Building a multilingual website
Thread poster: xxxmediamatrix
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 10:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 19, 2006

We often see questions here about website translation and it is clear from the ensuing discussions that the problems may be many and various, depending on the complexity of the site, its dynamics, the softwares and programming techniques used to build it, etc.

Clearly, some of the problems would be less severe if developers were as knowledgeable about human languages as they are about computer languages... It would usually help, too, if the need to extend a site to other languages were taken into account right from the start of development.

I am currently building a website which, although not language-related, will be rather similar in structure, functionality and overall complexity to Proz.com. And although I'm building it in English I envisage that it will be necessary to localize it in at least half-a-dozen other European languages.

My question is this:

Based on your experience of translating websites (or your involvement in the localization of Proz.com), what can I, as a website developer, do to:

A. Facilitate the work of the translators?

B. Minimize the risk of inconsistencies between the language versions?

C. Minimize the cost of translation?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

MediaMatrix


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:57
English to German
+ ...
Thanks for posting this thread, Mediamatrix! Nov 20, 2006

Yes, there are some things that can make the translation of web sites pretty tough (I am translating a lot of them, as my largest client is specializing in web site localization):

Often there are parts of a website that are not accessible to a visitor as long as the visitor hasn't signed up, hasn't paid a fee or hasn't provoked an error message.

My wish list:
- files should be delivered sorted by theme, not by format
- never ask the translator to deliver files in advance. Mistranslations (of bits and pieces) due to lack of context are likely.
- if files are provided in their original format (source) instead of (nice) word files, please allow the translator access to your server for preview

Best regards,

Nicole


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
You could have a look at Million Artists project Nov 20, 2006

Though its orginal purpose apparently failed, the site was translated using some rather interesting open source tools. Ask Eugene Pik for advice.

Its in principle the technology used by Wikipedia.

Cheers
Heinrich

[Bearbeitet am 2006-11-20 18:58]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:57
English to German
+ ...
The most beautiful experience, I wish it would be standard Nov 20, 2006

A British web site, to be translated into various languages, and quite a monstrosity in size was managed the following way:

Each translator had a password to access the text that needed to be translated, we would type in our translation of each piece of text, could view what the colleagues did in their language, could check, how far they had gotten with their work, could review our results (how it will look like on the web site, so we were able to adjust the length of our text and avoid ruining the nice layout) by a simple click on a button within the fraction of a second, it was quite a kick.

I have no idea how the guys managed to do this, I am not a techie at all. It blew my mind. However, it was the fastest, most efficient translation I ever could provide with a deadline from hell. While having fun.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 10:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! - Any more ideas? Nov 20, 2006

Thank you Nicole and Heinrich for your ideas and suggestions.

I'm already testing a dedicated translators' interface in my web - hopefully something as easy to use as that mentioned by Nicole - at least for the 'functional' components such as registration, log-in and other data-entry forms. I was wondering, Nicole, if you could provide a link to that UK site, just to get an idea of what they've achieved (if you can't post it here, I'd appreciate an email from you...).

I've had a quick look at the Million Artists site - and I see many familiar names in the list of translators who have contributed to that project, here: http://www.millionartists.com/contact.php
I'd certainly like to read here about other Prozians' experiences in that project.

C'mon everyone! Just for once someone's asking for your advice before building a website that could end up being a nightmare to localize! There must be some more ideas out there!

MediaMatrix


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