The World is Your Oyster.
If you work for a global company with a strong web presence or much of your business is derived from online exposure and sales, a site that is multilingual will engage your customers in their languages and will help generate more business. There is no country in the world where only one language is spoken, including the United States. Although English may seem to be enough, your company could be missing out on a huge market share by not having a site in different languages. Besides, do you really only want customers from one country when the world is your oyster and you can have customers from many countries?
Map it Out.
Plan ahead by thinking about the navigation of your site. How will your foreign user be directed to the correct pages? Using national flags as graphic pointers can be problematic when a French speaking person from Canada only sees the flag of France. Your home page may need to greet visitors in several languages at once. It’s usually best to give them a language option using the native name of the language. For example, your link to the Spanish page reads “Español” and German reads “Deutsch.”
If you have advanced programming knowledge, other options are available. You could automatically direct foreign visitors to the appropriate page by detecting their Internet address. Also, non-English visitors can configure the language preferences in their browser to look for their language; when your HTML is properly written, these users will go directly to the right page.
In HTML coding, the <LANG> and <CHARSET> attributes help the user’s browser to automatically detect the source language of the document. If configured to do so, the browser will read these attributes and attempt to display the page in their preferred language. For example, if a French user’s browser is set to give preference to pages with <HTML LANG=”fr”>, it can look for that code when accessing your site.
Non-Roman language Web users who regularly view pages from different encoding families can set their browser’s preferences to correctly display their language(s). For example, a Russian user’s browser is set to use their Russian font when it sees <HTML LANG=”ru”> and <META CHARSET=”ISO-8859-5″>.
Choose A Multilingual-Ready Theme.
If you’re using a multilingual-ready WordPress theme for your site, you’re already way ahead of the game. You’ll just need to check to make sure that the theme you’re using is multilingual-ready. If not, it may be time to think about upgrading. WordPress is an open-source software for building websites. Today more than 25% of all sites out there a WordPress sites. The advantages are that there are hundreds of themes to choose from, including e-commerce sites with shopping carts, you can run WordPress sites from your own servers or use WordPress hosting, it is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and many of the sites are multilingual-ready with a simple plugin.
Quoting Your Project
Because HTML is a programming language, there are many localization issues to address. To accurately quote a website localization project, we must be able to quantify all of the elements of your site.
To prepare a comprehensive cost and schedule quote for website localization, we require more information than can be obtained by visiting www.yourwebsite.com online. Here are some common roadblocks we encounter when quantifying websites:
|“Ballpark”estimates based on sample number of source language (English) words, are easily prepared. Rough estimates cover mainly the translation but can only guess at site complexity, graphics treatment, diagnostic and testing issues. Without source files or access to backend editors, for example, access to the back-end of a WordPress site, we are not able assess the scope of the project (which greatly affects the amount of the estimate).|
|For a more detailed quote, it is preferable to either receive your source files and a site map for our analysis or access to the backend editor of your site. This allows us perform an accurate word count and assures that all site elements are included in our numbers.|
|If you are not able provide electronic files, we can assess your site online. We may still require:
A site map (or a listing of sections and pages) can help us to navigate and tally the elements of the site. A site map ensures that we will not overlook any part of the site. Without one, our estimate may not accurately reflect the scope of the project.
A password or registration if there are pages which cannot be accessed via visible links.
A guide to let us know what is text and what is a graphic, which graphics to include and if certain graphics are being reused throughout the entire site.
|Depending on your experience with Web projects, localization may be handled differently:
Let us know if you have proprietary software you would like our translators to use. Some clients develop their own software in order to manage and centralize their data.
Web designers who use advanced authoring software may prefer to prepare the text themselves, simply because their process is too complicated to adapt to another. They may provide (and request in return) regular text, Word, or Excel files of the translations which we can then use to localize the source.
Other clients request that our translators use the source HTML files and translate “around the code.” With this approach, translators essentially replace the English text with the translation, being careful not to alter the code. This may be done from within special localization applications or conventional word processing applications.
Finally, we can call out the text for the project from printouts of the HTML pages, and translate as we would a printed document. Then our multilingual publishing staff performs the “Web publishing” (the equivalent of desktop publishing).
Before proceeding with website localization, try to answer the following questions:
- Have you translated or localized documents, HTML or software in the past?
- Do you have a process that you prefer we follow?
- Should our estimate be based on a general rate, or should it encompass an exact word and page count?
- From what source should we review your site and prepare our estimate? Can you provide us with the electronic files for the entire site, a site map to assist us and access to the back-end editor?
- If you can provide neither electronic files nor a specific site map, what are the exact sections, directories or pages we should include? Which should NOT to be included?
- Will we have access to all those pages and areas online?
- Will we need to translate and localize graphic elements within the website that contain text?
- Do you wish to have our Web localization specialists perform diagnostics and quality checks once the site is posted to your server?
- Do you intend to use your own in-country reviewers?
Obviously, there’s a lot to think about. Good news: We’re here to help!
Contact us today to connect with an intránsol representative about making your company’s website multilingual.