Translating your website leads to numerous benefits. Reaching existing and new international markets and clients, and meeting the needs of non-native English speakers in your own country are just two primary reasons. Not to mention adding personalization and a customer focused approach that consumers are looking for.
If you’re selling online, then your ecommerce store is about to benefit tenfold by selling to a larger audience and converting those leads that otherwise wouldn’t understand the full buying process.
Whatever your reason for embarking on a website translation project, it’s important to find the right website translation solution for your business to make the process as seamless as possible. So, finding a website translation service is something you’ll be considering if you need to translate your website.
In this article, we’ll show you exactly how a website translation project works: the phases of translating content and of integrating content into your website. We’ll also provide you with some tips on creating a multilingual website, the translation process, and alternative translation solutions!
The website translation process
Your website translation project will almost always consist of two steps:
- The content translation phase: finding and working with a translation company or service to translate your content.
- The website integration phase: creating a multilingual website that provides localized content to users in their native language.
Let’s take a look at each of these two separate stages.
The content translation phase
When it comes to having your website content translated, you have two translation paths to choose from:
- Human translation, in which you hire a professional website translation service to translate your content.
- Machine translation, in which you use an automated translation program or a WordPress plugin like Weglot to translate your content (worth noting that this combines the translation process with the website integration process, but we’ll get to that later).
Which one you choose depends on the needs of your business, your website, and your users.
Professional translation means you’ll have the input of a native speaker from the very start of your translation project. It’s most relevant for those where the translation of content is fundamental to your business – for example your business might be highly technical such as the medical or law field. This type of content is generally best translated by professionals that have this specific type of expertise.
If you want to capture the nuance of communication in multiple languages, and you want the confidence of knowing that you’ve hired a fluent speaker to translate your website content from English to Spanish, Arabic or Portuguese, for example, then using a translation agency will give you the confidence that your content will appear to native speakers as if it was originally written in their language.
If you decide to use a translation agency and have your content translated by professional translators, you’ll need to find an agency for your site that knows your industry well. Also bear in mind that you’ll need to be fully involved with the agency and the translation project to ensure that any translated content, including existing and new content, meets the needs of your audience.
That means involving project managers from within your team from the start. This is essential as there might be different departments within your company that you’ll need to involve and get content signed off from. This will avoid any unexpected issues in the long run.
You’ll be fully responsible for providing all the content that needs to be translated to the translation agency in the form of a word or excel document – you can’t simply give them the URL of your website. This can also lead to missing parts of your website that need translating, for example pages not linked in in your navigation, or pages within your footer, or even just text in your footer.
It’s then necessary to put in place a content management process for monitoring quality and checking any translated content given back to you from your translation agency. If you or your website’s content manager don’t speak the target languages, you may need to hire a multilingual editor or content manager to assist with this and ensure quality.
Setting clear timescales and expectations and keeping the lines of communication open with your translation agency will help things run smoothly.
Don’t forget that once the initial integration is done, you’ll need to identify ongoing translation work, either updates to existing content or new content.
Automated translation works well if you need to translate your content into a wide range of languages and want the flexibility of combining human translation with automated translation. Automated translation is the process of using machine translation providers to automatically translate your website content – rather than relying on the often lengthy process of human translation.
In this case, instead of relying on a service like Google translate, you’ll get better results with a dedicated WordPress multilingual plugin like Weglot which uses a host of different machine translation providers (based on language pair) and allows you to manually edit the automated translations.
The content translation phase will be quicker and seamless if you choose a machine translation like Weglot – that’s because all your content is automatically detected and translated for you. You don’t need to handle the manual process of swapping files to translate with your translation agency, nor have the worry of not detecting all the content from your website.
Automatic translation takes care of the content side of things – Weglot then goes further and displays the newly translated content on your website too, all in one step (will get into more details further down in the article).
Integrating translation in your website
Once your content has been translated, it’s time to import it to your website so you can start doing business all over the world.
If you’ve gone down the professional translation route and hired a translator so you can have separate content for different territories, you’ll need to set those up. You’ll need to register versions of your domain name with the appropriate country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for each target country, then set up your website to host the translated content.
There are a couple of options to consider – you might decide to go with a WordPress multisite solution or to use separate sites, or even easier use a single site with a multilingual plugin that also takes care of the translation side of things.
For those that used professional translation, you’ll also need to identify who will import the content and put checks in place to ensure it’s imported accurately, not losing accents and unique characters for example.
Once the content is uploaded, you’ll then need to optimize your multilingual SEO to improve your search rankings in your target countries. Target keywords might be different in different markets, and you’ll need to do extra work identifying these and ensuring keywords appear in your content in the form they’re used in by people searching for content.
Using a multisite network will also present its own challenges. It’s a solution used by many international businesses: running a network with individual sites for individual territories or languages.
But, the major downside of this is the duplication of effort when it comes to managing content and administering the sites. Finding a multilingual solution that will work on a standalone WordPress site will save you a lot of time.
The benefits of a multilingual solution like Weglot
The process of translating your website content and integrating it back into your site isn’t a simple one. But using a multilingual translation solution like Weglot makes it easy as all the steps are automatically taken care of.
Weglot combines the best of both worlds: human translation and machine translation. You can use it to give a fast, first layer of automatic translation of your website and then gain access to professional translators within the Weglot dashboard to fine-tune your most important pages.
Weglot is trusted by 50,000+ website owners for translation management on their WordPress site.
With Weglot, you can manage all your translations in one place, right from your website dashboard. You can translate content in minutes and then use professional translators who can ensure your content is even more localized. It’s that flexible. This means you have the choice of using automated or human translation, or a mix of the two.
With a visual editor and an in-content editor, you can use Weglot to see how your translated content looks in editing mode and as it would on the live site. It’s optimized for multilingual SEO and simple to install and configure.
Finding translation services for your website and integrating the translated content into your site could be a lengthy process. But it doesn’t need to be.
By using Weglot to translate your website content, you can manage your translation process from one place, access human translators and have the plugin automatically translate content according to your needs.