What is Website Translation?
Website translation is the process of converting your website content from one language to another. This is done to ensure that your target audience can access your website in their preferred languages.
Your website has different types of content that can be translated, including text, images, videos, and PDFs. There’s also:
- “Invisible” metadata text that only search engines and social media platforms see
- User experience notifications such as error messages, chatbots, and confirmation emails
You should translate all of these to ensure a superior customer experience. To create a good in-language experience, companies should use the right amount of translation to be effective.
There are different degrees to translation: conventional translation, localization, transliteration, and transcreation. Each approach is unique and had a different ideal purpose.
Website Localization vs. Website Translation vs. Transliteration
Localization and translation are commonly confused because both are similar methods of creating multilingual websites. Website localization involves more than just translating words. It aims to create an online experience that resonates with the culture and regionalisms of a specific local market. Localizing a website requires five key elements:
- Language and regionalisms: Word choice is customized to accurately and authentically convey the brand voice to local customers. This includes phrases that may only be used in specific countries or regions.
- Cultural elements: Communicating the understanding of local date and time formats, units of measure, and holidays and values can make users feel at home.
- Transactional elements: For accuracy and trust, elements such as currency, payment options, addresses and character sets must be relevant to local customers.
- Communication and trust elements: Local phone numbers, addresses, in-language customer support, legal notices and security banners are all key to earning trust from local customers. It also helps equip in-market sales and marketing teams with information needed to serve your customers.
- Navigation and discovery: It’s critical that users can find and select the language they need on your website to seamlessly start interacting with your company.
Transliteration, it is the process of translation from one writing system or culture to another. Translation is not always literal, but instead focuses on conveying the meaning using local expressions and sounds. This process is necessary when converting to a language that doesn’t use the Latin alphabet.
Why Translate Web Content?
Website translation makes your content accessible to more people who speak different languages. In today’s globalized and hyper connected world, it’s increasingly common for businesses to have international audiences.
It takes the use of 52 languages to reach 99% of the internet. When you translate your website, you instantly reach new potential customers who did not speak your website’s original language. Website translation expands your business into new markets, increases customer retention, and can dramatically increase revenue.
High quality translation also demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and diversity, which can help to build trust and loyalty with your customers. Caring about accessibility makes your brand look good and shows you’re a leader in any country, language, or culture.
Should I Translate My Website?
There are many reasons to translate your website. Here are the top ten most common reasons:
- Expand your brand reach by targeting multilingual and global markets.
- Gain popularity abroad by discovering interest in your goods or services overseas.
- Grow your existing international customer base by localizing.
- Your competitors aren’t doing it yet, so you can beat them to the punch.
- Your competitors are already doing it, and you need to stay relevant.
- There may be laws that require you to provide language access.
- Your website analytics may show untapped markets into which you could expand.
- Reap SEO benefits from engaging, multilingual online content.
- Experience a boost in traffic and revenue from global customers.
- Deliver a world-class customer experience.
How to Translate Your Website
Translating and localizing your website is fundamentally a technology issue, requiring automation and software to manage numerous workflows and processes. There are three different technologies that can be used to handle these workflows:
Using a Translation Proxy for Website Translation
The proxy localization method translates your main website by using its content and structured code. This makes it easy to translate, deploy and operate multilingual versions. This method is very easy, meaning customers don’t have to do much to start or maintain localized websites or manage workflows.
A proxy-based system is layered on top of your website to dynamically translate content in real time so that end users worldwide can view your website in their local language. It retrieves content from your server (also known as a client server), translates it in real-time, then displays the translated content to end users on your website.
Since localized sites are built from your flagship site’s content and code, the user experience and functionality is consistent across all sites. This continuity also ensures that new content is swiftly—and automatically—detected, translated and published.
- Fast and organized.
- Eliminates manual translation processes and removes the complexity and effort from your team.
- You can use it with any CMS.
- Easy to implement and less expensive.
- Considers multilingual SEO.
Using CMS Connectors for Website Translation
CMS connectors offer more control for companies that don’t want to use professional website translation services. The connector allows you to translate internally, and then uploaded back to the CMS for publication.
CMS connectors remove the need to change website HTML code for translating content. Instead, new content and images can be easily added and edited through a secure “back end” area.
You can hire professional translators using this method. Simply send content ready for translation to the language service provider (LSP) in the given source language through the back end. The finished translations are sent back to the CMS, where the website administrator or content manager checks them before publication.
- CMS allows for more flexibility in translation, such as adjusting tone, layout, colors, style, and using specific glossaries.
