Translating a course from English to French and Spanish

Mar 12, 2012

Do you have a "rule of thumb" for estimating the cost of translating an existing eLearning course from English to French and/or Spanish?  If the cost to develop the course in English is $X then is it reasonable to estimate that converting that course to French (including narration) would be 75% of $X?

6 Replies
Zara Ogden

I am not sure about the actuall cost but I would not think it should be75%. As a national org we have to sve bilingual programs. We first hire a translator to translate every bit of script and text. Then we get a French speaking narrator. I wouldn't think it would cost any more thane 25% of the cost of the English program. But I could be completely wrong.

Mariano Aran

Hi Mike,

I have done MANY jobs like this and in my experience I would say that I think it all depends on how the course is built and how complex the animations are, and if they are built with in sync with the audio.  Sometimes it's quite easy to resync the course and sometimes it's quite time comsuming.

It also depends on how many quizzes and engage interactions you have and again, how complex or customized they are.

Of course if you only have a typical PPT like course with a text box for title, and another one for bullet pointed text, it can be really easy, but most of the times that is not the case.

Replacing texts in quizzes, and interactions can be VERY time consuming.  To change ALL the text you have to go through many dialogs and windows and be sure that all the feedback windows are translated and all with the corresponding bit of audio.  It's a tedious job so there is a lot of room for mistakes and QA time has to be allowed too.

If you have 'custom' text in the navigation panel and/or buttons and dialogs, that all has to be changed manually as well.

In summary, it all depends on how complex your course is and how much 'customized' is your interface.

I would say that 75~80% is a good 'general' guess... But I've had translated versions (in chinese for example) taking me more than the original english version too!

I hope this helps

Natalia Mueller

I actually have a related conversation going right now. I'd love to hear your thoughts and some of your experience with multilingual  training if you have a moment. I'm trying to decide what the most effective method would be if audio translation is not an option. 

I don't want to hijack this conversation about costs so I'll leave it at that.  


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