Localizing Your E-learning Content – 4 Mistakes to Avoid

Localizing Your E-learning Content - 4 Mistakes to Avoid

How can you localize the content of your e-learning course effectively? What does it take to translate your online course into the desired language(s), rapidly, at low cost? Well, you need to avoid 4 common, major mistakes. Let us see what they are and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1 – NOT providing enough space for an increase in the length of text

This is arguably the most common mistake committed in the localization of e-learning courses. It is important to remember that the length of the text of a translated online course is not always the same as its English version. For example, a piece of text in English translated into German can be longer by about 20%. Therefore, you need to provide adequate space in the slides of your e-learning course to accommodate “extra” text.

Mistake 2 – NOT using a translation-friendly font in the “original” course

The choice of the right font goes a long way in ensuring your localized online course delivers good learning experiences. You need to be careful about the font you use. To the extent possible, use system fonts which support character libraries for all target languages such as Arial Unicode MS. It is advisable to avoid licensed or custom fonts. However, if you need to go in for custom fonts, see that the font is available for all platforms, including Macintosh systems and PCs. This would ensure the translated e-learning content is rendered effectively, irrespective of the device used.

Mistake 3 – NOT checking the consistency between translated notes and localized voiceover

This is another common mistake committed during the localization of e-learning courses. When you develop the English version of the course using rapid authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline, there is a danger of a mismatch between the translated notes and localized narration. This is because you can apply notes only to the base layer, while your audio may be spread across multiple sub-layers. This problem can be overcome by using caption objects, instead of notes, to display the text.

Mistake 4 – NOT using slide layers in a proper manner

You need to ensure that the slide layers are not cluttered with text. In cases where an entire slide changes on a learner action, it is better to add multiple sub-layers and use triggers. Triggering does not affect the localization of your e-learning course as the logic used to create the triggers is not exported for translation and remains the same for all languages. It is also advisable to limit the number of animated objects in each layer because a lot of effort is needed to resynchronize the animations after translating the online course content.


To localize your e-learning course effectively, you need to focus on the following aspects:

  • Provide enough space in the English version of the course to accommodate the expanded text in the target language
  • Use a translation-friendly font such as Arial Unicode MS
  • Ensure consistency between translated notes and localized voiceover
  • Utilize the slide layers in an effective manner

Hope you liked this post. How do you translate your e-learning content? We’d love to know.

View E-book on How to Translate E-learning Courses Effectively

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