- You are able to revise the content as needed on their server both before and after a website goes live.
- A CMS solution helps businesses update their websites with new technology, like video and file formats, functions, and apps.
- CMS connectors can struggle to communicate properly with the CMS interface, which can lead to usability issues.
- Connectors are standardized and pre-configured, meaning they may not work exactly as advertised given your specific CMS.
- Modifications are required to bridge connectors with content platforms.
Using an API for Website Translation
A translation application programming interface (API) is typically provided by a website translation company and has a broader scope than a CMS connector. Companies can create translation workflows for any content, not just content in a CMS.
A translation API helps transfer content between two computer systems, specifically content that requires translation and the already translated content. It helps developers add translation features to their products or automatically translate text in different languages.
APIs can be valuable tools to facilitate continuous localization needed for multilingual site updates. Managing source materials, creating projects, assigning translators, and managing files can consume a significant amount of time for project managers. However, an API can simplify these administrative tasks. However, an API can help simplify these administrative tasks.
- Translation APIs are often easier to tailor than a CMS connector, and are compatible with a range of formats, including HTML, XML and even JSON.
- Proxy-API hybrid solutions can combine the flexibility of the API with the ease of the turn-key solution for an ideal omnichannel translation approach.
- Translation API implementation can take some time and requires careful planning and preparation. The structure and storage of the content must be well-organized, or the API won’t function consistently.
- A developer is required to programmatically configure and support translation requests that will be serviced via the Translation API, which can add cost to a project.
How to Translate a Page in Real Time
How to Translate a Page in Google Chrome
Google Chrome works well with Google Translate to produce fairly accurate translations very quickly. If you want to translate a site while you’re browsing on the Google Chrome desktop browser, all you need to do is:
- Open Google Chrome and type in the URL of the page you wish to translate.
- At the top, click “Translate.”
- You can change your language settings in your browser (“Advanced” → “Languages”) to always translate pages in that language. If you’re still having trouble, right-click and select “Translate to [Language].”
How to Translate a Page in Firefox
- To translate web pages in Firefox, install a plug-in.
- Mozilla offers a list of Recommended Extensions for translation tools, including a Google Translate extension.
- You can right-click and see machine translations in other languages or automatically set the plug-in to handle translation when navigating to a site in another language, depending on the app.
How to Translate a Page in Safari
Apple offers built-in translation features for iPhone and desktop. According to Apple’s support page, to translate a page on Mac or mobile:
- Open Safari and type in the URL of the page you wish to translate in the address bar.
- At the top, in the Smart Search toolbar, click the Translate button.
- Choose your target language. A machine translation should appear.
AI for Website Translation
Certain Large Language Models (LLMs), like ChatGPT, can also perform translations, but they cannot produce the same level of quality as an NMT. NMTs and LLMs are models that generate responses. However, they don’t get the same amount or quality of training, which is necessary for making personalized translations.
LLMs are useful and serve as almost multi-purpose tools, like Swiss Army knives, but that isn’t exactly the right solution when it comes to translation. You want something that is made just for your individual needs. Where the LLM tech can be useful though is with many tasks around the edges of translation and localization, including how we prepare training data to drive up the quality of output of NMTs.
Machine Translation vs. Human Translation
You’ll need to consider the most cost-effective approach for your website translation project. In recent months, the level of translation quality that machine translation and AI translation offer has improved substantially. For the best outcome, use machine and human translation to translate your website, tailored to your business.
Human translation is when professionals translate content for international customers, considering their industries, brands, languages, and cultures. Human translation ensures superior translation accuracy and quality assurance due to human editorial oversight and multi-step review processes. In addition, human translation can easily customize website content for regionally preferred dialects, words and phrases.
Machine translation uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to translate text from one language to another. Content is fed to machine translation models, which automatically translate content into the target language without human involvement. Machine translation allows businesses to use “machines” such as Google Translate to translate content at scale at a much lesser cost than human translation.
Machine translation is often an integrated feature within localization platforms and is used by companies looking to lower their translation costs. It’s effective for content that does not require translation precision and extensive copywriting. AI translation, NMT and machine translation are getting higher and more accurate translation quality scores than ever before and are quickly getting better.
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) uses deep learning and AI to analyze the source sentence and create a suitable translation in the destination language. Before translating, NMT software will be given training data such as different examples of translations for a certain text. The software is then “trained” to produce the most accurate translation.
A web site translation service like MotionPoint offers Brand Adaptive NMT. This is a special form of NMT that is trained and learns based solely on the human quality translations approved by you or your company, creating translations custom-made for you.
