Translation of Website
Thread poster: Alexandra Villeminey

Alexandra Villeminey  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Member (2010)
Spanish to German
+ ...
Oct 13, 2012


I have a doubt in regards to the translation of websites. I recently had a client that asked me to translate his website but could not provide the source documents. Which options do I have to extract the text of the website? Or is there any special program available? What is the best way to translate a website?

I tried to save all pages one by one as HTML documents and then open them with Trados, but I am not sure if this is the normal proceeding. I also noted that Trados has some problems with php files as it does not recognise most parts of the text.

Can somebody help me?



Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Tell your client... Oct 13, 2012

Alexandra Villeminey wrote:
I recently had a client that asked me to translate his website but could not provide the source documents. Which options do I have to extract the text of the website?

In software directories, the thing you're looking for is called an offline browser. The most well-known offline browser at this time is HTTrack. It's not the best or easiest to use, but it is the most well-known, IMO.

I also noted that Trados has some problems with php files as it does not recognise most parts of the text.

You can't translate PHP files in a CAT tool unless you know how to code in PHP, because the way translatable text is coded in PHP is not standardised (anything that the interpreter understands, can be used, so many PHP programmers develop their own strategies that your CAT tool vendor may not have heard of). Besides, you can't really get the PHP file reliably via the web browser -- you have to get it from the client.

The fact is that if your web site is in PHP (instead of HTML), you can't really provide the client with a ready-to-use translated file. The client has to track down whatever idiot told him that PHP is better, and ask that person to create a method that will extract the translatable text from the PHP file and put the translation back again, in two simple steps. That's the programmer's job, not the client's or the translator's job.

So, if the site is in PHP, tell the client that unless his programmer can extract the text for you, your only option is to translate the files as HTML files, pasted into MS Word, and then his programmer will have to paste the translation back into the PHP files himself. It also means that dynamic elements may not be captured by you.

The problem is that his programmer will probably tell him that it is okay to do it that way, but by the time he delivers the translation to the programmer, the programmer will tell him that it is no longer okay to do it that way, and the client is likely to believe that YOU are the one who messed up (not his programmer).


Pavel Mondschein  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:34
English to Czech
+ ...
Do you have PO? Oct 13, 2012

If the client cannot provide you with source files, it is very likely that they will have also troubles getting your translation online. And that may result in troubles getting payment from them, since "the job is not be done yet".

I suggest not to start translating after following criteria are met.
- Wait until they will be able to tell you what really needs to be translated. You cannot work without exact instructions. Did they tell you, whether you should translate just some on-screen text, or also UI, SEO etc?
- When they send you list of strings, make quote on that.
- Wait for them to send you proper PO.
Without this, there is big risk for not being paid for your work. Note that unless they pay you some special surcharge, you should focus on translating; not on decoding their pages, finding strings for translation etc.

It is very easy for them to say "we want you to translate our pages". But if they do not know how many strings are there and how they should handle your translation, they might be reluctant to pay you for all your work afterwards.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:34
Member (2007)
+ ...
Don't be tempted to 'do it their way' Oct 13, 2012

I went against all my own advice once and took the data from the website - it was a complete disaster! I missed bits all over the place; they weren't sure of the source/target match in every case... They even seemed to think I should have been able to make the English text magically appear on their website!icon_rolleyes.gif

Last time, I had a real battle with another client. "Just do a copy/paste - there's nothing to it" he said. But I insisted he provide me with Word files, which I duly quoted for and translated. This client was a comms agency, responsible for updating and translating the website, so he subsequently delivered my files to his client. 5pm that evening I had an urgent telephone call: Could I translate another 500 words before the end of the evening? Yes, I could, with a surcharge!

If a comms agency can't get it right, I know I shouldn't try to do it.icon_smile.gif


Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Helpful Oct 13, 2012

Thanks very much - I suspect I am going to be dealing with just this issue in the coming weeks and am very grateful to have a few pointers so as to avoid the traps for heffalumps.

[Edited at 2012-10-13 21:34 GMT]


Grayson Morr (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:34
Dutch to English
CMS? Oct 14, 2012

Have you asked them if they have a CMS (content management system)? I've translated for clients before by having their web guy duplicate the files into an English section of the CMS, and then translating them in sito. That would be ideal, for them and for you.


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