首页信息中心│ 网络学院│ 资源中心远教厂商培训考察网上书城杂志订阅市场研究行业媒体国际远教
论坛│ 远教沙龙群 英 会案例分析名家评论人物专访专家专栏2006 历届大会:05' 04' 03' 02'│ 网友投稿
国际原文

Trend: 3D Training

Educational Simulations Survey Results

Offshoring E-Learning

Course Management Systems Versus Learning Management Systems

Wake-Up Call: Open Source LMS

Learning Styles and Study Habits

E-Learning Standards Survey

Top Synchronous Training Myths and Their Realities

The Cornerstones of Strategic HCM

Best Practices of Hosted Learning Solutions



Developing Localization Friendly E-Learning


If you’re developing e-learning that will be used globally, plan for cultural portability.

 

Culture involves the way people look at the world, a shared value system. It includes language but many other things as well, such as the value a society puts on individualism or group action, tolerance for uncertainty, willingness to take risks, the comfort level in interacting with a teacher and peers, and so forth. These and other factors have a direct impact on learning styles and the effectiveness of an e-learning product within a given locale.

 

In countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia, learners are used to getting to the point quickly, while many Europeans may expect a more structured approach. Asians may prefer to master theory before digging into facts. (For detailed information on this subject, see Geert Hofstede, Cultures and Organizations; Alfons Trompenaar and Charles Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Diversity in Global Business; and the writings of Patrick Dunn and Alessandra Marinetti, including “Cultural Adaptation: Necessity for Global E-Learning.”)

 

Target the Local

 

The ideal situation might be to create an entirely new product for each country or culture that would take into account all issues of language, world-view, learning style and content. However, this is rarely feasible. Instead, e-learning products and other software applications need to be designed from the start with multilingual and multicultural audiences in mind, and kept reasonably neutral. Some aspects of a course will probably have to be adapted during the localization process if you plan to use the product in multiple countries. Start by knowing your target markets. If possible, include representatives from target locales on design teams or as reviewers.

 

In general, try to balance the engaging use of new media with the need to avoid highly complex, graphically intensive e-learning programs for countries where typical processors speeds are slow and Internet connections are through dialup modems. Or, offer two versions, low and high bandwidth. Sweden and Singapore, for example, have almost universal broadband access, so understanding the infrastructure of your target market is important.

 

Internationalization and localization are complex topics and the subject of entire books. The following is intended merely as a guideline.

 

Software Internationalization Tips

 

  • Do not hard code keyboard commands, screen placement, or size of items on the screen. Iin fact, do not hard code anything.
  • Develop software with internationalization in mind, not after the fact.
  • Multibyte-enable software so that it can handle Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and so on, as well as languages that read from right to left or vertically.
  • Design for text expansion/contraction. English is a compact language, and many others take up considerably more space to say the same thing. For example, the word laptop translates to computadora portátil in Spanish. Spanish expands by close to 40 percent, while Chinese can reduce in size by almost 40 percent.
    • Create graphical elements (buttons, navigation bars) with text expansion in mind.
    • Design columns and frames with ample space for long words in target language.
    • Create input fields that accommodate long first and last names, street addresses, etc.
    • Don’t restrict font size. Asian characters require a much larger point size for legibility than Latin characters.
  • Allow for input of international data and support various formats for time, dates, addresses, measurements, numbers, etc.
  • Consider how sorting may affect the content; different languages have different rules for sorting.
  • Put all localizable text (and all items that may need to be viewed, created, or used by the localization vendor or customer) in external resource files.
  • Make sure graphics are layered with extractable text.
  • Use comments with code to provide context for translators.
  • Test the English version’s internationalization features
  • Confirm whether any third-party components are internationalized.
  • Do not concentrate strings to make sentences, or sub-screens to make whole screens.
  • Keep icons generic.
  • If ethno-centric graphics, colors, and fonts are used in the user interface (UI), include locale-sensitive switch statements for dynamic replacement.

