What do you want to translate? Your answer is probably, “My website!” Let’s dig a little deeper though: What content do you want to translate on your website? The truth is that it’s rare for a company to translate all of its website content.
It comes down to cost and time.
Do you need to use professional translation services for press releases from 2003? Doubtful. The same goes for other types of website content, like blogs or user generated content. The cost of hiring a translation agency to professionally translate the new or updated content is prohibitive.
But this type of content is a great match for machine translation (MT) or crowdsourced translation (if that’s an option for you). Or you can leave it in English – a great option if the content doesn’t apply to any market outside English-speakers, like Career pages, case studies, blogs, or products not available in certain countries.
Another consideration is the shelf-life of the content. We have a few customers planning to redesign their websites soon, but in the meantime, they’d like to have a Chinese version of their current site, or a French version of their site, etc. These customers are using MT at the moment with plans to professionally translate their new website when its ready.
This sort of translation freedom is one of the many perks of using Smartling to translate your website. We give the client total flexibility in choosing how to translate a website. Theoretically, you could use professional translation for one section of your website, MT for another section of your website, crowdsourced translation for another section, and a section left in English (if that’s what you want). You wouldn’t be able to easily integrate MT or crowdsourcing tools with a professional translation agency; these folks are great at human translation (e.g. project management) but usually have no technology solution to integrate with your web/mobile infrastructure and deployment process.
All of this website translation advice can be shortened to this:
Know your website and content. Know your audience. Know your goal. Know your budget and timeline. Then decide a translation strategy to match. You’ll be much happier with the end result.