Translation in the Education field: tips for beginners

Studying localization strategies and multilingual content for various levels contribute to your growth in this subject area.
Thalita Lima
9 min
Table of Contents

In the education field, translators have a fantastic opportunity. With new teaching tools integrating into the digital realm – way beyond just ebooks – it's become easier to learn a new subject with internet access. Video lectures, apps, games, interactive content, online tests – all designed to attract and engage students.

Formal education institutions (schools, universities, and technical institutions) are embracing these tools, and the vast market of digital courses is following suit.

However, there's still a barrier for this market: the majority of content is available in just one language, usually English or Chinese, the two most widely spoken languages globally. To break through this bubble, the valuable service of translation comes in, offering support to make knowledge accessible in a variety of languages.

If you're a translator interested in the education field, still figuring out how to specialize in this area, these strategies can help you attract more projects.

#1 Be true to the institution tone

A translation project in this area should embody the tone of the educational institution that created the course/material. It's crucial for the translator to grasp this style and follow it throughout the process.

A course with a more informal, playful style will be composed with different words than a formal and technical one. It's like music (which is also a language): change the tone, change the chords... or, in this case, the words! 

Translation memory, like the one we have in our CAT tool, BWX, works as an instrument helping you follow the harmony in the entire project, suggesting terms that align with the client's style. 

Guides or references to the organization's style are welcome and contribute to refining the quality of work.

#2 Exercise translating for different levels

In addition to each institution's style, address to the specific target audience is crucial for a language service. Translating for students of different ages and educational levels requires adaptation from the translator.

The goal of a serious education project is always the same: ensuring each student learns and maximizes their potential. Each student has different needs to absorb content. Within the formal education field, education levels typically fall into four categories: primary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary.

What strategies work for each level?

  • Primary: This level covers children up to around 10 years old. The translator's effort is to keep the content simple. No jargon, no difficult words. For this audience, images and videos carry even more weight. Therefore, projects might require professional experience with translating texts for narrations and dubbing.

  • Middle: Pre-adolescent audiences require simplicity but with a bit more creativity. They can already read and need an engaging language to stay interested in the subject. Translation projects with subtitles can be part of the proposal for this level.

  • Secondary: A range with more independent learning. They are preparing for university entrance exams, and the learning process includes many tests and exams. The translator needs skills with these assessment models. Enhancing the translation of multimedia content is also crucial to attract this audience, which is more connected to technologies.

  • Post-secondary: Requires the translator to have more specific knowledge in certain areas. Dictionaries of technical terms are super useful for translating content at this level. Integrated glossaries, like the ones we have in our CAT tool, are a lifesaver to meet this demand.
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At Bureau Works, we offer translation services for schools and educational institutions at all these levels. Our translation method includes an innovative tool that provides linguists with the knowledge, information, and context necessary to make the right decisions for the content. 

All of this on a platform with an optimized workflow and encrypted information, ensuring the security of your client's content.

#3 Learn about Localization and Multimedia Content Translation

The interface is a fundamental part of student engagement. Consequently, of learning! Images, graphics, tables, and other non-verbal elements need to be translated with quality.

It's super important to pay attention to Localization strategies. What does this term mean? It refers to adapting the translation to incorporate cultural and linguistic nuances of the location (market) where the content will be consumed.

Imagine, for example, a book for primary-level children discussing animals. If it's delivered in China, it might feature species like a giant panda, a golden pheasant, or a Siberian tiger. But if consumed by children in Brazil, a jaguar or a golden lion tamarin would be more appropriate because they are part of the geographical context of the students.

Localization makes the text culturally appropriate for the target audience while staying true to the authentic text.

#4 Explore multilingual E-learnings

E-learning contents are the most demanding from a cultural standpoint. They illustrate perfectly the importance of context-sensitive translation. Also, the importance of the translator's training and repertoire.

The best way to train this repertoire is to explore other E-learning contents (quality references, of course!) with access to a variety of languages. Observe and study which parts are more sensitive, which require a more laborious cultural translation.

Symbols, proverbs, images... Bringing references that make sense to the country's audience is the key.

Translation Service in Education has many benefits

High translated education projects achieve results that can be very rewarding for the translator who worked on them. Among the benefits, we can mention:

  • Generates better assimilation of concepts.
  • Improves student performance.
  • Allows knowledge to cross cultural and geographical borders.

Even with all the help from AI tools, which significantly speed up the workflow, the human touch of the translator is essential to fine-tune communication and ensure that educational content fulfills its purpose.

Thalita Lima
Passionate about languages and the power of localization to connect minds. Journalist, writer, photographer, and ecology student
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