A Global Village. There has never been a time when that adage was so true. Thanks to Internet, there are no boundaries anymore, well, almost. From communication to commerce everything happens in English. While people could just learn English, to reach more eyeballs, localization is the key. Translation services are available aplenty, including Google’s fabulous free option.
But translation is one among a few steps you will have to conquer before going truly local globally. Smartling ensures that the best ideas are not locked up for English speakers alone. The service aspires to let everyone find, read and share their ideas online, in their preferred language. Shall we go ahead and figure out how it gets things done?
Smartling translation platform allows professional translators to work in context, quickly and affordably, to provide high quality digital content translations. The web app automatically detects new content, so that you don’t have to fret over localization and concentrate on coding and design. Smartling’s style guide and progressive glossary ensure consistency in translation even when dealing with multiple languages and copies.
Subscription plans at Smartling cost $99 and $249. All plans offer almost the same set of features and they all differ mostly on the number of page views the multilingual pages receive and the number of languages. The Enterprise plan offers unlimited page views, languages and premium support. There is a free version of the app that supports one language and 5000 page views, which should be perfect for trying out their service.
You can get started by entering the URL that needs to be translated. In the second and final step, choose the language(s) to which you want to translate the site. It’s as easy as checking the boxes.
Click on More Languages to bring up the entire list of supported languages. If the root language of the site isn’t English, make sure you choose the right language from the drop down menu before going forward.
Testing the Translation
Translations are done on the fly and as soon as you visit the dashboard, you will have all the translated links ready for you to check out. To add additional translations, use the self explanatory Add a Language option. All translated links have a relevant short code as a prefix in the subdomain. Here you have two options. Go with the free version of the translation or use your own translators to perfect the copy. Alternatively, you can use the premium translation service of Smartling.
To be very frank, the translations weren’t truly awesome. In most cases the translation was very literal and downright funny. The app even translated the first names (guess it couldn’t understand last names)! But these translations were missing when I reloaded the page. I think trying to translate a blog with longform narrative was not a brilliant idea in the first place!
Polishing the Translation
Naturally, you might want to work on improve the translation yourself. The link that you land on is completely editable and all you have to do is to highlight the right section. Use the pencil icon to make your changes in the page and save it once you are done. The History option is there for you to check on the previous versions of your (or your team’s) work and add appropriate notes.
Reports and Tools
Since you are charged for pageviews, the reports at the dashboard and the Reports section of the app should help you keep track of all the traffic. These traffic reports can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format. As I mentioned earlier, there is a section for you to create and maintain a style guide to ensure better and uniform translations.
Looking for a way to exclude (or manage) content from the translated pages? That’s what the Content section is for. From here you can pick and choose individual links or entire sections to exclude. If you are supervising the work of others, just like in the case of a regular blog, you can approve, reject or send it back to the retranslation queue.
Localization helps you hedge business risks so you don’t have to be dependant on only one market to make a living. With more than a billion non-English speakers online, these audiences represent massive business opportunity. But as things stand, you might need the help of some experienced translators to translate to perfection if you choose to go with Smartling.
Think of the free translation offered by Smartling as a temporary place holder while your team is working on a better version. The reports and editing tools at your disposal make up for translation deficiencies. Despite the sub-par free translation, Smartling gets points for acting as a centralized location from where you can manage all your localization efforts.
Share Your Thoughts!
Have you tried translating or creating localised version of your web apps/sites? If not, will apps like Smartling will help change your mind?