International businesses need international training solutions. With most of the world’s leading businesses located globally, businesses are facing a constant challenge around the distribution of content for learning. Enterprises are increasingly operating across multiple countries spread across the world with language and dialect differences.
The challenges associated with training a workforce of global distribution includes a difficulty creating content for learners speaking different languages.
Multilingual courses and resources used to pose a number of knotty problems for online designers, graphic artists and administrators:
- How do we ensure that the shared content (branding, illustration, imagery and video) is shared across different language versions?
- How do we set up the art direction so that it can accommodate languages that may vary significantly in the number of letters and words it takes (or the number of Chinese characters) to say the same thing?
- How do we ensure that the crucial little single text items like button labels will have enough room to sit correctly within their buttons?
- How do we manage the translation process to ensure that the most current version in each language is correctly located within the programme?
Managing these processes used to be a time-consuming, expensive, artisanal and rather risky business. Not any more. The latest version of gomo learning takes a number of steps to make the creation of multilingual training more straightforward. Firstly, it makes it possible to deliver as many language versions as required within a single Shareable Content Object or SCO. For end users, this means that the first selection they are asked to make is their choice of language. Try a course here to see this in action.
Handling translations of different lengths
This issue of length used to have a distinct element of ‘suck it and see’. For example, Microsoft advise their designers in Creating an International User Interface to allow for 30 per cent text expansion when working in languages other than English. This very rough metric applies to relatively long pieces of text. Where text is short and tight, they recommend leaving enough space to double the text length in other languages. And yet, even when the art director had allowed for all the possible expansions, within the limited screen ‘real estate’ available, it still took an editor hours to go through a language version (often totally incomprehensible to the editor!) to check for overruns.
The gomo learning suite uses HTML5, the most recent version of Hypertext Markup Language. This ensures that regardless of the platform used (and gomo publishes to PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones,) the text will adapt itself to the platform and appear correctly formatted without any unsightly overruns.
‘Localisation’ doesn’t just mean translation. There are many other features of an online course that may need adaptation to local requirements. These may be in response to local legislation or, going back to the AB Sugar example, different technologies. Sugar is produced from both beet and cane, and the two processes are completely different. How, then, does a global company ensure that their staff are getting the same standard of training wherever they are on the planet, and yet it is tailored to local requirements?
This is a question that needs some smart design if it is to be addressed correctly. Take illustrations, for example. Technical training will probably need detailed and accurate diagrams, but the last thing you want is to have to manage the translation of every single label in the diagram. Just keeping an accurate record of the location of each label can turn into a logistical nightmare.
The smart solution is to reuse the unlabelled diagram (much cheaper and quicker, as well as much less risky) across the programme and add the labels as pop-up text which can be dealt with quite separately through the translation process. gomo learning manages translation through XLIFF. The meaning of LIFF (to borrow from Douglas Adams) is ‘Localisation Interchange File Format’). The ‘X’ stands for ‘XML’. So now you know. XLIFF is specifically designed to make it easier to track versions created by your translation partners and ensure that when the foreign language version wings its way back from Beijing, Barcelona, Bangalore or Baghdad (because gomo learning handles right-to-left languages like Arabic with equal facility), it is automatically slotted back into the correct location in the programme.
In a nutshell, gomo learning now enables you to concentrate on the quality of the training you deliver to your staff worldwide, and removes a very significant amount of the hassle involved in making sure that it all matches up and actually works.