Machine translation with human-in-the-loop post-editing can come in handy for content like product descriptions or other straightforward content that use machine translation since they do not need technical, cultural or emotional nuance when being translated.
What is Adaptive Translation™?
MotionPoint’s Adaptive Translation™ involves three main steps: Artificial Intelligence, Algorithmic Translation, and Translation Memory, plus an optional human layer of review. This smartly engineered translation technology is able to create human-quality translations while reducing human translation costs. Here is how:
Your translation memory is a database that stores previously translated words or phrases on your localized website. Once these segments are used, they can be republished at no cost to you. Using a translation memory tool helps you get fast, automatic website translation that adheres to your brand voice and guidelines with no extra human intervention.
The value of Algorithmic Translation in website translation is human-quality translation at machine translation rates. Algorithmic Translation automatically identifies and translates similar language patterns. The algorithmic element of adaptive translation translates in real-time at almost no cost without sacrificing quality.
With MotionPoint’s Adaptive Translation™ model, you can choose which form of AI will suit your needs the best: generic NMT and brand adaptive NMT.
- A generic NMT is similar to a tool like ChatGPT or Google Translate. Both language models are trained to produce basic translated sentence pairs. While the translations may be accurate, using it alone may produce below-standard translation. Because of this, it is less expensive option.
- This type of NMT is trained specifically to fit your brand’s voice and glossary. It uses past translations as well as your own style guide to improve translation speed and quality. It can help reduce costs overtime by relying less on human translation and editing.
Challenges of Website Translation
Translation is more complex than language and words. It’s also about process and technology. Here are some noteworthy challenges to consider about website translation. Follow the links for details and best practices.
- Website translation is difficult, and a traditional agency may not be able to handle it.
- Your website will change over time, and you need a translation solution that’s future-proof to any CMS changes.
- To keep parity across your website in different languages, your solution needs to be fast. Aim for a partner that can translate in one business day or less. Your translation provider needs to move fast, too.
- Dynamic content and third-party applications can make website translation cumbersome, complicated, painful, and costly. Select a digital-first solution that eliminates technical burdens and costs.
- Brand consistency across languages matters. Top translation vendors can make it simple, painless, and cost-effective.
- Cost-flexibility. Not all solutions allow you to selectively choose between machine translation or human translation for any given web page. Not all content needs to have the best translation quality, strategically using machine translation can result in big cost-savings.
2 Examples of Successful Website Translation
Aventa Credit Union
Aventa Credit Union is located in the Colorado Springs area and is expanded into more southern Colorado counties, resulting in member growth from Spanish-speaking communities. Aventa wanted to ensure all their members had access to financial resources in their preferred language, so they decided to translate their website into Spanish. In 2020, Aventa focused on hiring bilingual Spanish-speaking associates and leveraged their workers’ fluency in Spanish to translate English content for their website. But, this took away from other work employees were hired to perform. Employees who knew Spanish also didn’t know the same Spanish, resulting in inconsistent translations.
Aventa hired MotionPoint in 2021 during a rebranding effort to translate and localize website content for the various Spanish dialects their clients speak. Using translation connectors, a reverse-proxy system, and web plugins, Aventa’s content translation and localization is now effortless. New content is quickly localized into Spanish and published on Aventa’s digital channels in less than a day with little to no work required from them.
Urban Health Plan
Urban Health Plan provides comprehensive, affordable primary and specialty health care services to several boroughs in New York City. The organization supports these communities with 12 health centers, a mental health facility, a workforce development program, school health programs and more.
UHP leadership identified several goals for the project:
- Provide Spanish-speaking patients with a seamless online UX that could serve as a go-to community resource for health information and to learn about UHP services
- Deliver an experience that conveyed the same authentic, empathetic tone represented throughout UHP’s English website
- Avoid burdening the company’s lean IT resources with countless ongoing tasks
MotionPoint translated and delivered UHP’s Spanish website in less than 60 days. Our fully managed platform delivered a localized UX that educates Spanish-speaking patients on UHP programs and services. And our translations conveyed the warmth and empathy that is so integral to UHP’s brand voice.
Don’t Translate Your Website!
Let MotionPoint do it for you! We offer a full suite of website translation tools to handle all of your translation projects and needs. You can avoid unexpected costs by partnering with a concierge-level translation company like MotionPoint without sacrificing quality.
With our MP Core technology and Adaptive Translation™, we produce high-quality website translation for less cost in 60 days or less.
Get started today and get over $10K in savings on your website translation project! Our exclusive offer includes NO set up fees, NO initial conversion fees, and NO code! Reach out to us today to learn more.