1. Translating inside the system
The most direct way to translate content in a web content management system (WCMS) is to give translators access to that system. Indeed, some systems include a built-in translate feature. This is straightforward and translators can work directly in the proper context. However, this is never an ideal scenario for a professional translator. Professional translators work best in their preferred translation environment, where they can benefit from translation resources and other useful features such as memories, termbases, machine translation, filters, personalised shortcuts, quality checks. Not only is the translator more productive, but the risk of damaging or deleting tags or variables is minimised. Besides, translators will probably give you discounts based on memory leveraging. This is why letting a translator work inside your system is not a solution I would recommend.
2. Exporting pages
If the solution is to work outside your system, then you should consider exporting the content to be localised, and sending it to your favourite translation partner. The export format is usually XML, XLIFF or HTML. These formats are supported by most translation tools, which means you can save yourself the trouble of copy-pasting content into a Word or Excel file. After translation, the localised files are simply imported back to the WCMS, which becomes multilingual. This will only work as long as your system has an import feature! That said, exporting/importing pages may be a tedious and error-prone process and costly over time. If your need translation in many languages or if your website is constantly updated, you will need a lot of resources. This may not be the right way to go.
3. Using a translation proxy
If exporting content from your WCMS is not easy or if you want to suppress the manual work, you may consider a proxy-based translation solution. With a proxy, you do not need to maintain a multilingual website. Instead, the translated pages are located on different servers. This is popular because a proxy offers a quick way to get your content localised without any development or maintenance required to your original website. However, the long-term cost may be an issue. Indeed, proxy providers may charge you per page views. If the translated versions of your website become popular (and this is what you want, don’t you?), you will lose control over your localization budget.
4. Using a connector
A connector is a gateway between your WCMS and your partner’s translation management system. Once the gateway has been set up, you simply need to select the content you want to localise and send it for translation. The content travels to the translation management system via the gateway. Once localised, it travels back to the WCMS. No files are actually exported, imported or saved anywhere. This is an easy way to submit content for translation but requires some development upfront. The amount of development needed will depend on how your WCMS has been configured. Yet, the ROI of such a solution may justify the initial efforts.
Obviously, there is no perfect solution. Each method described above comes with pros and cons. Choosing the right method to localise your website really depends on your resources available, the number of languages, your SEO strategy, your update cycle, etc. There are many technology providers and translation vendors out there to help you. Before you set out, I recommend you first speak to them and tell more about your WCMS and your globalization strategy. Then, make some calculations, and see what solution best suits your needs and is the most cost-effective for you.
Want to know more about the solutions Semantix can provide? We will be happy to help you choose the optimal solution for your website localization needs.