7 Things to Celebrate About Smartling’s GDN

by Cynthia Spiers

Our GDN is as spectacular as fireworks over the NYC skyline!
Image courtesy of timetrax23 https://www.flickr.com/photos/timetrax/376147272/

As a marketer, I’ve lived through my share of website localization projects. Most were a nightmare.

For starters, the traditional way of localizing a website presents myriad challenges. Here’s how it went for me. First, I needed to somehow extract all of the English source content I wanted translated from the web content management system. At one company where I worked, an engineer had to build a connector to help pull out the relevant strings of text and import them into Excel documents. Not being incredibly technical, working through this process caused me plenty of headaches, and I was on the phone with the engineer frequently.

Once all of the content strings were captured, I emailed those Excel files to a project manager, who in turn shared them with translators. (Some of the sites I worked on supported as many as 20 languages!) That’s a lot of files and a lot emails traveling around the world.

The translators completed their version of the spreadsheet and returned the translations to the project manager, who had them checked for quality and returned them to me. I’m pretty organized, but managing all of this content, and validating its accuracy, was no picnic!

Next came getting all of the strings back into the website. I honestly don’t remember the specifics here. I think I’ve blocked them out. But I do remember the many layout issues that resulted. Translated text didn’t fit correctly. German words were incredibly long, while Asian languages took up less space than the English. Page layouts were a mess. Some of the translations, because they were translated out of context in an Excel document, weren’t correct and had to be redone. The entire process took months!

Maybe you’ve found yourself frustrated by the old-fashioned approach to website translation too. Here are 7 things about Smartling’s Global Delivery Network (GDN) that can change your experience dramatically:

  1. You can view all of your new content right within the Smartling dashboard
  2. Selecting it for translation requires the click of a mouse
  3. Translators are automatically notified that they have new content to translate
  4. Translators translate within the context of the actual web page
  5. Translators have clear visibility into the intended meaning of the content and how it will appear on the page (so they can make corrections in real time)
  6. The new content populates the correct language pages automatically
  7. As the content owner, your role in this process takes minutes

As a global marketer, I understand the importance of communicating with customers in their native language. But this hasn’t always been easy to do. Now, thanks to Smartling, I’m happy to report, it truly is. You can learn more about Smartling’s GDN here.

The Smartling Context Capture Extension for Chrome

by Kevin Barefoot

We all know the importance of context in ensuring that you have a quality translation. This is why the Smartling Translation Management System enables context for a variety of projects – files, docs, websites.

For websites, in some cases it’s difficult to capture dynamic content — a modal dialog, a hover menu, or text loaded by ajax — because it isn’t visible in the initial load of the page. The Smartling Context Capture Extension solves this problem by allowing you to take a HTML snapshot of any state of a web page.

Translators will see these snapshots and better understand how their translations fit linguistically and visually into the context of the page. Because Smartling captures HTML, not just a screenshot, the translation text can be inserted into the markup to test its fit.

The extension is a free plugin that you can install via the Chrome Store here.

Once installed, you can then take a snapshot by clicking the Smartling Hi! icon in the upper-right corner of the browser.

You can then submit the snapshot to your Smartling project where it will be associated with any matching strings.


For strings that already have existing context which you want to improve, you can use the Extension’s string selection feature to override the old context in one step (without first clearing context in the Smartling List View). You can also use the selection feature to target specific strings without affecting the context of other strings on the page.


The Smartling Context Capture Extension even exposes an API, which means you can invoke it from a browser automation tool such as Selenium.

For even more information about our extension, check out our smartdesk Help Center here.

In Linguistic QA, Context is Everything

by Alison Toon

Nobody likes something they’ve said being taken “out of context,” yet we ask our translators, and our in-country reviewers, to work with words that are out of context all the time. We ask them to translate single sentences, or worse, fragments of sentences and single words, completely outside of the context in which they are being used. We want our website to be translated, and so we send the translator a set of navigation terms one day, advertising banners the next, a paragraph of text here-and-there, and never do they see the complete picture. It’s only when the page is published that everything is put into context—fingers-crossed that it all works out!

Take the word “support.” On a commercial, medical and wellness website, for example, it might be a navigation link to the website’s technical assistance service. It might be a one-word title for an article about obtaining help for post-traumatic stress. Or it could even be an online catalog description for a type of undergarment!

Each of these usages of “support” is likely to require a different translation. If the translator does not know the context in which “support” will be used, oh how wrong the translations might be! In French alone, the words used to translate “support” include soutien, support, appui, soutènement, subvention… and many more. Without context, we are asking the translator for a best guess. Mistakes can, and will, be made, despite the very best effort of professionals.

Context is not only important for word usage; it’s also essential for correct presentation and layout. When content is translated, it expands, and takes up more space. A five-word sentence in English might be rendered as a five-word sentence in German, but each word might be double the number of characters. What does that do to the way the translation looks? Does it put the beautiful page layout into disarray? If the translator does not see the sentence in the context in which it will be presented to the reader, they just do not know.

And when it comes to in-context review… a lack of context not only makes a review more difficult, it often simply means that the review is never done. Reviewers are frequently company volunteers who have no idea how translators work, nor any tolerance for the traditional tools with which translators work. They want to see what the customer will see when the translation is published. They want to do the review, effectively, in a very short time, without the frustration of having to ask lots of questions. They want to see a web page, not a pile of unrelated sentences.

We say, let’s give our translators and reviewers the “support” they need to easily do an excellent job. Let’s provide them with the exact context in which each word and sentence is used — and allow them to provide the best-possible translation, without any question or doubt. For these reasons and more, in-context translation has always been an important part of Smartling technology. We’ve learned it’s one of the key factors that enable our users to produce high-quality translations with speed and quality — the very things that make Smartling stand out from the rest. In the simplest of terms, in-context means: what you see is what you get. And when you work with Smartling technology, it’s a pretty incredible view.