Translation Technology

A Closer Look: Website Translation and Multilingual CMSs

Learn what multilingual CMSs can—and can’t—do for your localized online customer experience.

Todd Michalik's avatar
Todd Michalik

March 11, 2020

4 MIN READ

Providing localized online experiences for multilingual customers is a business best practice; most business leaders know that these days. What’s less commonly known, however, is the extensive work and resources that localized websites often require.

To sidestep the hassle and expense, many companies opt to leverage the built-in multilingual features of their Content Management Systems. This often proves to be a smart move … until it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, even the most robust CMSs can create unexpected effort, cost and confusion for companies—which leads to delays, UX issues and other problems. Let’s take a closer look.

The Upsides of Multilingual CMSs

Leading CMSs offer the ability to easily create and manage multilingual websites for multiple markets. These are often marketed as Multilingual CMSs. These platforms often offer:

  • The ability to create hundreds (or thousands) of alternative-language website pages, and automatically manage the relationships between those pages on a continual basis
  • Automatic updates of localized webpages in real time, without major development resources
  • Efficient creation of work assignments for translators
  • Content managers can customize multilingual content with unique verbiage for specific markets

The Challenges

Despite those advantages, multilingual CMSs aren’t a perfect solution for all use cases. They ultimately have key limitations that demand more effort and resources than other website translation approaches.

Manual Workflow Management

Multilingual CMSs make it easier to store, organize and serve localized digital content, but they don’t help with the actual translation of content. Unless you create an in-house translation team, your current personnel must:

  • Manage the workflows to send content between your CMS and your translation vendor
  • Manage the relationship and production deadlines with your translation vendor
  • Ensure the complex process of translation and publication of the content was successfully completed

These tasks, and others, are required on an ongoing basis.

Connectors

Companies must purchase plugin-like connectors from translation vendors to enable the export and import content to their CMS platforms. These are often quite costly, and may require significant (and ongoing) development to properly function with a company’s customized CMS instance.

Connectors are also often dependent on your CMS, meaning you’ll have to buy a new one if you migrate your content to another platform. CMS upgrades and other changes to your tech stack can create compatibility issues, too.

Supporting Personnel and Technology

In addition to purchasing a connector, you may need additional personnel to handle the technical and operational challenges associated with managing website localization projects, or train your existing teams to manage new workflows, processes and new technologies.

Retranslation of Content

While multilingual CMSs often feature world-class website management technologies, the processes involved in translating their content remain fairly low-tech. The systems can only send all of the website’s content to a translation vendor, when in fact it should ideally send only the “net new” content that requires translation. (“Net new” content represents the new or updated content that was added to the site since the site’s previous content update.)

This inefficient process can create a significant economic costs because—due to the all-or-nothing way most vendors process content for translation—it dramatically increases the likelihood that previously translated text will be translated again and again.

This means you overpay for translations when vendors cannot—or will not—check to see if they have already localized phrases, sentences or pages within a new batch of incoming website content.

UX Risks

A multilingual CMS on its own won’t show your linguists how translated content will appear “live” on your website. This puts your UX at risk for misaligned text and images, or translations that don’t match your brand voice.

A lack of in-context editing tools also makes it challenging to create custom content for local markets.

A Superior Digital Localization Solution

Multilingual CMSs aren’t the only solution companies can leverage for website localization. Other approaches can complement the features of multilingual CMSs while eliminating all the risks.

Look for world-class solutions that offer:

  • Turn-key proxy-based technology that automatically handles all translation workflows and seamlessly replicates your CX
  • All personnel, technology and expertise needed to launch and operate localized websites
  • Technologies optimized for cost-savings, such as superior translation memory and content detection tools
  • Content customization with in-context editing tools
  • Effortless ongoing operation and less than 5 total hours of initial IT development
  • Industry-leading translation turnaround, including translating new content in about one business day
  • Compatibility with any CMS, programming language and supporting website technologies

Conclusion

Complementing a CMS with a superior proxy-based translation solution is more effective and costs less—in translation costs, human resources, time and effort—than the ongoing expense and hassle of fussing with connectors and legacy translation vendors.

The best vendors help your company control costs, relieve technical and operational burdens from your teams and provide an engaging, authentic localized CX worthy of your brand.

Last updated on March 11, 2020
Todd Michalik's avatar

About Todd Michalik

Todd Michalik manages the pre-sales technical process and evangelizes MotionPoint’s technology to existing and prospective customers. He spearheaded the creation of our data-driven culture, mentors & motivates engineers and data analysts, oversees the operation of our collaborative sales tools, and more.

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