When going global, one important aspect to consider is how to translate your website’s content. This can sound a bit trivial at the beginning, but when getting into the process, it can get very hard, especially when the volume of content is large. Therefore, it’s important to implement the proper methodology and technology before starting the translation process, as this will save a considerable amount of time, human effort, and ultimately money. This blog covers the key aspects to consider before starting a CMS-based website translation project and what tools can be used to streamline the process.
Evaluate the Content
There are several aspects to consider as part of the CMS-based website translation process. Two important factors to think about are: the amount of content and how dynamic that content should be. These factors are especially important when you plan to have human translators be part of the process.
If you are working on a small site with a low volume of content which is fairly static (infrequent changes to content), then you can have your translation team work directly in the CMS. Keep in mind that they will require the proper training on how to use the CMS and they will need to work collaboratively to split the content.
The situation gets more complex with larger websites especially if you are dealing with dynamic content that will require frequent updates. Luckily, technology and a good methodology can make keeping the multilingual content up to date less challenging.
When translating CMS-based web content, you can do that either directly in the CMS or exporting the content out of the CMS and having the translators work offline, and then import the translation back into the CMS when it’s ready.
The first approach, performing the translation directly in the CMS might sound easy, but it has some disadvantages:
- You need to train the translators on how to properly use the CMS.
- You cannot use a Translation Memory, (a database of previous translations for a specific language) which allows you to maintain consistency across all your translations, and it saves time on the translation process by re-using previous translations.
- Splitting the content amongst translators can be very hard, because you need to know in advance the total volume of content and how many words are included in each item in the CMS.
- Having the translators and editors work collaboratively is harder and requires more communication between them.
The recommended approach consists of exporting the content out of the CMS and then send it to the translators to perform the translation offline. Providing them access to the public URLs for reference will aid in providing context which will enhance the quality of the translation.
Depending on the CMS you are using, it may or may not have features to export the content for translation and/or import translation offline. If the CMS does not have these capabilities, then it’s important to use a translation connector, which is an extension/plugin that can be installed and streamlines the process of exporting content out of the CMS and importing translation back into the CMS.
If you do not use a translation connector, keep in mind you may have the following disadvantages:
- Export will need to be performed manually, which implies copying and pasting content into an external document. This is not only time consuming, requiring a lot of human manual effort, but also error prone. The effort needed is directly related to the amount of content you need translated and how often the content varies.
- Import will also need to be performed manually, which implies copying and pasting the translation back into the CMS. This is also very time consuming and error prone. The effort here is even bigger than the export, because this is not only related to the amount of content, but also to the number of languages that need to be populated in the CMS.
- Tracking changes across mulitple languages and keeping them consistent can become hard to manage. It may result in languages not being updated and being inconsistent with the source language.
CMS-based website translation connector benefits
- You can send the content to an external language services provider as needed. This is useful because sometimes you might not have the internal resources to perform the translation for certain languages.
- Translators can use CAT tools, which typically are associated with Translation Memory management. This allows you to re-use previous translations (and consequently reduce cost and time), keep your multilingual content consistent across all channels of communication (marketing brochures, product specifications, and etc), and update content. These tools also make it easier to split content across a team of translators if it is necessary to shorten the translation timeframe.
Before starting any CMS-based website translation project, we strongly recommend that you evaluate using a translation connector to streamline the process. This will help not only to get the content exported and imported easily, but also to keep it consistent across the languages. GPI is specialized in building CMS-based website translation connectors and provides consultation for a wide range of CMS tools, even if they do require a connector or not. Feel free to reach out and we will be more than happy to assist you.