E-Learning Localisation: How to Successfully Localise Your E-Learning Content

Global businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of the power of e-Learning to educate employees, partners and customers around the world.

ELearning saves businesses time and money, and it’s more convenient for trainees as well. However, when your trainees speak different languages and come from different cultures, localised content is essential.

Even if your trainees speak English as a second language, research shows that people learn better in their native language. Presenting information in a culturally relevant fashion also increases understanding.

With that in mind, here are some expert tips for successful e-Learning localisation.

The path to successful e-Learning localisation begins before a single word is translated.

Some types of content are easier to translate than others. By making your original eLearning content localisation-friendly, you save time and money when it’s time to translate it for employees with different languages and cultural backgrounds.

Here are three ways to create content that’s easier to translate:

  • Use simple, easy-to-read formats like bulleted lists.
  • Use clear, direct language- avoid slang, humour and figurative language where possible.
  • Minimise culturally specific references in text, audio and video.

Of course, these recommendations are not going to be suitable for ALL eLearning material. Your training may be more successful with a dose of humour to lighten up dry subject matter, for instance. Or, your compliance training may need to take cultural nuances into account to be effective.

That said, here are two tactics for creating content that’s easy to localise that work with almost all eLearning materials:

  • Allow extra space in your design for text to expand after it’s translated.
  • Avoid embedded text whenever possible. It won’t make your project impossible to translate, but it will make it more difficult, and therefore more costly.

Read more

8 Important Truths About Copywriting for International Audiences

Copywriting for international audiences is more complicated than you might think at first. Advertising and marketing copy depends on culturally and linguistically-specific factors to motivate the audience to act. For example, clever wordplay is challenging to translate, as is humour.

These factors can make it more difficult for international businesses to sell to customers on a global scale.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are eight truths about copywriting for international audiences to increase your odds of success.

Copy is more appealing when it’s in your customers’ native language.

So, make sure your company’s content is available in that language. Yes, that sounds basic. However, since so many people around the world speak at least some English, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s okay to cut corners and write in English for your international audience.

However, research shows that people are more likely to buy products when product information is available in their native language, even if they speak English as well.

There’s no such thing as an “international audience.”

Instead, there are international audiences, plural. Each target market is its own audience requiring a custom approach.

Always be researching.

Research is the foundation of almost all successful marketing and advertising campaigns. However, you can’t assume that the research you did before you came up with your original campaign will carry over to new markets. Here are some sample questions to answer before you even begin:

  • Will your product appeal to the same age groups and personas?
  • Are the demographics the same?
  • Will customers in your new target market consume the same types of media?

Also, it’s essential to understand how your target customers talk. That means you need to know not just what language they speak, but what dialect? Do they speak formally or informally? What about slang? Read more

Hand Signals Around the World

Do you talk with your hands? Many people do. In fact, some researchers claim that up to 70% of human communication is accomplished through body language. Hand signals are a common type of nonverbal communication. But be careful when you’re travelling or addressing someone from another culture. Hand signals aren’t universal, and you might be saying something unintended or even offensive with yours.

For example, here are six common hand signals with different meanings around the world along with their different meanings.

 The “V for Victory” Sign

You’re more than likely familiar with the “V for Victory” sign, or the peace sign for those of you still stuck in the 60s.

This sign has a number of different possible meanings, depending on where you are and the direction your palm is facing. When your palm faces out, towards the person you’re addressing, this sign usually means “victory,” “peace” or the number two.

However, turn your palm in so that the back of your hand faces out to the observer, and you’re insulting people in the UK and several other countries, including:

  • Australia, where the gesture is called “the forks.”
  • Ireland,
  • New Zealand, and
  • South Africa.

In the United States, this version is much more innocuous. It’s how you sign the number 2 and the letter V in American Sign Language. As a result, it’s not uncommon for Americans to get mixed up. For example, in 1992, US President George H. W. Bush (in)famously “gave the forks” to a group of protesting Australian farmers. Apparently, he intended to flash the peace sign at them.

But wait, there’s more:

In Japan, China and Korea, people commonly flash the V-sign when they pose for happy photos, often instead of smiling.

In Vietnam, it means “Hello.”

Thumbs down for thumbs-up?

In some countries, the thumbs-up gesture is a sign of approval. However, in Australia, you’re inviting onlookers to “sit on it.”  They are unlikely to respond kindly to that invitation.

It’s also an insult in Bangladesh and in parts of the Middle East. Read more

5 Inspiring Transcreation Examples

How do brands large and small create advertising and marketing campaigns that work just as well in Japan as they do in the UK? When the audiences you’re addressing vary so widely, “one size fits all” marketing just won’t do. Transcreation is the process of recreating and adapting advertising and marketing messages to appeal to audiences around the world, taking into account linguistic and cultural differences.

Rather than duplicating the original content in another language, transcreation focuses on recreating the same emotional appeals and impact. In the process, content and imagery may be completely redone, from the ground up.

For more, see “What is Transcreation?” 

Curious about how it all works in the wild? Here are five transcreation examples to study and learn from:

How Red Bull stands out in Chinese shops

The success of Red Bull energy drinks is a testament to the power of marketing and advertising.  Think about it- it tastes like watered-down cough syrup. It has less caffeine than plain coffee. Why do people buy it?

Well, Red Bull’s advertising isn’t selling foul-tasting, caffeinated sugar water. It’s selling an image. Want to be the type of person that does extraordinary things? Want to be larger than life?  Buy a Red Bull- it gives you wings!

When it came time to expand into China, Red Bull made several adjustments to both the product and its packaging to ensure that the appeal of its original marketing didn’t get lost in translation.

For example, in China, Red Bull is not carbonated. And they offer a version of the beverage in red, gold and black can,  a colour scheme that signals, luck, wealth and good fortune to Chinese consumers. Read more

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