When you’re planning a localization strategy, you also need to translate website content. These days, the process is a lot simpler, especially with all the options available to you.
Even so, you need to choose the right method to ensure that the translation is accurate. What’s more, you need to consider optimizing the content for local search engines.
As such, we’ve put together this article to show you the best methods you can use to translate website content.
1. Translation Management System
If you want to save time in the long run, you can translate website content by uploading it to a cloud-based translation management system.
A translation management system uses the intelligence and speed of machine translation. Within a few seconds or minutes, you can generate a first draft of the translated website content using this tool. As such, you can save time, especially when you’re processing several web pages.
Once the draft is complete, a professional translator goes through the system to make appropriate adjustments to the machine-translated content. In general, machine translation is flawed and would always need human intervention.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Translation Management System?
You can save money and time by automating the first draft of the translation. A human translator would only need to focus on using the right tone and specialized terms.
Translation Memory stores the human-edited terms and phrases from the first draft. As a result, when they come up in texts, the system generates the appropriate translation automatically.
The existing translations are already stored in the system, cutting down the time it takes for you to process updated content. Within seconds, the translation management system will identify texts that have been translated before. It will determine what has been modified or added, allowing you to focus on new content translation.
2. CMS Plug-Ins
E-commerce platforms or content management systems like Shopify, WordPress, BigCommerce, and Drupal can use a translation plug-in. What’s great about this method is that you can share your CMS access with a professional translator. This way, this person can process the text directly on the websites. Moreover, you can perform all updates in real-time and without any interruptions.
What Are the Benefits of Plug-In Based Translation?
Webmasters prefer plug-ins to translate website content because the localized text can be published as soon as it is generated. The risk of making mistakes in copying and pasting content will also be eliminated.
It is not uncommon to find good translation plug-ins for free. You can also opt for paid ones which usually cost around $15. However, the free ones are good enough. In most cases, all you need to pay for is the translation agency’s fee.
What’s the Process Involved in Translation Plug-Ins?
Depending on the platform you’re using, you can search the web marketplace for keywords like “WordPress translation plug-in” or “Shopify translation plug-in”. Then, you can hire a professional translator and give them access to your e-commerce platform or content management system.
Once you get a draft of the translated content, you can review it. If it meets your quality standards, you can click Publish on the CMS.
3. Word Extraction
If the website doesn’t have structure or if it has several child items or sub-pages, word extraction would be the ideal choice. With this method, you’ll use ‘scraping’ tools to extract the text automatically from the website. Once the process is complete, you can forward the content to a professional translator. By taking this approach, you can ensure that the extraction process does not miss any text.
This method can only be effective if the webmaster is proficient in using content indexing, scraping, and spidering tools. They should know how to use such programs to gather all the information from every page. Unfortunately, it is not common for webmasters to know how to use these tools. However, some translation companies also offer website data extraction services.
What Are the Disadvantages of Word Extraction?
When you translate website content using word extraction tools, expect the quality to be poor. Indeed, the process will collect the text from your pages. However, during the scraping process, the structure, context, and syntax of the default language can get lost. Consequently, the translated text becomes different from the original. On the other hand, the quality will suffice if you’ll use the extracted text for databases where inference or subtlety is unnecessary.
Another downside to data extraction is the cost. If you ask your webmaster to perform data extraction, they’ll need tools that may cost between $50 to $200. However, if you work directly with a translation company and they offer such a service, the fee is usually included in the package.
4. Translation Proxy Server
You can also translate website content by using a translation proxy server. This technology allows you to host your website in other languages. This way, you won’t have to host and manage localized content within your content management system.
Does your publishing platform not support localization workflows? Perhaps, it’s not presenting dynamically generated content. If so, then translation proxy servers would be the ideal solution for your organization.
With this approach, you can translate website content and presentation-template text in one place. By taking advantage of the site’s current functionality, this system avoids monopolizing IT support. This hands-off method requires minimal IT effort while speeding up time-to-market. However, it works best when your site has minimal unique content. The translated version usually mirrors the original site.
If you are not inclined to invest in a costly integration solution, a translation proxy server will be an ideal solution for you. After all, it works off your rendered HTML pages. It’s also perfect for those who’d like a middle ground before transitioning to a full-featured CMS.
What’s the Process Involved in a Translation Proxy Server?
The proxy replaces the content for the source language, with the content for the target language while sitting over the original website. It simplifies globalization workflows by allowing clients to manage their source content only. Meanwhile, global users can access the content in their native language.
