Archives mensuelles : June 2015

Top 6 M-Learning Localization Best Practices from mLearnCon 2015

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M-LearningEarlier this month, Local Concept presented at the mLearnCon 2015: Mobile Learning Conference, put on by the eLearning Guild. Local Concept President, Michael Cárdenas, spoke about best practices for m-learning localization.

For those of you who missed not only the local food carts, but also my awesome presentation, here are six tips to help guide you through the localization process:

1. When it comes to word count, less is best. Most of us know that it takes more words in other languages to say the same thing in English. This difference in word count also means additional physical space required, which could affect how it is seen visually. Here is a short summary showing the differences.


° With many eLearning projects, our translators are forced to abbreviate. The problem with abbreviations is that sometimes there is no one abbreviation that will make sense universally.Below are some examples. For every sentence, the first part belongs to the English content, the second part is the abbreviated, and finally, the last part is how the content should be read in an extended version.

1. To Engage Locking Differ. Slow to 65km/h / Para act. bloqu. diferenc. dis. a 65 km/h / Para activar bloqueo diferencial, disminuya a 65 km/h.
2. Terrain Mode Active / Mod. terr. act. / Modo terreno active
3. Blindspot sensor blocked / Sens. punt. cieg. bloq. / Sensor de punto ciego bloqueado

2. Exporting text. Most translation tasks these days are performed using CAT tools (computer assisted translation). You, therefore, need to export text to a format that can be used for translation, such as Word. Once translation is complete, you can export back to your m-learning environment. Some eLearning tools such as Storyline have an automated export/import feature.

3. Voice over. We already talked about text expansion, and for video recording often times we need to keep within the same word count as the English. I suggest that the translation team work on choosing as few words as possible. Once translations are complete, it can be trimmed accordingly. For straight audio (not tied to video), the on-screen timing can be adjusted to match the new audio. With respect to voice over, I suggest you use professionals to ensure excellent quality. This will also save time in the recording studio as well as engineering time. We once used a non-professional talent that was supposed to take 1.5 hours to record and instead it took 9. This huge increase in time ultimately, also means an increase in cost.

4. Pseudo translation. You want to make sure that your learning tool will work well with the translation text. It’s the technical challenges that come up at the 11th hour that can make you want to pull your hair out. Let me share with you how I lost my hair. A client assured us that their Java files did not need to be localized. We didn’t localize the 120,000 Word files until we were testing the project. Little did we know that the Java files were only visible at the testing phase.

5. Start the project as late in the process as possible. Learning courses, just like software and home improvements, are never set in stone. Content developers are constantly making last minute changes, some minor and some not so minor. If you start translation before your course is close to completion, you could end up spending up to 60% more than originally budgeted on updates. My two cents is to start the project as late in the process as possible and if changes come up, incorporate them in the linguistic QA part of the project.

6. I don’t need to preach to the choir, but I will. Make sure to address cultural issues. For instance, I was asked to help a training project for medical doctors on bedside manner. We had to rewrite most of the copy for non-U.S. centric cultures. The Hispanic cultures require a long introduction, while the American culture gets down to business right away. Another big cultural difference is medical prognosis. Most U.S. doctors treat prognosis as medical likelihood for improvements, while other cultures focus more on the will of God first and medical prognosis last.

I hope my tips have been helpful. If you need any additional information please feel free to contact our eLearning localization guru, Susan Bowles at

Welcome Susan!

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Susan Bowles Joins Local Concept as Director of Customer Strategies

Local Concept is pleased to announce a new addition to our growing team. We are excited to have Susan Bowles join our team as Director of Customer Strategies. Susan has over 14 years of experience in creating best practices for global companies.

Local Concept follows a customer service philosophy and seeks this quality, among others, in the candidates the company hires. We have assisted corporations such as Boeing and T-Mobile fit in globally since 1985.

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Paid Vacations Vary Depending on the Country in Which You Live

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vacation1Working in the U.S. means that you will have less paid vacations than most countries in the world. U.S. employees receive an average of 13 days paid vacation. Workers in Italy on the other hand are entitled to the EU mandated four weeks of vacation, equal to 20 vacation days, each year. In addition, Italy has 10 national paid holidays. Workers in the European Union are legally guaranteed at least 20 paid vacation days per year, with 25 and even 30 or more days in some countries.

Wait, it just gets worse.

A 2009 survey from Expedia showed that a third of the U.S. workforce does not use their allotted vacation time. The survey provided several reasons. Some employees prefer to cash in their vacation time, while others find it impossible to coordinate their vacations with their partners. Another reason stated, which you’re probably not going to believe, is that one in five Americans cancel their vacation plans due to work.

Where is the disconnect between enjoyment of life and work? In most countries, time off is decided at the legislative rather than the employer level. It is ingrained in the culture that it is okay, and even, encouraged, to take vacations.

There are other reasons aside from legislation why Americans don’t seem to care about the lack of vacations: American individualism. As an American, your life mostly revolves around your work and thus, you must conform to your workplace work ethic. The second reason is job security. Let’s face it, there really isn’t such a thing as job security for anyone in the U.S. In other countries, once you have worked at a company for a period of time, it takes a king or president to dismiss you. Lastly, we have the big phenomenon that we must, must, must keep up with the Joneses, so if the Jones get a new cell phone, I need one too. Hopefully sooner than later, the Jones will start demanding their vacation time, and we will follow suit.

Quality of life is what it’s all about! It is the pursuit of happiness that differentiates the American culture from the rest of the world. This was clearly evident during an interview with a candidate for Local Concept’s Paris office. After an hour-long interview, I turned to the applicant and offered her the position with a salary that was 25% higher than what she was currently earning. I sat waiting for her to jump out of her chair with excitement and hug me while thanking me. Instead, she asked me a series of questions. “What time do I have to be in the office?” she asked. She continued with, “What time do I get off?” which was followed by “How far is the office from the Metro?” As I was in the process of answering all of her questions, she politely rejected my offer, stating “What’s important to me is that I work no more than 35 hours a week and that the Metro is no more than 10 minutes from the office.”

What if Americans had 43 days paid time off? What would they do with their extra time? Not much it seems! Is there a growing problem where there is an inability for Americans to just relax and enjoy life? Perhaps we need to take a hint from our friends across the world and learn to live a little… or a lot!

30 Years ~ Thank You!

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Local Concept Rebrands as Part of Its 30-Year Anniversary

It’s been 30 years since Local Concept’s President, Michael Cardenas, crossed the border from San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico in search of his new brand. All he had washis company name ‘Multilingual Translations’. He asked the printing house to show him options for a logo before choosing a circle with the letters “MLT” and another circle around it. Now three decades later, over ten advertising and marketing agencies have worked on the corporate branding strategy for what has evolved now into Local Concept.

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