How to Prepare Your E-learning Materials for Translation

eLearning is the future of education, and it can be done across borders, but to achieve that, documents must be translated. How does one prepare learning materials for translation?

How to Prepare Your E-learning Materials for Translation
Prepare Your E-learning Materials for Translation

There has been significant research regarding improving students' progress if the medium of instruction were in their native language.

A published research article entitled, "The effect of teaching in a native and foreign language on students' conceptual understanding in science courses" examined the effectiveness of teaching subjects like science and mathematics in Turkey. The results from the research discovered that those who were taught about "Energy" in a foreign language (e.g., English) had more misconceptions than those being taught in their mother tongue, Turkish.  

This article further discusses why you should consider collaborating with a translation company to create a multilingual eLearning course for your content. If you're planning to enhance your international students' learning experience by translating your learning content, then keep on reading to learn about this!

The Role of a Translation Company in the e-Learning Industry

Due to the pandemic, many have opted to continue their education via eLearning. The World Economic Forum reported that over 1.2 billion children worldwide are affected by school closing.

They stated that even before the pandemic, eLearning had grown into an $18.66 billion industry and that by 2025 that it would reach $350 billion. This includes virtual tutoring, eLearning software and apps, and tools for video conferencing.  

As a result of the pandemic, many educators switched from face-to-face learning to online learning. They suggested that educators take the initiative and include students and parents when creating a virtual learning environment.

The Borgen Project, an international non-profit organization, reported that part of a student's success in understanding the lessons is through having their native language as the medium of instruction. They stated that teaching students in their native language will benefit their well-being as they tend to be happier and more successful if they are in their mother tongue.

It was also noted that students who were taught in another language and not in their native tongue were most likely to have failing grades and drop out of school. It was stated that parents would be more concerned with their students' schooling if the lessons were in their native language.

In our research regarding the state of international online learning courses, we came across a translation expert that has discussed multilingual e-Learning content in several articles. We interviewed Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of the Tomedes Translation Company, who has overseen multiple e-learning projects across different markets since 2007.

Tirosh stated several studies show that translating and creating multilingual content for your students increases class participation and helps them retain information much longer than if they were taught in a second language.

"Translating e-learning materials requires you to have a good grasp of your international students and can effectively convey even complex ideas in their mother tongue," Tirosh explained. "Because of this, you will need the assistance of a translation expert who can ensure that the content of your online learning course doesn't get mistranslated."

5 Tips for Translating Online Learning Courses

Now, we've discussed why translating your eLearning materials and working with a translation company is vital if you plan to help your international students better understand the lessons and make them more widely accessible. We have written some tips and considerations that you need to know before beginning a translating course in your eLearning class.

Find a Professional Translation Company You Can Work With

If you're planning to make your eLearning subjects available in several languages and across different regions or countries, then your best bet is to hire a translation company.

The benefit of hiring a professional translation company is that they have access to experts and resources, such as state-of-the-art machine translations, native translators, web, and app developers, translated captions, etc.  

The downside of hiring a professional translation company is that they're a bit pricey. My advice is to evaluate several of them before picking one. You need to look into their prices, the quality of their services in translation, the online reviews of previous employers, etc. You will also have to ask if they offer local market research services, will they provide fast delivery and have warranties, etc.

Identify and Research Your Target Locale

After you have selected your professional translation company, they can assist you in identifying which target locale or demographic frequently attends your eLearning classes. The translation experts you will be working with will help you research your target locale to create a strategy on the best way to formulate a multilingual plan for them.

Relate Your Lesson to Your International Students

After conducting the necessary research on your target locale, you can create an approach to translating your eLearning content. Part of your translated content will include lesson plans, and strategy would also involve the audio-visual aspect of teaching.

There are three things that you should consider when creating a plan for class discussions: (1) Smaller groups, (2) Peer and cumulative grading, and (3) Shifting the focus of the class.

By assigning smaller groups, your students become more accountable and familiar with one another. It will also make your class more interactive.

Meanwhile, reconstructing your grading system will also encourage students to participate and help them develop self-assessment skills. Lastly, by shifting the focus of the class, they can gain feedback, and you can provide them with relevant questions regarding the lesson.

Decide on the Digital Materials that Need Translation

I have listed the digital materials that need translation if you plan to make your eLearning class multilingual. You don't need to translate every single piece of content. These are some of my suggestions, as follows:

  1. Downloadable Reading Materials

When translating the content of your online learning courses, this is one of the essential digital materials because some eLearning classes provide reading materials so that their students have a reference. If you're planning to translate the content to make your online learning courses easier to understand, then this is one of the things you have to acknowledge.  

Often, students refer to their reading materials when self-studying. If this is made available in several languages, it will lessen misunderstandings and rectify any misinformation from the class.

2. PowerPoint

Another way of translating your content is by making your PowerPoint accessible in different languages. When translating your PowerPoint, you have to be mindful of the textual and visual aspects that your international students will understand.

Certain colors, symbols, and imagery are only applicable in western or native English-speaking society. It is important to do your research on the culture of your target location.

3. Website and Blog

If you have a website, translating it could potentially increase your traffic. I advise that you consider the local SEO aspect of your translation so that your website will be visible in search results in other regions or countries.

The translation company you're collaborating with can help you translate your website. They can also help with the translated content of your website's blog articles.

4. Mobile Apps

BroadbandSearch reported that the global traffic of mobile apps had become 55% compared to desktop devices, only taking up 42% of user experience. There are several reasons why mobile apps have become popular. For example, users receive direct notifications compared to conventional desktops, and they can be used even without wifi.

If you're planning to make your online class more immersive and accessible, creating a multilingual app is one of the digital materials you will have to translate. I advise that when you collaborate with a translation company, ask if they have the tools to implement either translation for mobile apps and/or websites.

5. Video Subtitles

If you have your lessons recorded on videos, I suggest you consider providing subtitles for your students. The subtitles can help your international students better understand your class and clear up the context of your lessons.

The beauty of videos is that your students can review them several times and listen to the lecture. By adding subtitles in their native language, if there are certain parts of the lesson they didn't quite understand, they can always refer to the subtitles to clarify any lecture's confusion.

Having a Test Audience

Finally, after you've translated the materials for your online learning course that you think will be useful for your class, you can have your content evaluated by a test audience. This part is crucial because your test audience will provide feedback like whether the translation is good or offensive or culturally inappropriate within your translated content.

When selecting participants for your test audience, I advise that you will randomize the participants from your target audience and age group. It ensures that you get all the input you need before finalizing your translated eLearning content.


The translation process for your eLearning materials can seem like a daunting task at first glance. Hopefully, this article has helped you identify all the things you will need to think about and prepare before translating your current eLearning content and picking a translation company.