When business people approach web page translation, they often do so from a position that’s simple and straightforward — thinking that all the translator has to do is change the words, maybe adjust for some grammar differences between languages here and there, and voilà, the translation is done. Easy, right?
Well, not so fast. There are a few pitfalls newbies to webpage translation can easily avoid if they understand a little about how languages (in general) and translation companies actually work. Here’s some advice that should help you out.
Common Pitfalls of Web Page Translation
In the race towards singularity opens in a new window, when it comes to who (or what) will dominate the workplace in the future between man and machine, the machines often win — well, in science fiction movies, at least. (Does Skynet ring any bells?) While we’re not dealing with Terminators here, you’ll find many websites and software platforms that offer automatic translations to and from just about any language you’d care to translate. While these options can work for more basic communication needs, they don’t work well for professional webpages or websites. You shouldn’t rely on the machines too much when it comes to quality translations.
Why is that, exactly? Well, because they’re not human, no matter how much awesome coding goes into them. And language (and language translation) is often as much about art and nuances as it is about grammar rules and lexicon.
While we don’t want to knock machine translation all together (just in case they do take over someday), they aren’t great at figuring out the meanings behind the meaning (back to nuanced language). This is often used in legal jargon, or in implicit business deals and negotiations where cultural taboos or accepted modes of communication (maybe you don’t want to lay all of your cards on the table) limit how a particular idea can be conveyed.
Skilled human translators understand not only the languages in question, but also the ways to use or not use a certain language. They can negotiate these cultural and linguistic hurdles (transcreation) in a way a machine just can’t match. You’ve heard the expression “lost in translation,” right? With a topnotch translation service working on your web page translations, you don’t have to worry about that.
Seeing the Complete Picture
There’s a lot to think about when translating webpages — and if a translator can’t see the complete picture, your end product can suffer. You need to inform translators about more than just the text on a particular webpage (especially one that’s still in progress). Accompanying images, page layouts, general company goals, intended audience (young, old, male, female, liberal, conservative, etc.) plus future company plans are all important aspects about your website that you should share with your translator. This will help him or her craft quality translations that fit perfectly into your bigger business puzzle.
Don’t think of web page translations as just words and sentences on a page that need to be translated. Try to think of them as ideas detailing a company’s core values — and perhaps even its reasons for being. In other words, why would someone want to visit your site in the first place? These are all things a reputable translation service can help you achieve. Language and context go hand in hand — and it will benefit you greatly if you work with your translation team by providing both.
Understanding How Translation Agencies Work (and Can Help You)
When you need to translate websites, it typically doesn’t pay to cut corners. A translation company, like GlobalVision, can match your company with the best translator for the job you have on hand. Just because someone speaks a language doesn’t mean he or she knows how to write it well, or even translate it correctly. That’s why the right mix of skill sets provided by a translation service, custom designed to your requirements (which can be adjusted as your business needs change and grow) will let you target the audience you desire, while providing your company or small business with the tools to say exactly what you want in the most appealing and efficient way possible — in any language you choose.
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