Translating Content in Lectora: Tools and Publishing Features


With Lectora® e-Learning software’s Translation Tool and Multi-language Publishing option, translating content for different languages is a straight-forward and time-saving process. In this article, we’ll go over the necessary steps to export, translate and integrate the text in your title for different languages.

Exporting Text

The Translation Tool in Lectora will extract the text in your title to an RTF (rich text format file). RTF files can be used by any language service provider to create translation files.

To export text to an RTF file, follow these steps:

1. Select Translations from the Tools Ribbon.

2. In the Translation Manager window, select Export text to a translation file.

3. Select the Include Chapters/Section/Page names option to include these names in the translation file. For example, if you have Page Titles, Breadcrumbs or a Table of Contents in your title, then you’ll need the labels used in your Title Explorer translated appropriately.

4. Select Include Image and Button names if you are developing content that must be accessible or Section 508 compliant. This option will translate the image and button names used for ALT tags.

5. Then choose the scope of text that you want to extract from your title. You may only want to translate a specific page, section or chapter rather than your entire title.

6. Specify the location for the exported translation file and click OK. Lectora will create the RTF file.

Managing the Translation File

Lectora uses the options you selected in the Translation Tool to export your text to an RTF file. You can send this file to a translator to make the necessary changes.

As you begin the process of translating the file, remember two important tips:

  • The RTF file created will include text that must not be altered. This text is displayed in red and is similar to the following: ##~~Do not edit this line.45~~##
  • RTF files should not be opened or edited in Microsoft Word. Word will automatically format your text and may cause issues when you re-import your text. Instead, you can use WordPad (included with Microsoft Windows) or Notepad++ (a free editor available here).

Importing Translated Text

Once the file has been updated with necessary translations, it’s time to apply those changes to the content in your title. You can do this by importing the RTF file with the Translation Tool.

The steps are very similar:

1. Select Translations from the Tools Ribbon.

2. This time, in the Translation Manager window, select Import text from a translation file.

3. As many languages result in longer strings, it’s a good idea to select the option to Increase text box size if needed. Doing so will automatically increase the size of text blocks to accommodate longer text strings. Otherwise, you may have to spend significant time manually adjusting text blocks to fit the resulting text.

4. Some translation tools and applications may cause unwanted characters or symbols to appear in your text after you have imported the RTF file. If you are experiencing this issue, select Strict RTF filtering to help alleviate the problem.

5. Choose the same scope as when you exported the RTF.

6. Browse for and select the translated RTF file and click OK. The content within your title will automatically update to reflect the imported text from the RTF file.

Publish Strings

While the Translation Tool will help you manage the text in your title, keep in mind that Lectora publishes a number of strings automatically as part of your course. For example, consider default feedback, Test Results and confirmation or error messages that may appear—these will also need to be translated.

To work with this set of text, you’ll need to manage your Publish Strings.

1. Select Lectora Preferences from the File Ribbon and select the Publish Strings tab.

2. Select Export to save the default publish strings to a text file. As with the RTF translation file, you can translate the text in a text editor.

3. Import the translated text file and specify a name for the Publish String Set.

4. Repeat this process to add as many translated string sets that you need.

5. Select the appropriate String Set for your title before you publish.

Multi-language Publishing

Translating one course into multiple languages can be time-consuming and complicated. However, Lectora provides you with a few options to help streamline the process.

One method of integrating multiple languages for the same course is to create a chapter for each language, and a landing page that branches you to the appropriate language based upon your learner’s selection.

If you are required to create separate courses in each language, then you will want to take advantage of Lectora’s Multi-language Publishing option. After your main title is published, Lectora will publish a different version of the same course for each language for which you have a translation file.

To publish your title to multiple languages, follow these steps:

1. First, you’ll need to use the Translation Tool to export the text in your title to a translation file using the process described above. Create a copy of the RTF file and translate it for every language you need.

2. Likewise, add translated Publish String Sets for each corresponding language.

3. Once you’re ready to publish, choose your Publish option and select the Languages tab from the Publish window.

4. Browse for and select one of the RTF Translation Files from Step 1.

5. Select its corresponding language from the drop-down to declare the language in the HTML of your published title.

6. Select the corresponding Publish String Set from Step 2.

7. Enter the name of the Publish Folder—this will be a subfolder of your Publish destination folder. For example, if you are publishing your title to My Titles\Dog Training\html, and you specify a Publish folder named “Spanish”, then the Spanish translation of your title will be created in My Titles\Dog Training\html\Spanish.

