Video topic setup (2) – sample files

Posted on Posted in E-Learning essentials


After selecting your topic and creating a list of sub-topics and a structure for the video, there is one more step that can take quite some time – the creation of samples.

Very often, I know exactly what I want to show, but creating the right sample file for the purpose is not as easy as it looks like.

First, it should be a sample in the right language – if I create a German video, I try to use German source text in my samples. For other languages I tend to create separate sample documents instead of just translating existing ones. The obvious reason is that not everything that work in one language works also in another. Prominent example would be the use of numbers and dots in German (Das 3. Treffen der 2. Gruppe…) which can be nicely used to show segmentation issues in a translation tool. But the same example does not work for English (The second meeting of the third group…).

Next it should be simple, very very simple. The simpler the text the more people concentrate on the actual feature.

During my early training days some 15 years back I already used such very simple files. You know “this is a test”, “this is another test” etc. Some people (translators) complained that these simple segments did not represent the kind of text they had to deal with and they asked for some more sophisticated texts. When I tried that in my next class it turned out that now the participants were arguing over how to translate a sentence correctly instead of listening to me while I explained the feature. That is why I now use very short, simple sentence (and tell my audience why I do so, to avoid any discussion).

My motto is: One sentence – one feature. I found that it is easier to focus on the features of a software if one sample only applies to one specific feature you want to show. So one segment for showing the term check, another for showing a certain match value, another for showing the number substitution etc. People tend to get confused if the same sentence is used to show different features.

The hardest thing is the logical sequence of things to show. The sentences in the sample document do not need to make sense as a text, but the things you want to show will have a certain logic to them and therefore the sample sentences should follow that logic.

As our learning bits are quite small, so should be the sample files – short and easy to navigate. Put too much into one sample file and you keep jumping around in the file, losing your participants. The more you show them the more they will try to find out what the other sentences are there for which will distract them from the actual goal.



(Trainer for translation tools since 1997)

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