HTML Localization Tips

 

Developing and authoring content

  • Define and use consistent file structures and a consistent set of tags.
  • Validate source files, including the integrity of hyperlinks and consistency of hyperlinked text, prior to localization.
  • Develop an efficient update/change management plan.
  • Keep code as streamlined as possible.
  • Include developers’ comments in the HTML files. 

Tables

  • Don’t use artwork for tables.
  • Allow tables to resize dynamically. 

Interactivity

  • Confirm that all back-end servers are able to process the target language text, including double-byte characters.
  • Allow for local formatting conventions such as name, date, address, telephone and fax numbers, currency, numbers, and so forth. 

Testing

  • Define the platforms, browsers, and browser versions that you will test.
  • Determine whether files should be tested in local-language versions of browsers only or in multiple language versions.
  • Make sure the presentation tier can manage multiple character encodings in a range of browsers, including older versions.

Graphics

Graphical images are expensive to create and almost as expensive to modify, so they should be as universally acceptable as possible. Graphics can be a key source of confusion--or worse.

  • Use standard, easily available applications to create your graphics. Photoshop is generally considered the industry standard.
  • Use generic icons that can be understood internationally and avoid images that are culturally specific.
  • Avoid use of text in icons, buttons, and images, and if it must be used, keep in a separate layered file
  • When creating HTML, keep all text elements in the HTML files themselves, as opposed to saving the text as bitmaps within .gif and .jpg files. If saving text as part of a graphic file, save text as a separate text layer in the original graphics application.
  • Remember that text in graphics is likely to expand in other languages.
  • Avoid using representations of people, body parts (especially hands), and animals in icons and graphics. Very simple stick figures are the best representation of human beings.
  • Design graphics with the target markets and their technical infrastructure (bandwidth, screen resolution, processor speed) in mind. 

Multimedia issues

  • Audio/Video. As with text, sound can expand as much as 50 percent. This can impact dubbing and lip-syncing times when recording a translated script for use with an English video and can require sound compression and other adjustments
  • Use animations rather than video where possible, as voiceovers do not have to sync with moving mouths
  • Use a mix of gender, race and seniority that is appropriate for the target culture. In Japan and Switzerland, for example, a senior executive is likely to be a white male; video clips from the US showing a young multiethnic management team will not resonate with the Japanese audience 

Content Development Tips

 

Language issues

  • Define target languages: Spanish for Spain? What about in Latin America or Chile?
  • Take into consideration relevant external glossaries, such as industry-standard terminology. If creating an e-learning course about a third-party product, maintain consistency with the source product. For example, reference the Microsoft terminology and localized glossaries when creating training on a Microsoft product).
  • Research and target a specific reading/education/professional development level for your course.
  • Establish standard linguistic style guidelines.
  • Use clear, concrete language; keep sentences short, avoiding excessive use of commas.
  • Use the active voice.
  • Be careful about the use of analogies and metaphors.
  • Avoid cultural references, such as gender-specific roles, humor, ethnic, geographical, or historic references that could either lose meaning or be inappropriate in another locale and culture.
  • Examples should not include references to alcohol, sex, religion, politics, the human body, or animals.
  • Be careful in use of color and sound, which can have cultural connotations.
  • Be aware of local legal constraints; all legal and financial content should be carefully reviewed by an in-country expert. 

Grammar issues

  • Make sure that direct and indirect objects are unambiguous.
  • Include relative pronouns (which and that).
  • Avoid the ambiguous use of gerunds.
  • Avoid using nouns as adjectives.
  • Put statements and questions in positive form.
  • Avoid slang and idioms while maintaining an engaging style; avoid puns
  • Define acronyms and abbreviations (and remember that acronyms that have taken on a meaning of their own—such as SWOT, SNAFU—will not have meaning in another language. 

Pedagogical issues

  • Instructional methods vary from country to country as do the order in which school curricula are presented. For example:                               

                                                      

Long division as taught in the United States   

Long division as taught in Germany

 

 

 Published: May 2005

地址:北京市海淀区魏公村路2号中央广播电视大学学习中心大楼11层1107室 邮编:100081 
电话:010-58840286 传真:010-58840287