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Getting It Done. Website Localisation: Part Three

31st October 2019

You have a range of options available for website localisation. How will you persuade new customers that they are truly being spoken to?

Once you commit to the website localisation process, you have more than one option when it comes to the nuts and bolts of getting the job done.

Broadly, your choices are as follows:


File Export

This is a long-standing method of data transfer that can still prove useful for smaller websites. If your site is custom-built and doesn’t use a traditional content management system, this may be a suitable choice. If your site has static content with no variation in layout, material or available features regardless of who accesses it, then a straightforward file export may get the job done for you. This type of content is far quicker to cache, process and deliver than dynamic content. If you choose the file export option, then you simply need to transfer data files from your CMS and manually deliver them to your language service provider.

Website Translation Proxy

If you want to communicate your brand values, your dynamism and your responsiveness to a global audience, then continuously updating the translated versions of your website is a must. This process can be simplified by opting for a Translation Proxy Service (TPS). Content is crawled from your site, with your source text replaced in real time by translations into target languages. The proxy server acts as a go-between from the original site to its foreign language versions, effectively acting as a second screen in front of your site and overlaying translated versions for the benefit of non-English speaking visitors. If you frequently publish fresh content, and if you need the job done quickly, this can be a useful option. Where it can fall down is in representation of layout, style and colour. We’ve already discussed the different layouts and styles that you might expect to find in (eg) German and Japanese websites promoting the same products. TPS delivers a mirror-image of your English-language website, and by limiting your ability to configure the site differently for different countries, it limits your ability to truly localise.

CMS Integration

While copying and pasting can be time consuming and open the door to human error, data transfer via content management system integration is a smooth and efficient process. Your system should have connectors in place which enable site files to be selected and sent to your language service partner for translation into your chosen languages without actually leaving your CMS at all. You can make use of readily available technology that connects to your CMS via an integrated plugin and transmits source text and translated text with the minimum of fuss. It also gives you the freedom to manage content editing country-by-country and helps move you towards your goal of making each site visitor in each target country feel as if the site has been designed specifically for them.

While we all need to pay attention to the technical detail of a website localisation project, it pays to remind ourselves what, and who, we’re doing it for. We’re reaching out for a personal connection with new customers, wherever they may be. We’re speaking to them. We’re speaking to the world.


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