What is a good tool to translate a website?
Thread poster: Vic Napiorkowski

Vic Napiorkowski
Local time: 16:20
Polish to English
Aug 1, 2012

I am completely new to website translation.
I was warned NOT to mess with extracting (copying/pasting into Word, basically) source text manually, since this makes the job of the IT person who "reconstitutes" the site in-language a nightmare.

What tools for translating a website are out there, and are any easier to use than others?
In Windows 7. I have Trados Studio 2009 and Trados 2007 with TagEditor.

Many thanks,


Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
French to English
+ ...
Ask the client... Aug 1, 2012

The most appropriate procedure for translating a web site can vary hugely depending on how the client has actually implemented their web site.

So it's usually best not to be too theoretical: ask the client what format they actually have their copy in and what will be most convenient for them. (They in turn may have to consult with their web site company to provide an answer to this.)

It's usually not appropriate for *you* to copy the text directly from their site into Word.

However, it may turn out that the most convenient procedure for the client is actually to supply you with the copy in Word and for you to supply the translation in Word.

If they use a content management system, it may also be most convenient for them to provide you with a login to their system and for you to upload your translations directly to their site.

But as I say, it really depends on the individual setup: ask the client how they want to handle things.


Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:20
German to Swedish
+ ...
Perhaps a programmer's text editor Aug 1, 2012

Translation of websites is something that Trados actually handles fairly well, though I noticed some whitespace insertion issues.

However, if this is not a repetition-heavy project, and depending on the file structure and your own Web programming skills, you might want to have a look at a dedicated programmer's plaintext editor (*not* a CAT tool). These typically have great multi-file project handling and search/replace, and much better user interfaces. Also, Trados hides tags, but when translating websites it's often useful to be able to see the entire context. Have a look at ultraedit.com.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Try Cats Cradle Aug 1, 2012

Download a demo from http://www.stormdance.net and check if it works for you.

It has its own embedded CAT tool, plus some word-counting and other resources.

You might need HTtrack to download the entire site.


Local time: 17:20
Definitely ask the client Aug 1, 2012

I'm the developer of a resx localization tool for Windows developers and their translators. Neil (above) is right. You definitely need to ask your client since it depends on how the site was developed. For an ASP.NET site for instance (the MSFT technology used to develop web sites), strings are usually stored in ".resx" files. These are a pain for developers to ship for translation and for translators to work with (in their raw state). My own product specifically targets ".resx" files, and makes working with them extremely easy (and highly cost-effective for Windows developers). OTOH, developers might store strings in databases as well (depending on the site), and if they're using another technology and/or platform entirely (neither ASP.NET nor Windows), then there would be a completely different way to handle things. Shipping strings in their raw format however (using a text file, Word, Excel, or whatever), is definitely asking for a lot of trouble. Not only is it usually very difficult for programmers to track which strings have changed in their application, and then extract those strings into a 3rd-party format (and later import the translated strings back into their program), but there are a host of other technical issues as well (such as the enforcement of special formatting strings that may be embedded in some strings - these will normally have to be included in the translated strings as well, and can potentially cause the web site to crash if not done correctly). A general-purpose program like Word or Excel isn't designed to handle these issues, and translators wouldn't be expected to be familiar with them on their own. Only a dedicated translation program can properly do the job, so you should consult your client. They may have special needs, and/or may require a program like my own (or whatever's suitable) to handle these issues. Doing it manually is definitely time-consuming, error-prone and expensive, but many do it this way because they've never taken the time to research the alternatives (and should be advised to do so by their translators).


esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:20
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
OmegaT Aug 1, 2012

OmegaT can handle whole web sites with hierarchical structures of files and directories.


Local time: 23:20
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No Aug 1, 2012

esperantisto wrote:

OmegaT can handle whole web sites with hierarchical structures of files and directories.

No it can't, unless the site is in a format OT can handle. See the insightful post on technical issues above yours.


christela (X)
Agree with Neil, the webmaster has to tell you Aug 1, 2012

If the client provides you with Word or Excel files, then you proceed as usual, preferably using a CAT because websites are always extremely repetetive, and you deliver Word or Excel.

If .po files, then you use POEdit, it's free and easy to learn but a pain to work with.

If the client asks you to work directly on their CMS, then ask to try it, because this means that you'll have to work online and it happens that you'll have to deal with thousands and thousands of small text boxes to open and to close, and you cannot use a CAT.

It is absolutely NOT your work to extract pages (even with CatsCradle), because then the webmaster might be completely unable to use your translation.


Vic Napiorkowski
Local time: 16:20
Polish to English
Thank you, All. Appreciate it very much Aug 1, 2012

This one happens to be a private request from a musical director of a choir, their site, who is not a Translation Client as such. So I am on my own, and hence the Q. Seems clear from your answers, I do need to go to the site developer and get basic techie info on their encoding/structure, then. So some of the tools can work 'live', without extraction into my local computer, right?

[Edited at 2012-08-01 17:19 GMT]


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