Localization for E-Learning

Localization for E-Learning

Diana Karel-Longuevergne (WhP International, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-989-7.ch015


Localization and translation often go ‘hand in hand’, as explained in the first chapter, but as this author explains and illustrates, localization requires the skills of an experienced professional or company to address cultural nuances in e-learning that could, if not addressed, have a negative impact on learners, on learning, and in some cases, on business. In this chapter, you learn how names, characters, wordplay, technical jargon, geoculturalism, etc. in e-learning courses should be addressed so that users sense that the course was developed ‘locally’, for them. In addition, avoid the ‘technological pitfalls’ related to embedded text, audio and video synchronization, and so forth.
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I. E-Learning And Culture

The e-learning course must somehow be able to replace the teacher. It must, therefore, carry all the cultural references that the teacher usually uses during his or her class. Localizing e-learning content not only means translating them from a source language to a target language, it also requires a real cultural adaptation phase. For this reason, translation memories (TMs) have to be used with great care, for some content has to be completely rewritten and ideas sometimes need to be reorganized in order to meet the target country’s requirements.

The main objective of an e-learning course is to convey knowledge and skills. The learner should, therefore, be in a smooth learning environment and not feel stressed by any confusion created by misunderstood or missed cultural references. This section will, therefore, provide a few tips and hints that will help the learner feel completely immersed in an e-learning course.

The localization of some items may be quite obvious; for instance, the units of the imperial system (foot, ounce, pound, etc.) to be converted into the metric system (metre, litre, kilogram, etc.), Fahrenheit into Celsius, time and date formats to adapt according to the target country (yyyy/mm/dd, mm/dd/yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy, etc). There are, however, a number of less common cultural markers that we would like to highlight as they appear more often in e-learning courses than in software, technical or other sales and marcom documentation.

The following examples all come from projects that WhP International - a localization company based in France - has recently carried out for various customers, and are gathered by category.

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