Adding Native Language Translations to your Script

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Table of Contents:



  • If you are creating a script as part of a Language Collaborative project, please follow the guidelines for formatting chunk sections on our Formatting Standards for Scripts page.
  • If you are creating a script for yourself or for some other organization you may want to follow these standards, or you may prefer to create your own format - the choice is yours.


Translation Guidelines:

  • Understand the big picture: The user will be using your lesson to learn the lesson's target language content. The purpose of the native language content is to help the user to understand what they are learning.
  • Translate chunk by chunk: Focus on one chunk at a time. There will probably be several different ways that you can translate each chunk. Select a translation that corresponds to the meaning, tone, and level of formality of the target language chunk.
  • Don't expect perfect full-sentence translations: The syntax rules of different languages vary a great deal. In many cases, if you try to re-combine your native language chunks into a full sentence that corresponds to a target language sentence, it won't be a very good translation. In fact, it may be an awful translation. That's okay. You aren't translating sentences - you're translating chunks. Focus on providing a clear translation for each chunk.
  • Don't expect perfect chunk translations: At times you'll have to choose between a translation that corresponds closely to the wording in the target language, but doesn't follow standard grammar in the native language, or a more idiomatic translation that sounds great in the native language but doesn't correspond to the target language's wording. Frankly, this is a challenge that is inherant in Language Mentor's "mostly audio" approach to language learning. At times like this you may yearn for the option to add a footnote. While we're sympathetic, we suggest that you stifle this impulse and simply make the best choice that you can for each chunk. It's been our experience that it is usually (but not always) most helpful to learners to provide translations that hew closely to the target language's wording, even when they sound awkward or are actually incorrect in the native language. Remember, the goal of the native language content is to help the learner understand the target language, not to teach correct usage of the native language.


If you have questions about the lesson creation process, please contact us on our Creating Lessons forum. We're here to help.

What's Next?

Next we'll explain how to identify dialog characters (if any) in your script.

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