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5 Different Approaches to Website Localization

Website LocalizationLocalizing a website into different languages is very important if you’re trying to expand your business into global markets. However, there are multiple approaches and choosing the right one depends on many factors, such as the type of content management system (CMS) you’re using and what type of resources you have available to manage the process. Let’s take a look at the five most common approaches to website localization.

#1 Website Replication

Website replication is the oldest method of deploying localized websites and it’s usually associated with older HTML websites. You develop a separate, standalone website for each language, which is hosted on your servers. You manually send the files through email or an FTP site to your language service provider (LSP) for translation and localization. When the content is ready, the LSP sends you the same files in the same structure to manually upload to your server.

Pros:

  • It can work for companies who have a small number of localized websites or who have a static website

Cons:

  • It’s a manual process, relying on human resources for every step
  • You have to be very diligent about tracking all the new or updated content
  • It’s time-consuming and expensive
  • The localized websites are out of sync until the content is ready, leading to a slower time to market

#2 Content Management System (CMS) with No Plug-in

A Content Management System (CMS) is a more automated way to manage content. The process is similar to website replication except a CMS stores and manages the content. You copy and paste the content to a document and send it to the LSP. The LSP will send you the translated documents and you copy them back into the CMS in every translated language.

Pros:

  • The content is stored in a CMS so it’s more efficient than storing content in a spreadsheet or another manual form
  • It’s good for companies who are already using a CMS to manage English content since all the work is done inside the CMS

Cons:

  • There are no automatic notifications for source content changes; it’s still a manual process
  • The translations are done out of context
  • After the review cycle, the content needs to be sent back to the LSP so they can update their translation tools such as a translation memory (TM) and glossary
  • Since there are many manual steps, the websites are out of sync and it may delay time to market

#3 CMS with a Plug-in

This solution is similar to the previous solution except that with a plug-in, within a few short steps, you easily export all the content to XLIFF and send it to the LSP. The LSP then sends you the translated XLIFF for you to import into the CMS.

Pros:

  • The content export and import process is easy
  • Same benefits as #2

Cons:

  • Same cons as #2

#4 Javascript-based Solution

With a Javascript-based solution, you put a 1-line code into the English website. The localized version automatically displays the respective content into the person’s website browser in real time.

Pros:

  • It’s very easy and quick to implement

Cons:

  • Not all search engines index webpages with Javascript so if search engine optimization (SEO) is important to you, Javascript isn’t a good fit
  • It can take more time for web pages to load
  • Very difficult to apply design changes if needed

#5 Proxy Solution

A proxy solution is a cloud-based website translation management system. When a person comes to your website, their interactions, such as URLs and links, send requests to your web servers, which pull the appropriate language website files.

Pros:

  • Detects updated content and sends it to the LSP automatically
  • The website manager doesn’t have to be involved in the process
  • Quick to set up
  • Time to market is faster
  • It works on most platforms
  • Flexible and scalable solution
  • All the traditional processes of localization, like using human translators and reviewing the content for quality, still occur

Cons:

  • If you have a company policy or law which prohibits a third party being involved in the traffic due to privacy considerations, a proxy solution isn’t a good option

For additional information about proxy solutions, watch the 2-minute video below:

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right website translation approach is not an easy task and one solution doesn’t fit all. If you have any questions about what the right approach is for you, contact our nearest office and we’d be happy to help you. To learn about our proxy solution called Net-Proxy, read our article about website translation management.

 

David Sommer

For roughly a decade I have been helping people around the world gain access to the world's leading products and services by making them accessible in their native language. My previous experience with a national standards institute taught me how to achieve quality and present the results.  Having started at Net-Translators as a Localization Project Manager winding up a Senior Localization Manager, and finally to my current position as Director of Strategic Operations, I have learned much about the industry, but more importantly, I have focused continually on how I can improve processes and deliverables in a theoretical as well as practical manner. I am constantly on the lookout to learn more about our industry and implement new ideas.

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