Do you have training materials needing translation into another language, but are unsure of the best route to take? This article will describe the various types of eLearning and training applications and provide some insight into the world of the language industry in order to help you make an informed decision about the direction you’d like to take to have this work completed. Your final goal should be to receive training materials accurately translated and localized for your specific audience.
Human Versus Machine & AI Translation Methods
Using machine translation means that your content is translated literally and word-for-word. This method can suffice in instances where nuance and subtlety aren’t important, and when your readers just need to get the gist of what is being said. This method is less appropriate or effective in situations where grammar and context are important, or where the reader may need a full and thorough understanding of the source content. It’s become increasingly popular for some language service providers to offer what’s called Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE). This process involves content being translated by a machine and then edited by a human linguist, whose job it is to “clean up” the machine’s work. This method is faster than using all native-speaking human linguists, but comes with its own challenges. The main issue is that the machine often cannot provide proper sentence structure or accurately recognize and replicate the context of your source material. This means that the human linguist often needs to re-translate the majority of the machine’s original work.
When your content needs to be accurately localized for a specific region or demographic, there is no substitute for using two native-speaking linguists for your project. The first linguist will translate the content and the second will review the original translation, ensuring no errors were made. Both linguists will focus on translating using the proper conventions of your target language, and being mindful of the cultural nuances of your target audience. These important nuances are what distinguish one culture from another, and they include things such as etiquette, figurative speech, units of currency or measurement, and even legal requirements. This two-person method of translation and editing should be used any time accuracy is required, context is important, and your localized content needs to be thoroughly understood by your target audience.
Benefits of Using a Company with Native-Speaking Subject Matter Experts
Language service companies who use native-speaking human linguists have the ability to find the ideal subject matter experts for your project. These translators and editors will have specific levels of education and will hold certifications (technical, medical, legal, etc.) that make them uniquely suited to produce an informed and nuanced translation of your source material. You may also ask your language service company to use linguists who can translate at specific reading levels, or who have familiarity with a specific region or dialect. This way, you can be sure that any specific cultural nuances relevant to your content and target audience are appropriately addressed.
Full Engineering of eLearning/Training Courses Versus Straight Translation
Regardless of the platform or application your training courses are built in, you’ll need to decide if you want to receive the translation from your vendor in a straight-text format that your team can engineer into the course themselves, or whether you’ll want the course localized and engineered so that you receive fully-formatted and ready-to-use material. This can include providing voice-over or subtitling imbedded into videos, fitting the potentially expanded translated text within the space constraints of your course, or having the native-speaking linguist review the final material for proper sentence structure and functionality, with the latter being important if your team would otherwise be working with a language where they do not know what the text or characters mean. If a company has a proven history of completing these projects across a variety of formats, you can feel much more confident that your translated training is going to be clearly and accurately understood by your target audience.
Understanding What’s Being Offered Helps You Make the Ideal Choice
With the information covered in this article, you now have a better understanding of how language service companies will handle your eLearning translation projects, and are better prepared to be sure that your choice of language service provider will meet your needs. In most cases, if you receive multiple quotes and see dramatically different rates represented, the differences in processes explained above are quite likely the reason. You should always ask questions to be sure that you are comparing apples-to-apples when it comes to accuracy, process and quality control.
Brian LeVene, Translation & Localization National Sales Executive
Brian has been with the Language Link team for almost six years. During this time, he has held various roles including localization and voice-over quote specialist and manager of the inside sales team. For the past three years, he has been responsible for translation and audio-video sales, with a strong focus on the eLearning and training industry.
About Language Link
At Language Link, we excel at helping our customers grow their brands through our translation and interpretation services. Headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and incorporated in 1991, Language Link has more than 27 years of experience as a full-service multilingual communication agency. We have highly qualified linguists working in over 240 languages and dialects. We also offer a comprehensive suite of translation options, including audio visual services, eLearning translation and website localization, as well as Over-the-Phone and Video Remote Interpretation.