Are you searching for website translation services? Well, you’re in luck! In this guide, we’re taking a look at exactly what’s needed when looking for a website translation service that you can use to make your website multilingual. Not just that, we’ll also show you what a typical website translation project looks like.
Before we understand what’s needed when looking for website translation services that fit with your translation workflow, let’s zoom in on the website translation process.
Translating a website — key benefits
Translating a website has numerous benefits. By translating your website, you stop defaulting to the English language and get to reach your existing and new international markets and clients in their native languages. Given that a substantial number of non-native English speakers comprise the customer base of businesses catering to different demographics, translation is essential. To top it up, translated websites feel personalized and consumers love online experiences that feel personal.
If you’re selling online, then your ecommerce store/business website is about to benefit tenfold by selling to a larger audience and converting even that 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.
The website translation process
Your website localization or translation project primarily has three steps:
- The content translation phase: finding and working with a website translation service provider to translate your content into a new language.
- The website integration phase: using the localized content you just produced and creating a multilingual website that provides it to your users in their native language.
- The technical stuff phase: setting up Hreflang tags, among other things.
Let’s now take a detailed look at each of these website translation process 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 with the help of professional linguists.
- Machine translation, in which you use an automated translation program or a WordPress plugin like Weglot to translate your content. (It’s worth noting that this way also 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.
Human or professional translation
Professional translation means you’ll have the input of a native speaker from the very start of your translation project to ensure translation quality. 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 ones in the medical or law fields.
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, Russian to Japanese, 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 website translation service provider and have your content translated by professional linguists, 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 and liaising with the account manager for the translation agency. 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 and smoothen your workflow as much as possible.
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 your navigation or 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. Generally, translation companies will also include a further layer of proofreading to ensure maximum accuracy, so you’ll also need to factor this into your timeframe.
Setting clear timescales and expectations and keeping the lines of communication open with your translation agency will help things run smoothly and shorten the turnaround time.
Don’t forget that once the initial integration is done, you’ll need to identify ongoing translation work, such as updates to existing content or new content you progressively add (something that’s particularly laborious for ecommerce stores).
As you can imagine, the cost of hiring professional website translation services can end up being quite steep and will depend on how many target languages you’re aiming to add to your site.
Automated translation works well if you need to translate your website content into a wide range of target languages and want the flexibility of combining human translation with machine translation.
Unlike what the term suggests, automated translation isn’t 100% automated translation. The process of automated translation can involve human translators too. However, largely, automated translation is using machine translation providers to automatically translate your content (rather than relying on the often lengthy process of human translation) and give you real-time translations.
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 translations to give you accurate translations with minimal translation management.
The website content translation phase will be quicker and seamless if you choose a website translation service like Weglot – that’s because Weglot automatically detects all the content on your website and translates it 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. Forget copying-pasting and re-copying and re-pasting!
Integrating translation into your website
The second step of website translation is taking your translated content and importing it into your website so you can start doing business all over the world.
If you’ve gone down the professional services translation route and hired a translator so you can have separate content for different territories, you’ll need to set those up — manually (copying and pasting!) – not an option for a fast turnaround.
Taking care of the technical stuff
Now, it’s time to configure the technical aspect of translating a website.
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 use separate sites, or even easier use a single site with a multilingual plugin that also takes care of the translation side of things.
Those opting for professional translation will also need to assign people to 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 need to optimize your content (multilingual SEO) to improve your search rankings in your target countries for search engines like Google and Bing. Target keywords might be different in different markets, and so you’ll need to do extra work identifying them.
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.
Instead, 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
As you can tell, 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 to give you high-quality translations. 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 for the best translation output.
Weglot is trusted by 60,000+ 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 your content within 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 the editing mode and as it would on the live site. It’s optimized for multilingual SEO and is simple to install and configure. It also means your website translation project will reach a level of automation that means you’ll have very little to do manually.
As you can see, 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.
Try Weglot’s 10-day free trial to have a multilingual website in a matter of minutes.