Why Translate Your Training Materials and eLearning Courses?
If you find yourself wondering if translation of your existing courses is the next step, this blog is for you.
Translation usually happens out of need. You either:
- Find yourself in the position of international expansion, or
- Your company is local with a large second-language population
Over the years, there’s been debate on the latter. This blog isn’t for that debate. It’s simply to give you pointers on a good translation that works.
Two Key Aspects of a Good Translation
- Beware of cultural references, especially if a language is spoken in multiple countries. It will have different variations and a word may carry a different meaning.
- Understand that word-by-word translations are significantly different than translations done for content meaning.
Choose the Right Translator for Your Training Materials
Chances are your materials are already in the original language, which for this example, we’ll say it’s English. And, it turns out, you need them translated into Spanish. You can either:
- Send them to a translation agency
- Have someone in-house who speaks Spanish translate them
The following are tips and food for thought on both.
1. Send Them to a Translation Agency
This option is great because it doesn’t take away from your employee’s job, which is likely not translation but something else having to do with your company. If you go with this option, be sure to assign a Subject Matter Expert (SME) who represents your company to your chosen translation agency.
Remember that while they’re experts at their work, you’re the expert at yours. The translation agency doesn’t work on your field and they’ll need help with meaning from time to time. It’ll be good for them to pick up the phone and ask your SME questions for clarification.
2. Have Someone In-house Who Speaks the Language Translate Your Documents
While your employee is highly excited at the chance, remember that translation is a job of its own. Because they’re super willing to help, they may end up:
- Working overtime to complete this project
- Working outside of work hours to complete this project (this is HR sensitive)
Keep in mind you’ve just assigned them a completely different position that is a career for some. So be careful. You and them, although good-intentioned, may be biting more than you can chew.
Last Tip About Translation: Bilingual Speakers and Translators
Being bilingual doesn’t necessarily make your employee a translator. Many professional translators have undergone different schooling, possess up-to-date tools to make their job proficient, know when the term is appropriate, and differentiate when to use word-for-word versus meaning, amongst other skills.
Hire an Instructional Designer With Translation Experience
It’s a plus when the person you hire to create your training materials is proficient in the original and target languages, and has translation experience. They’ll be able to translate and, since they created the material, this reduces the time it takes to go to SMEs. Thus, making translating more efficient.
If you do hire an Instructional Designer with multiple language experience, be sure to compensate as appropriate. After all, translating is a job of its own.
Who Are We?
We are Miranda Park Learning, your instructional design experts. When you need your training materials created or translated into English, Spanish or French, contact us. We’ll be happy to help you. And, if you need other language translation, we’re well connected within the industry to refer you to the right person for your project.
Picture: Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels
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