eLearning and Localization Blog

Translation Memory and Localized eLearning Content

Published on Jul 19, 2016
Creating eLearning content that reaches across language and cultural barriers has become an important task for companies that need to give multi-national workforces training to do their jobs effectively.

Translating entire courses into several languages can get expensive and many companies are taking advantage of translation memory and localization.

How Translation Memory Works


Translation memory can help make the translation process more efficient and it certainly makes translation terminology across multiple courses more consistent. Instead of having a professional translate every word into a new language, translation memory stores words and phrases so it can replace common terms quickly, as long as they are in contextually similar content. The leveraging of translation memory can reduce the amount of time and money that companies spend translating content for multilingual audiences.

If you have ever used a service like Google Translate, you have seen the downside of computer based translations which simply leverage a general translation database. There is not a human “voice” being applied to the content so the results are poor quality or just plain wrong translations.

When a professional linguist, leveraging a computer assisted translation tool encounters terms that are similar to content referenced in a translation memory file, the linguist can accept, tweak or change the re-translate as needed. As long as the translation memory contains quality translations and is being used by a professional linguist, translation memory improves the process and deliverables.

Not All Phrases Translate Literally


In some cases, it is impossible to translate certain phrases without losing their intended meanings. This is especially true when it comes to idioms, phrases that people use figuratively instead of literally.

For instance, the German language has an idiom “tomaten aud den Augen haben” that literally translates as “you have tomatoes in your eyes.” To German speakers, the saying means that a person cannot see what others plainly see. English speakers, however, will find this confusing because the phrase's literal meaning doesn't truly represent its intended meaning.

Idioms and other figurative phrases create problems for companies that need to translate content into multiple languages. If, for instance, you want to develop eLearning content for employees around the world, many of them will get confused by literal or non-contextual translation.

It isn't just a problem when translating between languages. American and British English, for instance, use idioms that are often confusing to people outside certain regions and that’s where localization comes in.

Localizing eLearning Content


Professional linguists who understand the nuances of several languages can interpret the original content and localize it so the message makes sense within different cultures. By localizing content, translators can choose idioms that are relevant in another language or culture. If a comparable idiom isn't available, then they can express its true meaning without confusing the learners.

Your employees need high quality, contextual training to successfully complete their work and become a productive member of your global organization. By using a professional translation and localization team, you can create eLearning content for all of your employees in the most cost effective way possible, while also creating a translation memory for your future projects.

For more information on localizing eLearning content and translation memory, contact Ingenuiti today.

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