Understanding Translation for Web Developers

[ 0 ] December 30, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

Understanding Translation for Web DevelopersWe’ve talked a fair amount by now about the role translation and marketing teams play when it comes to handling the localization of a website. Web developers, however, have a crucial role as well, as the ones literally building the website. When working on the original website in the source language, developers tend to have a good rapport with content editors, who write the text of the site. For some reason, when the language of the content changes, this doesn’t always transfer over to the developer/translator relationship.

If you are a developer, you may be thinking, “this is ridiculous, with all of the machine translation engines out there, why do I even need to work with a translator?” This brings up a good point; translation technology is getting better by the day, but its accuracy is still limited compared to what a human translator can do. Take a moment to remove the translation part of the equation: how would you feel about being part of the development team for a website with content that is mediocre at best? Ok, now let’s add translation back in. Everything remains the same, except you personally, as the developer, can’t understand or relate to the content. That is not a good enough excuse, however, for not caring about the translation aspect of website localization.

Taking a look at websites from different countries all over the world, it becomes quite clear that there isn’t one cut-and-dried methodology for any aspect of web design and development. We tend to think that all that is needed to market properly to another country is to translate the text, but it involves much more than that. For example, most text will expand once translated, for a number of reasons. Generally, this is because either the translation simply contains more words than the source text, or the cultural context of the original text needs to be explained a little bit in the translated version. This poses a few issues regarding website layout, where the space allotted for the source language text is not sufficient for the target language text, among other things.

So as a web developer, what is the best way to handle the new challenges of localizing a website? By improving your relationship with the translation team. Establishing good communication between the development team and the translation team or agency will do wonders for preventing careless mistakes and for simply building a better website for the target market. Keep in mind that, just like a web content editor, a translator is a writer, too, just in a different language and with some extra challenges. If you can relate to them in this light, and reach out to them to clarify anything, you will see significant positive changes in terms of how everyone works together towards the common goal of localizing the site for a foreign market.

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Category: Translation Services