Storyline 360 allows you to quickly export all the text in your project for translation and then reimport it, automatically replacing all the original text with the translations. What a timesaver! But unfortunately, no matter how powerful Storyline 360’s translation feature, the nuances of translating one language to another mean you might still need to make some manual adjustments.

For example, if you’re translating English to French, the translated text will likely be 20 to 25 percent longer than the original text, so you might need to change the font or textbox size, or even move some of the onscreen objects to make room for the French text.

There’s also no way to automatically replace audio files and synchronize them with animations, since the duration of each localized audio file is different. The time involved in that manual process varies depending on how many animations you’ve included in your project.

As an instructional designer, I’ve developed many courses that have been translated into multiple languages. After a bit of trial and error, I came up with the following techniques to optimize the localization process.

1. Allow for Extra Space

Adjusting the font or textbox size on every single slide can be a huge pain. The more white space you leave around textboxes, the less likely you are to have to adjust each font or textbox size, because even if the translated text is longer, there might still be room for it on the screen.

The same goes for any shapes or buttons with text inside them. If you don’t leave extra space on either side of the text, you’ll probably have to widen the button or shape so the text doesn’t overflow or appear smaller than you'd like. Give yourself a break and leave some extra space to begin with!

2. Use Slide Masters

Another way to limit the amount of manual tweaking you have to do is by putting text that appears on multiple slides—for example, the course or chapter title—on a slide master. That way, if you need to adjust the font or textbox size, you only have to do it once and it’ll be applied automatically to all the relevant slides.

3. Keep Animations to a Minimum

Animations can be a great way to increase learner engagement on slides with a lot of voiceover audio. By giving them something to look at while they’re listening, you’re more likely to catch—and keep—their attention. This is true for localized courses as well; however, it’s important to keep in mind that resynchronizing the animations with the new audio files is a huge time suck when you’re translating courses. The more animations you need to synchronize with voiceover narration, the more time you’ll spend localizing your courses. It’s especially difficult if you don’t speak the target language—which is often the case! I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent listening to Dutch voiceover audio and trying to figure out when the animations should appear. What a headache!

But that doesn’t mean you should get rid of all of your animations—just that you should weigh the impact of those animations against the time it’ll take you to localize them. Are all of those animations really adding value? Or could you do without some of them?

4. Break Script Up by Animation or Layer

For the animations you decide to keep, split up your script by animation or layer. That way you will know exactly when the animations should appear or which part of the audio should go on which layer.

So instead of grouping the entire script for a given slide together ...

Slide 1

There are four main rules within HIPAA that govern protected health information. Let’s take a brief look at the purpose of each of these rules. The privacy rule outlines the safeguards that must be in place to ensure that protected health information remains private. The security rule sets standards for how to maintain the security of protected health information by implementing a set of technical, physical, and administrative safeguards. The breach notification rule details the processes that entities that fall under HIPAA must follow when a data breach occurs. The omnibus rule is an addition to HIPAA enacted in 2013 that required business associates to become HIPAA compliant.

.... add dividers to your script like this:

Slide 1 - Beginning

There are four main rules within HIPAA that govern protected health information. Let’s take a brief look at the purpose of each of these rules.

Slide 1 - Animation 1

The privacy rule outlines the safeguards that must be in place to ensure that protected health information remains private.

Slide 1 - Animation 2

The security rule sets standards for how to maintain security of protected health information by implementing a set of technical, physical, and administrative safeguards.

Slide 1 - Animation 3

The breach notification rule details the processes that entities that fall under HIPAA must follow when a data breach occurs.

Slide 1 - Animation 4

The omnibus rule is an addition to HIPAA enacted in 2013 that required business associates to become HIPAA compliant.

Then, ask the voiceover professionals to name the audio files accordingly. That way all you’ll have to do is place the audio files one after the other and move the animations on the timeline to line up with the beginning of each audio file. Easy-peasy!

More Resources

If you’re looking for more tips that’ll make the localization process easier, look no further! We’ve got you covered:

Want to try out Storyline 360’s translation feature for yourself, but don’t have Articulate 360 products? Start a free 60-day trial of Articulate 360, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.

4 Comments
Chris Roetzer

Thanks Allison, timely topic! Love the idea to use the Slide Master wisely. We translate many courses into French, Italian, German and Chinese. I'm developing the "Essential Guide To Translations" to be used among our Agile design teams and have been accumulating tips and war stories among a few peers. Fortunately, we don't use a lot of narration that requires translation too, but there's plenty of challenges with text alone. Do you know of other threads, tips to share? Our top 8 are these: 1) QC check & scrub the Word translation file before importing into SL. 2) Limit the use of text triggers such as jumping to a file or URL since importing corrupts the trigger requiring it be deleted/re-added. Try hotspots instead. 3) Word export table is gray shaded to help the translato... Expand