on non-fiction books for regular dopamine boost and creativity enhancement. She loves to explore new places and immerse in adventurous experiences but being a working mother she's always in search for some 'Me Time'.

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