Translating and Localizing in eLearning: Taking a joy ride with your language GPS

Picture yourself, cruising down the road, with the wind in your hair and the freedom of the open road ahead. You feel confident and ‘en route’, with your trusty GPS leading the way to your destination. But then, imagine if your GPS started speaking in a foreign language! It would be disorienting and might throw you off your game. However, that’s just a momentary setback.

Introducing Loco, the self-proclaimed king of the road and expert navigator. Today he is taking us on a journey through the world of Translation and Localization in eLearning.

As Loco revs up his engine, which, to be honest, sounds like a unique mix between a chainsaw and the sound of a heavy metal drum solo, he’s ready to make an impression. He’s eager to showcase his expertise in both real-life navigation and the virtual world of eLearning. Hold on to your seats and get ready for an exciting journey with Loco as your guide!

He confidently reaches for his GPS, only to find it speaking a language of its own.

‘Just my luck!’, he mutters to himself.
As he sets out on his journey, he realizes that Translation and Localization are just like driving a car. No matter how advanced the technology and features may be, if you can’t understand the road signs, you’re bound to get lost.

‘What in tarnation is a ‘GIRAR A LA DERECHA’ anyway? Sounds like something a cockatoo would say!’, he retorts frustrated with himself.

He should have taken the time to learn the language and understand the local culture before embarking on his journey.

Buckle up and join Loco on his Loco Lewis Express road trip through the world of translation and localization in eLearning. It may be a bumpy ride, but the destination is well worth it.

And who knows, with a little effort and a bit of learning, maybe he will even be able to understand the instructions from his ‘foreign GPS’.

Translation vs. Localization: What’s the difference?

Translation and localization in eLearning are the processes and methods used to adapt content to an audience in a different language or culture. This can involve translating texts, images, audios, and videos, as well as making sure that the overall tone and style of the content are appropriate for the target audience.

Translation is the process of converting written text from one language to another, while Localization takes it a step further.

There are two types of localization: Cultural Localization and Technical Localization.
Technical Localization ( full localization), involves creating a new course based on the translation of the master course, without changing the content.

Cultural localization involves adapting the content and design to suit the local culture, language, and customs.

The example of localizing Loco’s navigation app ties into the localization process in eLearning in a few ways. First, translating his app’s text into the local language is similar to translating course content for a new target audience. Second, adapting the interface to suit local driving regulations is similar to adapting multimedia elements in an eLearning course to make them more culturally appropriate and engaging for the target audience.

Finally, modifying the app’s structure and navigation to suit local preferences is similar to modifying the course structure and navigation in an eLearning course to improve its effectiveness and user experience.

Both translation and localization are essential when creating eLearning courses that will be used by people globally. By taking the time to ensure that your content is accessible and culturally relevant, you can make sure that everyone has a positive and productive learning experience.

Benefits of Translating and Localizing your eLearning content.

When our adventurous driver travels abroad with his trusty GPS, he’s not just navigating unfamiliar roads. He’s also diving into new cultures, contexts, and experiences. And, just like translating and localizing eLearning content, he makes sure his journey is tailored to his surroundings for a smooth ride.

Here are a few reasons why his approach is just like translating and localizing eLearning:

  • Wide open horizons: Just like making eLearning content available in multiple languages, his GPS allows him to explore new territories and reach destinations beyond his comfort zone. No matter where he roams, he knows he’ll be able to navigate easily.
  • Building bridges: To earn the trust of locals and make the most of his travels, Loco adapts to the cultures and languages he encounters. Translating and localizing eLearning content does the same, demonstrating respect for the audience’s background and making the material relatable.
  • Learning adventure: When he immerses himself in new experiences, he’s able to engage with them and remember what he’s learned. Similarly, translating and localizing eLearning content helps learners connect with the material leading to a more fulfilling learner experience.

The Pros and Cons of Client Translation vs. Agency Translation

When it comes to translation, one of the biggest decisions companies face is whether to handle the translation in-house or to outsource it to a professional agency. Each option has its pros and cons, and the choice ultimately depends on various factors, including budget, quality, and timeline. Let’s explore the key benefits and challenges of both client translation and agency translation, so you can make an informed decision for your business.

