6 authoring tool features that support international audiences
Making all the right adjustments to your written and media content to make it globally relevant is only part of the battle. If your eLearning authoring tool doesn’t support properly localized content at a software level, all your hard work may be for nothing. In another extract from our ‘How to create culturally-aware eLearning for global audiences’ ebook, we consider the six features you should look out for:
1) Language selection
Rather than building separate courses for each of the languages or regions you need to cover, you want to be able to build one course which contains all different variations within it. This has benefits to course authors—for instance, it’ll be easier to manage updates to the course and to distribute to learners. It can also streamline the process of obtaining localized versions of your base content (see our sections on collaboration tools and XLIFF below).
From a learner perspective, it’s best to offer global-level language selection—ideally, a drop-down menu that allows them to select the most relevant language. Or to select another language if they would prefer.
Signpost the way back
Best practice is to always provide language names in-language (i.e. German language always described as “Deutsch”). This ensures that if a learner ends up in a wrong language, it’s easy to find the way back!
2) Display conditions
In order to maintain the ‘one course, multiple languages’ structure covered above, your authoring tool should offer support for display conditions. Specifically, it needs to be able to show, hide and/or swap elements based on the currently selected course language. Set a display condition on different versions of an image so that it displays only when certain languages are selected.
In Gomo, it’s also possible to set the display condition on links, allowing you to direct users to language-specific screens that others might not need to see.
Learn more about display conditions:‘Using creative interactions to build engaging courses, part 2: locking menus and dynamic branching’
3) Support for right-to-left language and design
While many languages worldwide read left to right, this isn’t true for every language. Particularly, Arabic script—used for not only the Arabic language but Persian and Urdu, among others—reads right to left.
This has several implications for design in general, and eLearning design specifically. Written language shapes design assumptions, so a lot of things readers of left-to-right languages take for granted—that the most important information appears in the upper left, for instance—need to be accounted for.
Your authoring tool should be capable of placing characters right to left on a line and defaulting to right-justified text. Proper support should also mean that features such as text highlighting behave correctly (there can sometimes be issues with highlighting all text from the right-hand side downwards).
However, it also needs to be able to align elements usually on the left-hand side (such as navigation and call-to-action buttons) to the right.
Gomo’s responsive approach manages right-to-left language design elements seamlessly. When a right-to-left language is selected, all elements are moved to a more appropriate position.
4) Collaboration tools
Having the ability to set a range of user roles for your contributors is important. A good authoring tool will let you designate specific users as course administrators, editors, or reviewers.
- As editors, your translators could enter their text directly into the tool.
- Reviewer privileges could be given to anyone assisting you with localization QA—they could go through the content and comment whenever they see something that may not work in the region.
- Give administrator roles to autonomous local teams when it’s strategically necessary to let local creators originate their own courses.
Find out more about the advantages of collaboration in:‘4 difficult-to-ignore benefits of a cloud-based eLearning authoring tool’
5) XLIFF import and export
If you would rather not arrange logins for external translation agencies, you have two options:
- Firstly, you could manually copy all text for translation into a document, get them to translate it, and then copy and paste all the text back into the platform. However, this is just tedious for whoever the task falls to. Plus, it invites ‘copy and paste’ errors that you may not have the language skills to identify.
- Your second, and far better option, is to work in an authoring tool that supports XLIFF import and export. This reduces the act of getting all of your English text out of the platform to a single click. The file can then be shared with your translation agency, who will load it in an XLIFF editor. This allows them to easily translate your course line by line. Once finished, you upload the file, and everything slots into place. It’s a quicker, far more scalable approach to translation.
6) Deliver via the cloud
If you have contributors and teams all over the world, purchasing and managing software licenses as well as installing and maintaining the program itself will become several times more complex. Opting for a cloud-based platform makes a lot of sense in this scenario: give everyone on the team access, a login, and keep all of your courses and resources in a single shared space.
Of course, in reality, the data is securely and robustly backed up in several places and always served from the servers closest to your users to ensure the fastest access speeds. In fact, the arrangement is so convenient that it’s worth investigating cloud-based hosting for the courses themselves, so your learners can see the same benefits.
Host your courses in the cloud: Learn more about Gomo’s Delivery and Analytics featureson our website.
Discover more global eLearning creation insights
Our ebook, ‘How to create culturally-aware eLearning for global audiences’ additionally covers localization process and the linguistic traps that learning designers should be aware of when working globally. It then continues with more insights into the visual, linguistic, and semantic details that you need to pay attention to when going global.
Read the full resource to discover:
- How the right localization process will lead you to more engaging results
- Key language issues that even non-speakers should understand
- Considering how imagery reflects familiar public spaces and local customs
- Use of color and gesture in visuals
- The implications of different cultural preferences such as uncertainty avoidance and power distance