You can compare a translation proxy server with a connecting flight that is always punctual. While you need to deliver your content to your multi-lingual consumer, the content cannot reach them directly. What the proxy server does is use a smaller plane or the recipient’s language to let you reach your consumers.
With a translation proxy server, you can focus on your source English site. The content will be hosted, crawled, and translated in the proxy. There will be a low-touch approach to localization because the updates will be detected and translated automatically.
Once users visit your site, their browsers will determine their preferred language. The translations will be hosted on proxy sites instead of the original site. The process only replaces the language, leaving the look and branding of the website the same.
Is a Translation Proxy Server the Ideal Solution for You?
Your chosen LSP will work with your translation proxy server software to crawl or scrape the original site. It will send strings of code and text out for translation. The type of translations you will receive will depend on your quality needs. For instance, you can choose machine translation only or with post-editing or full human corrections.
In most cases, professional human translation provides the best quality for website translations. However, your decision will still depend on your budget, content type, and use case.
5. Professional Human Translation
If you want the highest level of accuracy for your website, your best option is to hire a human translator. You’ll need someone who is a native speaker of the target language. They should also be knowledgeable about the subject matter that you discuss on your website.
What Are the Advantages of Human-Generated Translations?
Machine translation can give you quick results, but the output wouldn’t bring an authentic experience to website visitors. On the other hand, human translation can understand cultural nuances and phrases.
However, as we’ve mentioned, you need to find translators who are proficient in your website’s subject matter. Otherwise, they might not efficiently handle regulations, terms, and even practices common in your field.
How Do You Work with a Professional Translator?
All you need to do is visit GoTranscript and submit the website URL you need to translate. Once you’ve submitted the link, you’ll have an account executive and a translator working with you. Secure your payment, and the translation service will begin within two to four hours. When your order’s complete, the translation will be sent to your email.
What’s great about GoTranscript’s services is that the translations are 100% generated by humans. We have over 17,000 professional translators who are native experience. Moreover, they have work experience in the industries for which they translate. So, you can expect your website translation to be accurate and authentic.
Best Practices for Translating Websites
If you want to expand your reach to multiple countries, your website content must be available in various languages. Now, how do you ensure that your translation is effective? Here are four best practices that you can follow when you translate website content:
Select the Ideal Website Translation Method
As we’ve discussed, you have a couple of options for translating your websites. Machine translation is the fastest and easiest method. However, it is the least accurate. So, if you rely on that option solely, you’ll only embarrass yourself and damage your credibility.
So, if you want to ensure that your translated website speaks to your target audience, you should work with professional translators. You may have to spend more, but the results will make up for your initial investment.
If you’re running a small business and you’re on a tight budget, you can go for a combination of machine translation and professional translation services. The translator can proofread the content from any software you use.
Choose the Ideal Target Languages
It’s impractical to translate your website to all the languages in the world. So, you should focus on a few key languages that are important to your business. If you don’t know where to start, you can begin with Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, German, and Portuguese.
Keep in mind that the languages you choose will depend on your target audience. So, if you’re still uncertain which language is ideal for you, you can check your website traffic. Review the locations from where your current users are accessing your site. If people from a specific country keep opening your pages, then you have discovered a new market.
Make the Languages Easy to Access
If you’re targeting the United States when you’re building a website, you’d probably choose English as its language. After all, most people assume that majority of Americans speak English. However, according to an article published in The Guardian, the U.S. has more Spanish speakers than Spain.
When developing a site, you need to ensure that visitors feel welcome. They should be able to access the content in the way that they prefer. You can set the default language to the one that is most common in a geographic area. However, it must be easy for users to switch to their preferred language.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can set the website to remember the visitors’ language preferences. This way, they won’t have to select their language whenever they go to your website. Consequently, this will also enhance user experience and lower your site’s bounce rate.
Choose the Right Language Format
When you’re translating your website, you need to be cautious about the formatting requirements for each language. For instance, in French, you list the calendar date with the day followed by the month and year (day/month/year).
Addresses and phone numbers should also be formatted according to the conventions in the language you’re targeting. Otherwise, your potential customers will have no way of contacting you.
You should also consider how people read websites. For instance, in English-speaking countries, people usually pay attention first to what they see on the left side. However, in other countries, particularly Arab nations, people read from right to left. So, you should also think of how you can design the website to accommodate specific languages.
When you’re choosing which method to use to translate website content, you need to plan the process to avoid complications and inconveniences. So, every decision-maker in the company should agree on a solution that will suit the budget and the outcome you want to achieve.