Much like everything else in life, a little proactive planning goes a long way toward giving you an optimal result. When you start your training and development process by creating a globalization strategy first, it pays off in multiple ways:
- You get better results, faster and at lower cost
- Translating the content for additional markets is also easier, faster and cheaper
- Update cycles are much more efficient. So, before you dig into producing the training, take a few steps back and start your process with planning for its ultimate globalization.
Below we’ll look at globalization strategy tips for:
- Deciding what content to create and how much to adapt it
- Planning ahead for globalization
- Creating globally-ready content
- Going global with your training program
Decide what content to create and how much to adapt it
The first step to creating a globalization strategy is to develop a framework for deciding the types of content you need to adapt and what level of adaptation is appropriate based on your project goals.
Know the business drivers and performance outcomes you are working toward. Begin by defining your success criteria. Identify your business objectives – like driving revenue, reducing costs, increasing productivity and improving customer satisfaction – and then determine how globalized eLearning content will help you accomplish the goals.
Determine what kind of content will be effective for your audience. Different types of content require different levels of customization. Keep in mind that “feature rich” often means high complexity and cost, while simpler programs can be just as effective, but take less time and money to globalize. Assess cultural drivers that affect how people respond. Not all training formats are appropriate for all countries and cultures. Engage input from cultural natives to determine the modifications you need to make before you begin development.
Now that you have a general idea of the type of training program you want to adapt, you need to weigh it against your time, cost, and quality constraints. But, how do you determine the approach that will yield the highest quality, for the lowest cost, in the shortest amount of time? Part of the answer lies in the level of cultural accessibility you need to achieve.
Plan ahead for globalization
Now that you know what type of content you’re going to create and how much you’re going to adapt it, you’re almost ready to start planning your training program. But first, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the market requirements of your training. This will allow you to build a global-ready program and avoid stumbling blocks later in the process.
- Instructional strategies: Learning styles and standards are the most difficult elements to translate across cultures. Be sure you understand the cultural and legal factors surrounding the learning environment in your target cultures.
- Content: Make sure the content elements will be appropriate and relevant for all audiences, also accounting for cultural and legal differences between countries.
- Languages: Your target language may have different character sets and text orientation than English. This will affect your design, layout and even program length. It will also affect subtitling or dubbing if you are planning on using video.
- Technology: Make sure the technologies you are planning to use are compatible with regional IT capabilities, like available bandwidth and end-user devices.
- Assessment and feedback strategies: Cultural and legal differences apply here, too. Your globalization partner and the HR department of your in-country office can be a great resource for identifying possible issues. Once you understand how these factors will impact your project, you should identify the global team that will help you develop and execute your training program.
Create global-ready content
Now that you’ve done all your background research and put together your globalization strategy team, it’s time to start actually producing your base version of global-ready content. As we saw earlier, creating global-ready content simply means creating content that can be translated easily into other languages and cultures.
This ultimately reduces translation complexity, costs and timelines, enhances results for non-native speakers, and improves the overall usability of your content.
Creating global-ready content starts with:
- Ensuring that your writing is simple and straightforward.
- Eliminating culturally-specific references.
- Using culturally neutral and flexible design elements so you can accommodate different character sets and text orientations.
- Making special considerations for audio and video production. Let’s take a look at some of these elements in greater detail.
When your content team begins writing with globalization in mind, the result is clear, concise, and grammatically correct source material that cuts translation costs and timelines and improves the quality of the finished product.
Specifically, writers should:
- Write short, simple sentences in an active voice
- Avoid noun strings with multiple modifiers
- Avoid abbreviations and acronyms
- Avoid idiomatic or colloquial language, jokes and puns that may completely stump translators and confuse non-native speakers
- Use a glossary and style guide to improve consistency and avoid confusion of terms
It is important to keep in mind that global-ready language is neither “boring” nor “dumbed-down.” Using these techniques will help you create controlled and regulated content that not only can be handled simply by language translation services but also improves the usability of your training for English speakers as well.
Go global with your training program
At this point, you will have a culturally-neutral, global-ready eLearning program, and a team or partner lined up to help you globalize it for the various languages you are targeting.
- Before you hand it off to your team, set them up for success by Creating a “Global Training Checklist” that includes:
–– Team roles and responsibilities
–– Expectations and assessment factors
–– Administrative and billing guidelines
- Preparing and passing along comprehensive “translation toolkits” such as:
–– Style guides
–– Translation memory databases
–– Reference materials
- Using an industry standard translation environment
- Documenting and maintaining your virtual world structure
Planning for globalization strategy is critical to ensuring you get the highest quality outcome in the shortest time frame, while keeping costs under control. When you need training materials that will make a meaningful impact on your global workforce, success means starting every project by creating global-ready content as well as selecting partners and tools that can help you automate and streamline the global training development process. Professional translation services can help scale all these components seamlessly.