Websites are unlike any other translation project because they’re living, breathing entities. They change every day—or sometimes every hour—as companies add new content, update products, or offer additional services. When it comes to translation though, they are particularly challenging because of maintenance. A single website is difficult to keep updated; adding multilingual updates to the mix can make it feel impossible. Solving this problem will require using some essential website translation tools.
Ideally, tools will eliminate the many tasks that take time away from managers. They will also improve translations, allow for more consistent updates, and help to allocate localization budgets better. When used properly, these tools can significantly boost the return on investment of the project.
Challenges in Website Translation
The biggest challenge in website translation is summed up in a single word: maintenance. The initial building of a website and its translation is generally considered simple; but when changes occur, it can spur a series of additional tasks that are hard to manage. The localization manager must:
- Monitor the website for changes consistently: The bigger the website, the harder this task becomes.
- Submit jobs: If they don’t have a website translation program, this will include finding, vetting, and hiring linguists.
- Oversee projects: They’ll have to consistently follow up with the linguists to ensure timely project completion.
- Review the returned content: Quality assurance isn’t always a default benefit of working with a website translation agency. The manager will also have to check the content to ensure it aligns with the company’s branded voice.
- Upload the content: This is another step that sounds easy but quickly becomes a challenge. Translation can break code, causing the page to appear in an unexpected way or damaging the user experience.
As the manager completes all these steps, the information on all their foreign language sites falls out of date. This vicious cycle is what causes missed updates and deadlines. That’s why it’s vital to take advantage of tools to automate the process when you translate a website.
Website Translation Tools That Streamline Management
The following website translation tools support a continuous localization process where changes on the core website immediately trigger jobs:
- Command-line interface (CLI): By using a CLI, the developer can create a crawler to monitor the website for changes. When one is discovered, it will automatically trigger jobs.
- Connectors: Connectors funnel content from the translation management platform to sites like Drupal, WordPress, or Adobe Experience Manager. They allow the team to upload content automatically and ensure a consistently up-to-date site.
- Machine translation (MT): Not every piece of content needs a detailed, high-quality translation. A good example is the careers page of a website. It will do little to trigger sales or customer engagement, so it may be safe to run it through an MT program.
- Glossaries: Client-specific glossaries are essential for keeping the search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in place. The glossary will list the preferred vernacular and map it to other foreign language counterparts. The linguists will then use it to guide their translations and ensure the SEO strategy carries over to new markets.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) assignments: A lot of time is lost in locating, vetting, and hiring linguists. Ideally, website translation tools will include an AI-based program that uses project metrics to assign the perfect person to the job automatically.
- Translation memories: The translation memory is a tool that stores the client-specific information relating to content and preferred terms; it also powers machine translation programs. Since it’s ever-evolving, it will become increasingly better over time, so you can reduce costs by taking advantage of higher quality MT.
- Real-time workflows: Following up on a project may seem simple, but it’s a task that can become a significant time sink. A collaborative platform will allow you to get an at-a-glance review of exactly where linguists are on a project, cutting this follow-up time down to moments.
- Preview panels: While you may never see these, they are essential for linguists. The linguists can review how the content will appear once they complete it. It also helps them to eliminate issues with formatting or broken code while providing valuable context on what they’re writing.
- Quality assurance (QA): Quality assurance isn’t a tool, per se. Instead, it’s a process that should come standard in translation. The agency should review projects and focus on factors designed for conversions, like calls to action and call-outs.
When using a combination of these website translation tools on a powerful platform, you can significantly improve your ROI by eliminating many unnecessary steps. They help you control the maintenance of many websites in different languages while ensuring the highest quality translation. When seeking out website translation, it’s best to choose a service that offers all these tools as standard, not as add-ons.