Let’s examine the pros and cons of each:

Pros of client translation:

  • Cost-effective: The client saves money by doing the translation in-house instead of outsourcing it.
  • Familiar with the content: The client is often the subject matter expert and can provide the most accurate translation for their specific content.
  • Quick turnaround: If the client has a small amount of content to translate, they may be able to complete the work more quickly than an agency would.

Cons of Client translation:

  • Lack of linguistic expertise: The client may not have the language skills or experience needed to produce a high-quality translation.
  • Inconsistent quality: If multiple people within the organization are involved in the translation process, there may be inconsistencies in the final product.
  • Risk of errors: If the client lacks the proper tools and resources, they may produce errors in the translation that can impact the quality and accuracy of the content.

Pros of Agency Translation:

  • Professional expertise: Translation agencies have professional linguists who specialize in translation and localization.
  • High-quality work: With their expertise and experience, agencies can produce high-quality translations that accurately reflect the original content.
  • Consistent quality: Agencies often have quality control processes in place to ensure consistent and accurate translations.

Cons of Agency Translation:

  • Cost: Translation agencies often charge higher rates than in-house translation, which can make outsourcing more expensive.
  • Time: It can take longer to work with an agency, as they may have a backlog of work and a slower turnaround time.
  • Dependence: If the agency is handling the translation, the client may be more dependent on the agency and have less control over the process.
  • Agencies may not always have the expertise to accurately translate technical terms.

The goal is to accurately ensure that the translations accurately convey the intended meaning and communicates the technical information to the target audience.

Ultimately, the choice between client translation and agency translation depends on a variety of factors, including budget, quality, and timeline. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons and determine the best option for your specific needs.

Avoiding Technical Pitfalls in eLearning Localization: A guide to smooth eLearning cruising

‘I’m not as ‘loco’ as they say, it’s an indisputable fact that I know my way around the e-highway of eLearning Localization.’, he says proudly.
Much like his scenic Spanish road trip, localization can have its challenges, but with the right tools and guidance, you’ll reach your destination in no time, and, perhaps enjoy a post-work super chilled Sangria afterward.

  • Compatibility check: Before setting off, make sure you are equipped for the journey by checking compatibility with your target languages and character sets.
  • Formatting fundamentals: Ensure a polished finish by steering clear of any formatting detours during localization.
  • Multimedia marvels: Don’t forget to pack your multimedia must-haves, including images, audio, and video, to ensure they’re fully localized.
  • Cultural considerations: Along with cultural considerations, it’s also essential to technically create a new course which involves creating a fully translated and localized version of the master course. This process includes translating all the on-screen text, captions, and voiceovers, as well as adapting the multimedia elements and structure to suit the cultural and linguistic requirements of the target audience.


Translation and Localization are two important processes in creating effective eLearning courses for learners who speak different languages or come from different cultures.

The process of translation entails changing spoken or written words from one language to another. This often involves translating the course content in eLearning, as well as text-based components such as captions, on-screen text, and narration scripts.

There are two types of localization in eLearning: technical localization and cultural localization.

Technical Localization involves integrating another language into the master course design without disrupting or modifying the course’s content.

Cultural Localization involves adapting the content and design of the course to suit local cultures, including language traditions and customs. It goes beyond translation and includes localizing elements such as videos, images, and even animation. It takes into account cultural idiosyncrasies such as expressions, humor, and phrases that may not translate well in other languages.

In conclusion, both technical and cultural localization play a critical role in providing effective eLearning content. Cultural localization helps to create an engaging and immersive learning experience, while technical localization ensures that eLearning is functional in different cultural environments.

By incorporating both types of localization in eLearning, businesses can successfully train their global audience and guarantee the highest levels of engagement and learning retention.

At eWyse, we understand the full meaning of the importance of translation and localization in eLearning.

As Confucius once said, ‘The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’.

We believe that small steps in localization can lead to a bigger impact on your eLearning experience. Let us help you take those small stones and turn them into a mountain of success.

As always, it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey!

‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Author: Irena Buha

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