Localization: Factors that Affect Elearning Translation


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Technology is improving all aspects and spheres of our lives including the education sector. That’s right; technology is now taking strong roots into the traditional learning system and changing it forever. The traditional learning involves brick-and-mortar building or a physical location in which students gather and an instructor teaches them for a specific time several times a week.

However, Elearning is now changing the traditional learning setup that is popular around the world from the past 500 years and more. Elearning involves making content or course material in a document, audio or video format and sharing it with students over the internet. The students are able to access the material without being restricted to a particular location or time frame.

History of Elearning

Elearning took its time to develop. The term ‘E-learning’ came into existence in 1999 but the principles behind the concept have been present as early as the 19th century. Before the internet was launched, distance courses were offered to students on particular subjects. Did you know that Isaac Pitman in 1940 taught his students shorthand via such correspondence? He also sent assignments by mail to his students.

In 1924 the first testing machine was invented that allowed the students to test themselves. Later in 1954, BF Skinner invented a ‘the teaching machine’ which allows the schools to carry out programmed training to their students.

In 1960, the first computer-based training program was created known as PLATO-Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. It was used in schools in Illinois, USA. By 1970 the online learning systems became much more interactive and real development began to take shape.

Thanks to the computer and internet in the late 20th century, E-learning tools developed: the first MAC in the 1980s let people learn and develop skill sets. By the 1990s there were several schools around the world which delivered courses online for distance learning.

In the 2000s, businesses saw the potential of E-learning and used it to train their employees worldwide, reducing costs and reaping great benefits! Online courses made of interactive videos, presentations and assessments are now very common and it has become the present and future of learning.

Trends Affecting E-Learning Localization

The E-learning market is growing very fast and it has already crossed $165 billion in worth around the world. Universities, schools and businesses around the world are using E-learning to offer courses and training to their students and individuals – thus making it easier for them all to learn skill sets at a lower cost.

In order to cross borders to reach a wider set of audience, these institutions and businesses realized that need to develop E-learning courses in multiple languages suitable for several audiences worldwide. They believed that localization will be the best option to meet their targets to attract students who speak different languages. However, they found several factors that affect the E-learning localization.


It is estimated that more than 9.1 billion mobile subscriptions will exist by 2023 which means more and more people will use smartphones to access content online. Universities, schools and businesses must prepare themselves to offer their courses globally to access these people. In order to do that, they must localize their content with the help of Elearning translation services providers. Since the use of mobile phones is increasing every single day and people are more likely to access the internet for everything through mobile, localization companies must work to optimize the content of these applications to fit the mobile usage.

Video Content

In addition to increased access to content via smartphones, people are inclined towards video content more than ever. The video blends auditory and visual learning and this medium account for 80% of all online traffic. In order for institutions and businesses to make video content accessible to their global audience, they require E-learning localization using subtitles, voice-over translation and storyline translation.


Microlearning is a new concept but it is on the rise around the world. Instead of taking e-learning courses that require long time dedication, learners prefer smaller content that directly dives into specific topics that help them learn skills and address specific problems. Elearning companies use localization teams made of subject matter experts who can localize specific content for this purpose.

Personalized Learning Experience

E-learning is different from traditional learning with the latter’s one-size-fits-all teaching method. Elearning experience has to account for the fact that learners learn at different speeds and start off with varying strengths, background and deficits. In order to accommodate these factors, e-learning has to personalize the learning experience by customizing the content, environments and interaction. Localization experts help in this by ensuring the content, language, fonts, sizes, and on-screen elements are actually tailored to different audiences. E-learning localization requires you to take a step further by selecting graphics that are realistic and relevant to a given locale. Images featuring African countryside will not work if you are designing E-learning courses for Arab learners.

E-learning can be really effective if it is properly localized to the target audience and ineffective when it is not. A humorous example may help an audience understand a concept better in one market while it may offend the audience in another. It is best to understand the cultural norms before you begin to localize your E-learning course.

Culturally relevant content is also important. Covering real-life examples, stories, world scenarios and simulations have to be culturally relevant and relatable. For example, if you are covering a scenario that includes a checkout process, it would make more sense to include a local currency and show local products.

Virtual Reality

Although it is not very common right now VR has a huge potential in the E-learning world! Virtual Reality is a three-dimensional computer generated environment that can be engaged and explored by an individual. It allows for maximum immersion and can provide an excellent learning experience with the highest level of engagement by the learner.

VR can allow learners to learn in a ‘hands-on’ manner that is not available in real life. It can transform the learning environment to increase comprehension, learning, engagement and motivation.

Once VR becomes more popular, localization will be needed more than ever to personalize the content so that it can be seen, heard and experienced in the most effective way.

In order to reap the benefits of Elearning localization services, you must only partner with well-established translation companies. Future Trans is a professional e-learning translation and localization company that has over 24 years of solid experience. Future Trans has worked with large corporations in the e-learning industry around the world to translate and localize content, materials, websites, mobile apps, videos and for subtitling or voice-over. Some of our satisfied clients include Udacity, Cisco, Oracle and Coursera.

If you wish to succeed with your e-learning content development, partner with Future Trans. We can give you a custom quote today. Let’s talk!

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