This guest post was written by Jessica Kane. She is a professional blogger who writes for Bureau Translations, a leading company that provides website translation services for businesses.
Here’s what Jessica has to say about website translation services:
Why Translate a Website?
Website creation requires a lot of work and time. You want as many people to see your content as possible. Language barriers can make this a real challenge, though – if your site doesn’t offer multi-lingual options, you’re missing out on millions of potential eyeballs.
The Value of Translation
The more people who can understand your content, the more fans, followers, and customers you’ll receive. From small-time hobbyist bloggers to business owners who rely on a strong internet presence to generate profits, the success of a website (and your product) depends on your ability to reach out to the entire global community.
Your audience doesn’t have the time to translate your site for themselves. If they can’t read it, they’ll click off to something else. Even if they do stick around and try to get through it with typical online translation tools, the results are often garbled and misleading, creating a lot of headaches for businesses and customers alike.
Translation Methods and Problems
Unless you’re fluent in several languages, translation is not a do-it-yourself project. Online translation tools like Google Translate are useful for learning the general meaning of single words, but they fall short when it comes to longer phrases.
Basic linguistic construction can create problems for these programs. For example, most of the vocabulary of Latin-based languages (Italian, Spanish, French, etc.) is formed by applying different endings to the same root word. Not only does the meaning of the word change according to the ending, but it also defines which words are allowed to be used in the rest of the sentence, and changes their endings, too!
Human communication isn’t just about words and word order. No computer’s language algorithms are sophisticated enough to pick up on all the nuances, colloquialisms, and subtexts of language. The software won’t understand the finer points underlying the surface text, and can only return results via “statistical machine translation” – which means that its answer is based on what the “most likely” meaning might be.
Free online translation programs are useful for small tasks, but ultimately too limited to accurately convert full passages, let alone catch any subtle inferences which any human reader would be able to understand.
Solution: Hire an Expert
If you really want to grow your business beyond your own borders, find a human translator who has a solid understanding of both languages. You can do this via website translation services. Professional translators can work with you in person or online. Their fees tend to reflect their expertise – expect to pay between $20 and $40 per hour, on average. If your budget won’t allow for this, consider approaching college students who are studying the languages your site requires. They may be willing to help you for much less, and they might even be able to earn college credit for working as interns in the field.
If you want as much exposure as possible for your site, a professional translator is well worth the investment.
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