E-learning forms part of the education and corporate training spaces and is a prominent aspect of the translation business. Beyond the various forms and structures, there are primary commonalities across most e-learning modules from the localization perspective.
Most e-learning modules have an on-screen and an audio component that are translatable. Further, there are visuals and animations that are not translatable but need to be synchronised with the translatable elements both spatially and temporally.
Process of E-Learning Localization at WordPar
The e-learning localization process includes three parallel processes. We identify them broadly as translation, voice-over and integration. Although the three processes flow in chronological order, the preparations to these run parallel to each other and must overlap to ensure coordination and timely execution of the overall project.
A. Preparation for Translation & Voice-Over
In the initial stages of a project, we analyse the requirement of the client. This happens over exchange of various e-mails and face-to-face discussions. This is followed by an analysis of the technical requirements, specifications and formats of deliverables. The templates for exchange of text and audio formats. We then create a project report (proposal) and share with the client.
Separation of Translatable and Non-Translatable Content
In the next stage, we separate the translatable and non-translatable components of the script. We ensure that this does not disrupt the working templates of the client and try to find functional solutions to make our work distinguishable from theirs. The clients often help in making this distinction easier for our linguists.
Next, we need to distinguish between on-screen (readable) content from narrated (audible). content This is essential as it has a bearing on the style and manner of translation. Although there might be an overlap for most of the readable and audible contents, there is bound to be variations in many cases. Audio content is usually more elaborate than on-screen content, which tends to be succinct. While audio content is continuous and comprises large sentences, visual content usually comprises bullet points, phrases and headers. It is ideal to have separate columns of documents for either content.
Correlation of Text with Online Design
It is important that the translators and localizers have an overview of how the text and audio are going to appear on screen. Clients often provide the final design of the presentations. The linguists will refer to these while writing their translations. They familiarise themselves with the online modules ahead of the actual translation.
Insertion of Cue-Points
Another important step ahead of the actual translation is marking of cues. Both the linguists and the integrators need to know the points of transition of animations within and between slides. If the client has not already done so, the localizing team will, in consultation with the design team of the client, mark the cue points.
Voice Talent Selection
While the scripts and on-screen texts are being prepared for translation, at the same time voice samples for the human voiceover are shared with and selected by the client. The selected voice talents are hired for the time period when the scripts are expected to be ready.
Digital Voice-Over Tool Training
Many e-learning modules require the use of digital voice-over. In this case, we need to train the linguists on the features and functionalities of the tools such as Amazon Polly for example. We study the tool and prepare a brief training module for our linguists who will need to work with the files. In the interest of time, we limit the training to the features that are specifically required for the project.
A typical training module consists of the following:
- steps to access to tool,
- tags and codes required for adding modulation, intonation and pauses
- cue-points for breaking text into separate audio files,
- naming conventions and
- delivery instructions.
After clearing the deck, the translation process in initiated. The team of translators firstly prepares an extensive glossary comprising the following aspects:
- industry- and organisation-specific phrases
Interaction with the localizing team is essential at this stage. The client reviews and makes suggestions.
An initial sample of substantial size is delivered to the client. Review by the client is crucial at this stage. This obviates the possibility of a cascading effect of errors in the rest of the work. Based on the feedback from the client, the rest of the translation is undertaken.
The work is then reviewed by a team of localizers. Potential issues in localizing are identified, discussed with the client and rectified ahead of submission.
Client Feedback & Sign-Off
The client reviews the translation. They suggest changes or may raise queries. Once satisfied, the client will sign-off and approve the translated content for the next stages.
Human Voice Recording
The voice-over artistes record the narration script. They bear in mind the division of audio files based on the cue-points provided. Attention is paid to pacing, stress, intonation and modulation based on the client guidelines. Prosodic elements are carefully addressed and integrated.
Digital Voice Creation
Linguists who were trained on the digital voice-over tools implement the guidelines to create the audio files. They check the audio output for pauses and other prosodic features. They name the final files and store them in the relevant folder structure. They also preserve a copy of the script including the codes used. This is essential for future editing by the client, reviewer or localizer.
Rearranging of visuals based on syntax
On-screen visuals may require rearrangement. Sequences of animations, elements or even slides may need to be altered. Visual elements on screen may need to be adapted based on the syntax of the target language. The localizers do this task in consultation with the design team.
The localizers then synchronise the audio with the visuals. They pay attention to animations and transitions of slides while matching the timing of the narration. The utterance of headers and announcement of animated or other bullet points requires close attention.
The localizers will then proofread the localised slides and check the timing, sequence and transition of the narration and how it matches the visuals. They will make changes where necessary.
Hyperlinks and references are tested from the linguistic point of view. The localizing team will test that text, audio and menus appear correctly when accessing slides and views in random order. Other functional elements will also be tested in order to ensure a user-friendly appearance of the tutorial.