What is a secure web portal?
At its simplest, web portals provide a centralized digital destination for a user to access personal data, resources, documents, applications, user messages and more.
Portals provide customized user experiences based upon a person’s login identity and access privileges. They often aggregate useful content and information from other systems or servers.
Some common use cases for web portals include:
Private account management and payment functionality for customers
Localized FAQs and knowledge bases to reduce customer support costs
Financing, investment, insurance and asset management
Informational content for vendors, distributors and suppliers
Customer service or field service, such as scheduling a repair
Retail or B2B commerce for sales, order management and fulfillment
Human resource functions such as payroll, onboarding, compensation, expense management
What’s the difference between a web portal and a website?
While websites are publicly accessible and generally focus on attracting online traffic, web portals are used to limit traffic. They’re for members only.
|Located on the publicly accessible Internet with a unique web address||A private Internet location that is accessible via a unique address and a unique username / password|
|No login required||Login required|
|Typically available to all visitors||Accessible only to members of the portal|
|Content typically does not dramatically change based on the user’s identity||Content is unique to user, based on linked account information and group member settings/permissions|
|Generally, no communications with other users is available||Communication features with other portal members or groups|
|Can have interactive features, but does not reference a personalized database||Interactive, personalized functionality for portal site members|
Web portals are often developed with the same frameworks used to build web services in website development. Popular frameworks include:
- Ruby on Rails
The functionality and content presented to portal users depends on the users’ assigned roles—such as a typical user, employee, customer, vendor or partner. Companies may develop a portal internally, or subscribe to third-party vendor solutions such as Salesforce Communities.
Which industries use web portals?
Portals are often used by organizations in these industries:
- Financial services, investment, banking, fintech
- Healthcare, insurance
- Manufacturing, hardware, consumer electronics, pharmaceutical
- Retail, consumer goods
- Transportation and hospitality
Why should I translate web portals for multilingual users?
Investing in secure login areas for multilingual customers is often more affordable than the opportunity costs generated by not localizing them. Here are a few benefits:
Reduced Customer Support Costs
When multilingual customers can’t find support and account information in their preferred languages, they turn to Customer Support teams. Mitigating this workload requires hiring more bilingual employees, which significantly increases personnel and support costs.
Providing localized self-serve support content (such as translated FAQs, knowledge bases, chatbots, etc.) can dramatically reduce these costs.
Synchronized Customer Experience
Many companies continually update their portal sites with information on new products and models, software patches, installation guides, repair documentation, user manuals and more. Localizing this important content is hard to do at the speed online customers need.
Most translation vendors take weeks to translate this content, which means most localized portals don’t offer seamless in-language experiences like they should.
Instead, they present awkward, amateurish “mixed language” user experiences, which confuse and frustrate international customers.
Improved Employee Engagement
Portals also provide secure digital experiences that deliver vital information and assistance to employees. This includes internal communications, training, payroll information and more. When companies employ talent in different regions, it’s important to localize these experiences.
Organizations that don’t offer localized employee login areas may risk making multilingual personnel feel unimportant or out of the loop.
What are the key challenges of translating web portals?
For most translation providers, localizing web portal content is complicated, expensive and time-consuming.
- Security, customer privacy and regulatory compliance are also key concerns, since most portals empower users to manage personal data or provide payment information
- The ongoing technical and operational complexity of translating online content requires choosing a mature solution that eliminates time and effort, and reduces costs
Let’s take a closer look at these issues.
Complex web applications and dynamic content
Many complex single-page applications apply elaborate calculations to answer “What if?” scenarios posed by users in real-time—such as computing the costs associated with adding insurance options, or the benefits of increasing a financial investment. These complex applications are often powered by Angular, React and other frameworks.
It’s downright rare—but not impossible—to find a web portal translation service that can reliably and accurately pull off this technically complex feat.
The challenges continue: Many portals leverage AJAX calls that produce dynamic content that would not be seen “on the page” and fed through either JSON or XML. For portal translation, a vendor must use sophisticated JSON and XML parsers to find this content. Ideally, it should also enable customers to select content elements that must be translated, and allow other text to simply pass through as untranslated.
Again, it’s hard—but not impossible—to find a web portal translation company that does this reliably and accurately.
Finally, some B2B service providers offer white-label portal experiences that can be customized for their enterprise clients. Most web portal translation services struggle to detect and translate all relevant content within these customized experiences, too.
Security and regulatory compliance
Preserving customer security and privacy also poses challenges for vendors. It requires robust technology that can translate content behind a secure HTTPS connection, while leaving customers’ sensitive data untouched. It’s imperative that the vendor’s solution doesn’t see, or store, any personally-identifiable information anywhere in its systems.
To ensure regulatory compliance, web portal translation companies should also support critical qualifications such as:
PCI DSS Level 1 Service Provider: Vendors should complete annual security assessments conducted by an independent PCI SSC Qualified Security Assessor, and demonstrate ongoing practices that comply with PCI DSS.
HIPAA/HITECH Business Associate: Web portal translation services should also complete regular independent assessments to ensure they comply with HIPAA Privacy and Security rules. This includes audits to demonstrate HIPAA compliance.
Data Encryption in Transit: They should also support industry-recommended methods that rely on secure encryption protocols for transmitting data on your behalf. They should continually upgrade their encryption methods, too.
Are there other challenges to localizing secure web portals?
Beyond translation technology, here are some other noteworthy challenges to consider about translating secure login areas. Follow the links for details and best practices.
- Failing to localize your secure login sites often leads to customer confusion—and even customer churn. Here’s why.
- The workflows required to translate portals are unexpectedly complex.
- Website and web portal translation is difficult, and a traditional web portal translation company may not be able to handle it.
- Your portal will change over time, and you need a translation solution that adapts with you.
- To remain relevant, your translation solution needs to move fast. Your translation provider needs to move fast, too.
- Brand consistency across languages matters. Top translation vendors can make it simple, painless, and cost-effective.