Overseeing the technical needs of a growing global business isn’t easy, especially when you’re managing a lean IT / development team. This becomes especially tough when you’re asked to take the technical lead on a website translation project designed to engage customers in international markets.
Thankfully, digital content localization solutions have evolved in recent years. The most advanced approaches are now:
- Flexible and adaptable
- Integrate easily with other technologies
- Are cost-effective and budget-friendly
- Don’t demand additional IT staff or resources
- Won’t break down when you upgrade or migrate CMSs
This first installment in a two-part guide highlights what technical questions an IT team should ask while choosing a content localization solution.
How a Translation Project Impacts Your Team
Countless technical complexities can make it tricky to localize your origin website’s content for international markets. As you research website translation solutions, consider these questions:
- How will different solutions affect my site’s back-end systems?
- What happens if I want to redesign my site or make a platform migration?
- Will the solution translate social media, payment platforms, third-party apps and other multichannel content?
- Who manages the workflows to funnel new content to and from translators?
- What happens when translated content is too long or short for existing web templates?
Advanced translation solutions can manage these issues in ways that dramatically ease technical and workflow burdens within your organization, or eliminate them altogether. This helps ensure a great customer experience for global users.
Choosing the Best Solution for Your Needs
Before you choose a content translation solution, consider your translation needs. This information is critical, since different solutions handle these needs with different degrees of success.
- Do you need to only translate your company’s website?
- Do you need to only translate offline content, social media content and other non-website content?
- Or do you need to translate both website and omnichannel content?
For now, let’s consider the first scenario where only your company’s website needs translation. In the second part of this series, we’ll consider solutions for omnichannel content, as well as both website and omnichannel content.
For Website Translation Only: The Proxy Solution
If your company’s main goal is to share website content in different languages, the best approach is a proxy-based solution.
How the Proxy Solution Works
When customers visit your origin website, their interactions send requests to your web servers. Your servers then pull content from databases, templates, graphics and more to assemble the webpages the customers wish to see.
The proxy approach replicates this process for multilingual websites. A proxy server sits in the middle of the end user and your back-end system. The origin website’s content is swapped out with its translated equivalent before the fully functioning translated webpage is sent to the end user. This process happens instantly.
How it Compares to Other Solutions
Proxy-based technology outclasses other common options for translation:
Translated microsites create a lack of parity between your content for international markets and your origin website. Global customers notice this, and don’t like the disparity.
Connectors or translation plugins for traditional CMSs promise hands-on control of your translated websites, but often don’t work as smoothly as advertised. This out-of-the-box solution typically needs additional development to extend its functionality to work with your CMS or business processes. This means your team may deal with connector-related complications such as:
- Intense Labor: It takes time and effort to modify connectors to work with customized platforms or websites
- Interrupted service: Changes to your technology stack can disable the connector and disrupt the functionality of your localized site. CMS upgrades may also may require the reimplementation of your connector
- Incomplete translations: Connectors can’t process content that’s stored beyond the platforms they support. This often leaves important content from third-party solutions, web applications and graphics untranslated
The Value of a Proxy Solution
The proxy approach is a streamlined translation solution that offers:
- Great Flexibility: Unlike connectors and APIs, proxies don’t need to be configured for your system. They work independently of it
- Adaptability: Proxies can be fully hands-on, fully turn-key, or a blend of both
- Ease of Integration: With proxies, you can redesign your site, modify your technology stack and perform a platform migration at any time without impacting site functionality
- Scalability: The proxy can scale to localize your origin website in as many languages as you wish, without creating additional work for your team
To Be Continued…
So if the proxy approach is an ideal technical solution for website translation, what is the best solution for localizing social media posts, emails, offline documents and other omnichannel assets?
Check out the second part of this guide to learn about your best option for localizing content beyond your website.Last updated on April 10, 2019