With the worldwide e-Learning industry exceeding the size of the translation and localization industry after recent massive international growth, the needs for translation and localization of eLearning material has increased significantly over the last 5 years. While global growth is everywhere, India, China and Malaysia are doubling their consumption of eLearning content every 2 years, leading growth rates in the industry.
Some of the most popular eLearning rapid authoring tools are iSpring Suite, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline. Here, we will delve into the details of using Articulate Storyline and discuss the translation and localization challenges that one faces while converting Storyline content from one into multiple languages.
Articulate Storyline translation and localization challenges
Localization of e-learning projects developed in Articulate Studio is available through the strong Articulate Storyline translation feature. It allows the export, and later the import, of Articulate-related text including Presenter player elements (slide titles, navigation buttons, player tabs, etc.), embedded quizzes, and embedded interactions.
With many modules, parts and pieces involved in the process, the translation effort requires a well-coordinated plan. Numerous skills are required to address the different project challenges and should be led by an experienced project manager with strong understanding of the tool, its abilities and limitations! He or she will ensure that the right resources with the needed language, voice and technical skills are involved to make the different components of the project fall in their rightful places.
While the translation features are wonderful to have, there are still many challenges to overcome before producing quality output. Here is a short list of things to watch out for:
- Even small Articulate projects may involve more than 100 files! Exported and translated XLIFF or DOC files should import back without structure or character encoding issues into the project with text formatting intact. This could be a daunting task for the unprepared.
- Correcting character encoding and manual efforts are needed for unsupported languages. Confirm the language that you need and make sure it is supported by the software. If it is not, you can still use Articulate if you have the right team working on addressing character encoding and other technical issues.
- Keep in mind that the import/export feature does not work on all that requires translation. For instance, PowerPoint slide content and notes need to be handled separately, then audio re-recorded and video re-created for each target language, independently.
- There are other miscellaneous areas in the project that should also be addressed manually, such as the Articulate players interface text.
Not following the above requirements correctly will create the following unintended but highly noticeable issues:
- Text from Articulate exported files will be imported in the incorrect place,
- Misplaced or incorrect text format in the localized output, and/or
- Non-localized or junk text appearing in the output.
Storyline multilingual audio production challenges
Handling translation is one undertaking, handling the audio is a complete different one! Needless to say, you will also face many challenges dealing with the audio files and handling the necessary voice-recording sessions.
Since there are often 100’s of audio files, meticulous project preparation is needed to ensure that all audio files are properly transcribed, translated, recorded and end up in the correct quiz questions or slides. Furthermore, the instructions given to the voice talents recording the audio assets are very important in producing the correct audio files in all needed languages. Lastly, importation and synchronization of the audio with the animation, including placing silence intervals and annotations in the correct position in time and at the correct place are of paramount importance to produce quality work.
Failure to properly address the audio file recording, importing and synchronization issues will result in the following consequences:
- Original audio, instead of translated one, heard in the output,
- Output missing certain audio clips,
- Audio coupled with incorrect text on the slide or quiz interaction, and/or
- Animation or text out of sync with audio.
Go ahead, translate eLearning content, but…
Articulate is to be commended for the significant improvements in multilingual handling of its Storyline content. They have added many useful features that have reduced the time needed and the costs involved in localizing and translating eLearning content. Also, with the ability to export text in XLIFF or DOC formats, one can use Translation Memory tools to help leverage previous translations and further reduce cots!
But people that are involved in your multilingual Articulate production still have to be language, voice/audio recording and technical experts. Taking shortcuts through the process can severely degrade the final output quality, distracting users and deterring them from achieving their maximum learning potential!
When it comes to producing highly professional eLearning multilingual content, it is still best to hire an experienced translation and localization company!