8. Select Add Language. The information you specified is added to the table below.

9. Repeat Steps 4 through 7 for each language in which you want to publish your title.

When your title is published, you will find the subfolders you specified, and within each subfolder, Lectora will publish a copy of your title using the translated RTF file and Publish String Set to create a translated version of your course.

Additional Considerations

If you plan to translate your title, design the layout of your course with translation in mind. Remember that text blocks will resize to accommodate longer strings, and this can affect the layering and arrangement of objects on the page. Consider which text properties may help or hinder this process. You may want to take advantage of Lectora’s ability to wrap text around other objects so that your text will flow around images and buttons if the text block size grows.

Don’t forget additional resources in your title that will need translating. Audio, video, attachments and documents may need to be updated or replaced.

Finally, remember that translation is not the same as localization. While Lectora’s tools will help you to translate the text in your title, it’s up to you to design with your learners in mind. For example, symbols, currencies and formatting for dates and addresses will vary for different cultures and countries.

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  • Hi Laura, could you please provide more info on how to use Notepad++ to edit the RTF files? AFAIK Notepad++ opens them as plain text (which looks like gibberish) and is of little help to translators.

    • Laura Silver

      Hi Sergey, You’re correct – Notepad++ won’t show rich text formatting. I mentioned it as an alternative to Word, but Wordpad would be a better solution.

      • Joe Wieloch

        For Lectora Online we recommend Notepad++ and ensuring the Encoding is set to UTF-8 and the Language is set to HTML. Also with Lectora Online you need to have the title checked out in order to import your translations.

  • kareem muhammad

    Hi, Could you please help in a publish string problem when I translate strings to Arabic and publish it, The “trivantis-strings.js” file show corrupted text.
    Could these affect the final results?
    Thanks in regard

  • Chidamber Pujar

    Are there any known issues while localizing to Chinese? Need to know if there are any probable risks that i should be aware of. Thank you.

    • Jennifer Valley

      As long as you follow the instructions listed above carefully, making sure the translator doesn’t adjust the RTF incorrectly (i.e. extra spaces, delete a red line, ect), the file doesn’t get opened in word, and you use a Unicode font in your Lectora title (I suggest Arial Unicode MS) you shouldn’t run into any issues.I worked for a company that pushed through hundreds of Chinese translations a year (traditional and simplified) and most of the time they went smoothly (unless one of the items above happened).

      • Chidamber Pujar

        Thanks Jennifer. Appreciate your inputs.

  • Yao Huang

    I’ve done a few translations to Chinese before, and be care for the text on graphic and variable, which are not easy for translators to catch up.

  • Stephan H.

    Is there any chance for a real translation interchange format like XLIFF? Because RTF cannot be handled in any professional CAT tool (afaik).

  • Timo Tretter

    I would recommend using XLIFF as a translation exchange format. It allows you to handle the translation status in the file and is able to provide metadata for the units you want to translate. XLIFF is supported by the majority of translation tools.
    A XML based format, such as XLIFF, will help you with separating the internal structure of the translation units from the text to translate. It makes sure the structure is not getting changed while only the translation is added to the file.

  • Ian McDonald

    The write-up explains how to export/import via RTF format, but two people below mention XLIFF. From reading the write-up there is no XLIFF option?

    • Lectora

      We do not currently support XLIFF. Exporting/importing using RTF is our recommended method. Please reach out if you have any problems, we’re happy to help!

  • Ian McDonald

    Will Lectora publish/roundtrip the translations as RTF ok in the following languages:

    1. German
    2. Bosnian
    3. Bulgaria
    4. Danish
    5. Estonian
    6. Finnish
    7. French
    8. Italian
    9. Croatia
    10. Czech
    11. Latvian
    12. Lithuanian
    13. Macedonian
    14. Dutch
    15. Norwegian
    16. Polish
    17. Swedish
    18. Serbian
    19. Slovakian
    20. Hungarian

    • Lectora

      Hi Ian, all of those languages should work just fine with RTF. Happy translating!