How to source a website translation service? What should be kept in mind?

A website is the basis of all internet marketing activities. Therefore, it is also very important in the context of reaching recipients globally, regardless of whether the audience consists of blog readers or online shop customers. How to source a website translation service to ensure effective communication with international recipients?

Website translation – what do you need to know before ordering such a service?

First of all, keep in mind that translating a website is a multi-level process. The more advanced the website, the better you have to prepare to create its multilingual version. Additionally, there are linguistic nuances that you should pay attention to, as the consequences of bad translation of some of them can be very severe for the entire brand. There are also specific technical issues related to whether the website was created on the basis of a CMS, and if so, which one is it.

It is also important to note the issue related to the website UX. Keep in mind that users in different countries pay attention to different site elements. Hence, it may turn out that a simple translation of text will be insufficient, which is particularly important for distant exotic countries. Therefore, if you want to achieve the assumed sales results in such locations, you should consider redesigning the structure of the entire website so that users from a given target country do not feel lost, and the service itself is as intuitive as possible.

CMS-based website translation

From a technical point of view, proper preparation for translating a website requires knowledge of the CMS you are using. In some cases, the creation of multilingual website content must be preceded by appropriate actions. Otherwise, you won’t even be able to publish your website on the Internet.

How to translate a WordPress-based website?

WordPress is definitely one of the most popular CMSs. As much as 30% of pages based on this content management system can be found on the Internet. There is a chance you use it yourself. Its popularity is due to a simple fact: it is very easy to work with, so you do not need to know HTML or CSS to create your own space on the web.

So what do you need to translate WordPress? There are generally several solutions that have one thing in common: you will need a suitable WordPress translation plugin. One of the most common plugins for this purpose is WPML. Loco Translate will also be useful, enabling you to translate elements embedded in the website code, i.e. those that you cannot edit from the control panel. Of the free solutions, Polylang is worth paying attention to as well. Interesting plugins also include gTranslate, xili-language, Weglot, MultilingualPress and TranslatePress. Each of them offers different possibilities, so it’s worth getting to know all of them before you make the final decision about downloading or purchasing one of them.

Creating a multilingual WordPress-based website sometimes requires enabling MultiSite. While it takes a bit of work, it’s not that difficult. The first thing you need to do is log in to your FTP client and connect to the server where the WordPress system is located. Find the wp-config.php file, download it to your computer and open it. Now just add the following line:

 / * Multisite * / define (‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true);

The configurator will be launched after pasting this line, uploading the modified file to the server and logging in to the control panel. Follow the directions. At the end of the whole process you will receive codes that need to be pasted into wp-config.php and .htaccess files. Once that’s done, your WordPress site is ready for translation.

How to translate Drupal?

The situation is slightly different in the case of Drupal. The good news in this case is the fact that the core of the system itself functions in many language versions, which simplifies work in the control panel. The second piece of good news is that when you install Drupal on your server, you get the multilingual feature enabled included the package. Now all you have to do is translate all your content into different languages.

In practice, it comes down to the fact that you have to manually enter all the foreign language content on each subpage. It works similarly to WordPress. The simplification is the fact that translations of cores, modules and templates are available on drupal.org. Due to the fact that the Drupal community is well-organized, translations of CMS elements are usually already prepared. All you need to do is download ready language files (if any) and upload them to your server.

What are language files and where can I find them?

What happens if the translations are not available on drupal.org? Language files that you can download from your server come to the rescue. They all have the .po extension. Once you download them, you can send them to us and we will handle the entire translation process. We will provide ready files that you only need to upload to the server. However, keep in mind that this will not replace manual translation of subpages.

You can also find language files in WordPress. The only difference is that there are two extensions: .po and .mo. All these files are located on the server to which you should log in using an FTP client. Now find the wp-content directory. The theme language files are located in wp-content/languages​​/themes, while the active plugins are available in wp-content/languages​/plugins. You just need to download them, send them to us for translation and upload them back to the server once they’re ready. From now on, all elements displayed by plugins and themes will be generated in the desired language.

.xliff and .html files in Drupal

Let’s focus back on Drupal for a moment. There is a way to avoid manually copying and pasting the translation of all the subpages. The Translation Management Tool module, which is used to manage files, will come in handy. Besides the option to download .po files, you can also download .xliff and .html files. They contain all the content of your website – including content created manually, not resulting from the core, modules and templates. So, all you have to do is download them, send them to us for translation and, once delivered back, re-upload them to the server. This way, you’ve just created a Drupal-based multilingual website.

How many languages ​​should a website be translated into?

The technical issues involved in the translation of a website are one thing. It is also worth considering the number of language versions to translate the page into. Before making this decision, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do the residents of the target country speak English?

2. What language are you able to use to properly communicate with your customers?

3. Will your budget allow you to create several language versions?

4. What are your possible technological limitations?

These four elements are crucial when deciding about further steps. After all, not everyone knows English, on the other hand, it makes no sense to create a website, e.g. in German, if none of your staff members can communicate in it. The budget you have for a given project is another issue.

Sometimes a good solution is to have only the most important sales and marketing subpages translated, and the rest could be added later on, as profits from the new market are acquired. This issue is also closely related to technological limitations, such as the lack of ready solutions for creating multilingualism for a given CMS type. If there are no such solutions available, you have to outsource the work to a team of developers, which is obviously associated with higher costs.

What to pay attention to when translating?

When ordering a website translation service, special attention should be paid on how to translate such elements as product descriptions or marketing slogans. Marketers often use puns or language structures appropriate only for a selected target group. In such cases, a literal translation would be pointless because the content will not generate the expected results. The solution in this case is to order a service of transcreation, i.e. a creative translation that takes into account cultural differences. The result of this solution will be content tailored to the selected group of foreign recipients, and thus a greater chance of acquiring new customers.

SEO translations are also very important. First, you should consider translating all the most important keywords into the target language, and then you should check whether these phrases are actually popular keywords in search engines and have the right potential. You may find that a literal translation of a word is not the most relevant as users may be searching for a completely different phrase.

How to order a website translation service?

When thinking about expansion onto global markets, it is worth knowing how to source a website translation service. A company website is the key component of all Internet marketing activities, hence high quality of all multilingual content on it should be ensured. Using CMS systems such as WordPress or Drupal slightly simplifies the entire translation process, but it requires appropriate CMS-related skills. It is also worth remembering about SEO-related issues, as well as carefully planning how many language versions you really need. We will be happy to help you translate your website.