The best method for translating your website

method for translating a website

There are over a billion websites online, including personal and corporate websites. It's normal to think that websites - even though many share the same characteristics - need to have something special to stand out from their competitors, despite working in the same sector or business. The way businesses communicate with their customers has changed a lot in recent years. Now it's all about immediacy, visuals, and personalised services, so to be successful it's a good idea to adapt to this type of communication. Your website is your shop window. That means you need to make it as attractive as possible and localise it specifically for your audience. Today we're looking at how to choose the best method for translating your website according to the specific needs of your business.


Websites according to business type

As we've mentioned before there are all sorts of types of businesses, from self-employed workers working from home to SMEs and multinationals. It would be preposterous to think they all need the same type of website to show off their products and services. A freelancer needs a website with a limited capacity that they can manage themselves as and when they want, and in a more economical way; in contrast, a multinational company will have a more complex and dynamic website, with new content that needs to be translated and updated on an ongoing basis.

We can determine which translation method is the right one for us by thinking about the needs of our website.


Push methods for translating a website

This type of translation involves the user deciding which content they want to translate and when to send it for translation. This is highly recommended method for simple websites, with few pages and more or less static content. This method is usually more cost-effective, and users have a high degree of control of the content to be translated and publishing it online.

Most of these methods work with content managers which businesses commonly use. In recent years they've increased in popularity among consumers, as they're very intuitive and easy to manage.

If your website has been constructed using one of these CMSs (Joomla, WordPress, Prestashop, Wix, etc.), you can translate your content in a number of ways.

  • Export texts in an editable format: these platforms often have tools to help localise content. First you need to export the texts in any format (CSV, XML, XLS, PO, MO or XLIFF) and translators can use their tools to translate them and deliver them to the client in the same format they were provided in. Finally the customer needs to import the translated file to their platform to publish the translation on their website.


  • Using a plugin: Depending on the complexity of the CMS, a customised solution such as RTS (which needs to be programmed) or generic plugin might be used. Some CMSs allow you to send, receive, and publish multilanguage content from the manager itself, with the help of a standard plugin; this is the case with WordPress. One of the most popular translation plugins for WordPress is WPML, which allows you to select which content to send for translation by just touching a button, and you can reinsert it on your website directly from the CMS. If you use WordPress for your website and want to translate your content, try it here.



Pull methods for translating a website

Pull methods require more complex development, which normally entails a more thorough study of the website code to set them up. But once they've been put in place they don't need any input from the user as they pull the content from the website, translate it, and reinsert it into the website without any input. These methods - which are more costly but equally more efficient - are especially recommended for large corporations with dynamic or multi-source websites, or for translating mobile apps or digital media with a lot of code and programming. Some of the most popular pull methods are:

  • Translation via proxy: a proxy is an interposed server (which can be virtual or physical) which rapidly detects new content and sends it for translation. It can be accompanied by a translation engine that will show a machine pretranslation before the content is reviewed by a human team and substitutes it. All these tools are automatic and users don't need to send any content for translation.
    • At AT we have an affordable proxy-based solution for SMEs called Website Translator. It means you can automatically translate your website, manage the content from your integrated CAT tool, and publish it in the languages you want using its customisable options. And if you have more specific needs, we can always look at a tailor-made proxy solution.


  • Translation by GIT: this method is an API-based solution that requires programming. Although it works using a client's CMS, we've included it on our list because once it's been programmed it no longer needs any input from the client. With this solution the clients decides which content from which folders in their CMS needs to be translated, and the GIT will detect any changes, translating all the new or modified content.


  • JavaScript code: this solution is not used as much by larger companies because, although it's quick and efficient, it only works on visible website content, and fails to take into account metadata or other elements that are useful for SEO. It's simple to use: all you need to do is insert the JS code into the page header which will be executed when the page loads, and the content will be shown translated. It's possible that the solution will be explored further in the coming years because it's so simple and cost effective, but at the moment it's not the best option for particularly complex websites.


If you have any queries or think you need a different solution for your business than the ones we've outlined for translating your content, you can contact us and let us know your situation. Our team will look into it for you and help you choose the best solution for your translation needs.

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