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5 considerations for Website translations

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

... with money-saving tips!

showing globe with multiple languages on a keyboard (Foreign Translations)

I can just use Google, right?

If a quality web translation is not needed, go with the free (mostly automated) option – Google or Bing.  If quality is important to you, you have options.

To achieve a quality website translation, you need to partner with professional linguists who understand your service or product.

Factors to consider:

  1. Structure of your site: How is it hosted, how is your content managed? Are you using a Content Management System (CMS) and/or using a website hosting "engine" like GoDaddy, Wix, etc?  Tip: Using site templates with very little variance is key to portability to other languages. You can apply the same or other template with little impact to the look and feel of your site.

  2. Content to translate: what is the scope of the project? Do you need the entire site translated or just part of it? Is there related content outside your site that need to be translated? What about linked files like PDFs, do they need to be translated? Tip: Identify the key (most important) content and functionality that needs to be in your target (language) site. You do not have to translate every single section, word or feature of your original site.

  3. Multi-media: does your site have audio and/or video to translate? See our web page on multimedia translation services for more information. Tip: multi-media expenses are typically quite high compared to other content, so apply the tip from #2 here as well - focus on content that's needed.

  4. Translated site(s): what are the file formats for your website translation? Will your translation site be “mirror” of your current site or will it be its own site? Tip: consider this during your planning phase to avoid nasty surprises or delays when you're ready to launch the new translated site(s).

  5. Target languages and locales: what countries are you targeting? What dialects or locales? Tip: You can save money by going with the "common denominator" in areas with many dialects. E.g. translating to Chinese? Stick to Mandarin or Cantonese, depending on your target audiences and do not worry about other dialects. (See our blog post: Languages of China)

These are just some of the items to consider. Website translations vary in complexity from simple "brochure-ware" type of sites to fully interactive, dynamic web sites. A little planning can save time, hassle and money! It’s critical to communicate with your translation team to set guidance, expectations, and timing.


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