The Best Methods to Translate a Website

The Best Methods to Translate a Website

There are many ways to translate a website, online or offline. However, two are fundamental, professional website translation service and automated translation methods – plugins, and advanced CAT tools.

We have prepared an article to help you choose the best suitable methods for your business and understand the core principles of website translation techniques!


Professional translation

You think about the payment once, but your client lives with the quality all the time.
No machine can replace a person. Only a translator can consider all the factors: context, style, expressions, slang, terminology, consistency, etc. The best solution for the translation and localization of the website into other languages is a professional translation or rewriting of the entire content in your target market language.

Modern search engine optimization is mainly a linguistic task. Only a native speaker with knowledge of the target language can perfectly choose the right keywords. Ideally, the list of keywords should be ready before the translation begins. This will save you time and energy in processing the content later.

Creating a multilingual website may require not only translating its content but also expanding its functionality. For example, there may be a need for automatic conversion of prices into different currencies or conversion of other units of measurement, changing the date format.


Machine translation methods


What is Machine Translation?

When it comes to website or Ecommerce translation, the adoption of neural machine translation is evolving into a standard. Machine translation integrates into the workflow of more companies. Through close collaboration with a specialist in machine translation, Verbika uses client-specific machine translation tools that are connected to translation management systems, such as SDL Trados Studio.


Which machine translation method is the best for my business?


Pure machine translation

Pure machine translation. First, the content of your website needs to be formatted and prepared for translation. The second step, run it through a neural machine translation engine.
You will receive a complete translation in the requested language. It is crucial to understand that a machine translation will be imperfect. There will be grammatical mistakes in the text, the terminology will be applied inconsistently, and some terms will be assigned inappropriately. Verbika only recommends a pure machine translation if you have internal resources who can check and edit the output, or if the text is solely used for discovery purposes.


Machine Translation and Post Editing

This option involves a machine translation and subsequent post-editing by the translation service provider. Post-editing focuses on correcting major errors that would render the content unreadable or inhibit the understanding of the passage. Post-editors concentrate on ensuring that the source text’s overall message has been correctly conveyed but do not spend time on linguistic improvements or make stylistic changes. Grammatical errors that do not impact the understanding of the text (complex punctuation, capitalization, etc.) will not be addressed. Terminology will not be standardized beyond the terminology organization/selection produced by the translation memory. Discrepancies and errors will be present, terminology discrepancies (for terms outside of the translation memory) should be expected. In this case, Verbika recommends a minimum post-editing. The time spend on post-editing depends on the volume of the translated text.

You can start with a pure machine translation and then see if the results are satisfactory for your purpose. If not, you can then ask to add post-editing or human translation of the whole text or selected passages.

Machine translation (MT) can save you time and money if applied in the right circumstances. Especially high-volume projects with tight deadlines where quality is of less concern can benefit from MT. However, even the best MT still produces lower quality content than a professional human translator. It is, therefore, crucial to determine what your goals and expectations are for this project, otherwise, the lack of quality can outweigh the benefits of cost savings.

CMS plugins and modules

This method is implemented using automatic translation systems through CMS plugins and modules. The most popular ones are Google Translate, Bing Translate, Deepl, Yandex Translate, Microsoft Translator… there’s a lot to mention.

The most popular one, of course, is Google Translator with its instant translation function. It is convenient to use it even for an amateur who has no idea about translation. You only need to select the desired languages and either enter or copy-past words, sentences, or paragraphs in the translation field.

However, the number of characters that can be entered is limited. Moreover, there are two big drawbacks to this translator. The first is that Google Translator’s principle assumes statistical machine translation, which does not take into account grammatical rules. The second is the frequent use of English as the leading language, which causes ambiguity in the translation.

These services have a simple and intuitive interface, but the result is far from being perfect. As mentioned above, online translators neglect grammatical rules and the specifics of the context. That’s why you sometimes see words that do not make sense at all. But also, if necessary, the user can choose the appropriate option from the drop-down list of each word, phrase, or sentence.

The other method is using plugin-based translation in Shopify or WordPress. These are CMS or eCommerce operated plugins that you can download, permit to access your website and it does its job. But you can have the same story here: some languages require a native speaker to control the context and style of translation, and you’ll possibly need a human translator to check all of the content to edit it and make sure it is proceed in a good way.

Why do you need a multilingual website?

Let us discuss why you need a multilingual website and how it can be beneficial for your business.

Additional traffic. Many visitors may understand neither speak the language of your website. Therefore, the multilingual version becomes an obstacle for potential foreign visitors. By expanding the language boundaries on the website, you can increase organic traffic to get higher profit.
Conversion rate. When visitors browse your website in their native language, the conversion rate improves, as a result of positive experience.
Convenience. If your clients are bilingual, they can choose the most comfortable language for themselves.

We have composed a more detailed article on this topic – find out more about how website translation can help your business to sell more.

All the mentioned above proves, no software or technology is as accurate as a professional human translation. Only an experienced human translator can understand the context and objectives of the translation and can perform it correctly.

The skills of a professional translator include the ability to find matches to lexical “gaps”, specific idioms and figurative expressions, slang expressions, terminology, etc.

The translator must also understand the political, social, and cultural characteristics of the local market. Certain expressions and information are unacceptable for some cultures and require localization for the target audience. Professional translation also means an understanding of the psychology and expectations of the consumer.

In conclusion, professional website translation services involve work effort not only by translators but also by editors, developers, web designers, which guarantees the quality of the translation and localization of your business.
If you are going to translate your website into different languages – Verbika is ready to advise and help you choose the best website translation methods for your business.