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7 Questions About Website Translation Your Boss Wants To Know

Last updated on May 17th, 2021 at 01:26 pm

Adding a language to a website involves planning and preparation, which requires knowledge of the activities necessary in creating a flawless multilingual site. In general, you can divide these activities into two parts: initial activities and maintenance activities. In this post we are going to discuss some key fundamentals you must consider when adding new languages to your website, by answering the 7 most common questions we get about website translation.

1. Are there any additional costs on top of translating the content?

The short answer is, yes. Translation of content is one of the main line items in the budget, but the cost of translating a website also includes:

  • Hosting costs for additional languages.
  • IT costs to add and maintain the language versions. These may vary depending on the platform and the cost to update/publish the translated copy for new languages.

There are new technologies available such as Translation Proxy Solutions that reduce the need for most of these additional costs. Translation Proxys automatically create the new language pages on the fly, eliminating the need to have the mirror image of the site in that language and services of an IT staff.

2. How do we keep the changes up to date in the different languages?

This depends on the approach used. With an html website, it takes quite a bit of work, as the new or modified pages are translated and have to be re-linked in the new languages.

With a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or Magento, the content can be exported, and reimported in the new languages every time there are updates to the source language version. This can be cumbersome and error prone when there are frequent changes. However, this can be resolved through a) Translation Proxy Solutions or b) Content Management Connectors.

Both solutions provide an autonomous and automated process to keep the additions of new pages and updated published pages in sync with the other languages.

3. If we only change a small part of a page, do we have to pay for the complete translation of the page again?

You should not have to. When you partner with a Translation Company that has experience with Website Translations, they will maintain your translations in a translation memory, and be able to reuse it so you only pay for the changes.

4. How much IT work is involved in translating a website?

As we have seen above, there can be quite a bit of work, or very little depending on the technology used, and the partner you choose to help you in the project. Make sure you choose a partner that has experience in translation, advanced technology and offer different alternatives to website translation process. Also, make sure that the technology used is proven in large websites as well as small ones.

5. Can we afford to translate our very large e-commerce website?

This is a great question we get frequently. There are large websites with tens of thousands of pages, that would be expensive to translate, as the cost of translation is typically by the word.

Fortunately, new automated translation technology (Machine Translation) has improved and can now aid in translation of large websites, and paired up with a process that fine tunes the translation machine for a particular project or website, has improved the quality while reducing the cost compared to human translations. This automated translation can also be improved with post-editing, which was explained in a previous article titledPolishing your machine translation, and adds the revisions of the machine translated content by a human translator.

The best scenario is to be able to manage these large volumes of content and translation options with your business in mind. One of our advance multilingual solutions, ATLAS, has an interesting capability- it allows you to choose the portions that will be translated by professional translators, by automated translation and what will be post edited. It even lets you choose the pages to be post-edited by the level of the page in the navigation, by individual page and by how many visits it receives, allowing tremendous flexibility in budget management.

6. Why do we need to translate the website anyway?

This is probably the best question. We have compiled statistics on this matter, and we are happy to share them with you. Here are some interesting facts:

  • 65% of online visitors speak a native language other than English
  • Visitors are three times more likely to buy a product from a website translated in their native language
  • Users browse twice as long on websites translated in their native language
  • 78% of the US Hispanic population speak Spanish (roughly 42 million)
  • 68% of Chinese users spend less or no time on English (only) websites

So why do you need to translate your site? It seems quite obvious but your products and market determine the best languages for your multilingual approach.

7. How long will it take to have the translated website up and running?

It depends mostly on the size of the website, the translation partner you choose, and the technology used.

Make sure you choose a translation partner that has experience with website translations, has the appropriate technology to offer options, and will help and support you with the technical aspect of the project. The translation company you work with should be able to leverage technology to have their team of translators working in parallel. Also consider leveraging new technologies such as Translation Proxy Solutions to reduce the time and costs associated with publishing the new languages.

As a rule of thumb, it should take less than the time it took to develop the website in the source language if you use the right partner and technology solution.

Sergio Ruffolo
Sergio Ruffolo
Sergio has more than 25 years of multinational experience providing consulting services and leading IT organizations in Africa, Asia and America, which has given him plenty interesting and insightful lessons to teach about global business. He is fluent in Spanish and English, in addition to conversational Portuguese. He has lived in more than 12 cities around the world, moving around and working in different cultures has left him with a real global perspective. Sergio is a real citizen of the world.