Ways to Translate a Website: Step-by-Step Guide

Ways to Translate a Website. | Trebinaldi

In this article, we are going to look at effective website translation and why it is important for companies and their brands. We will examine localisation, translation options, and some of the modules and extensions which are available.

What is Localisation?

Localisation takes the translation of your website to another level. You can improve what might otherwise be just a collection of words on a page by broadening your site’s appeal to local visitors and employing these strategies:

  • Use images that are likely to appeal to the target region
  • Make sure you address cross-cultural issues and localise your content accordingly
  • Change content such as currencies and units of measurement to reflect those of the target market
  • Check the webpage layout to ensure it is compatible with the local language format

By paying attention to these details, you will give the desired impression: that your product or service appears to have been specifically designed for the target market.

Why Bother to Localise Your Content?

Given the preponderance of websites in languages other than English and access to global markets at everybody’s fingertips, it not only makes sense to cater to site visitors by providing a site in their own language, which is also properly localised, it could be damaging not to do so. However, simply cutting and pasting content into Google Translate and trusting luck could drive away potential customers and put your carefully drawn-up expansion plans at risk.

What are the Translation Options?

Copy and Paste

Copy and paste have its adherents as it can be performed with no outlay, but as mentioned in the previous segment cutting corners by ignoring important translation elements like context could be damaging to your business. The method is also at risk of human error in the copying and pasting process, with duplications and omissions being common pitfalls. Errors like these tend to slip through the net because the task is being performed by someone who can’t spot them because they don’t speak the target language.

A Professional Translator

A human translator is best placed to deal with the nuances of issues such as context, idioms, and cultural criteria, which will lend your website an air of authenticity. There is also the question of the professional translator comprehending the overall message that you are trying to communicate. If nailing down accuracy and paying attention to subtle cultural differences is your goal, then engaging a professional translator will be worth the expense. To aid in your search, online platforms like Smartcat host listings of translators.      

Machine Translation

Machine translation engines vary in how they deal with different types of content, so investing time in a little research is likely to pay off. MT’s automated software can be a useful option, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its problem areas; it can’t recognise or account for the following:

  • Context
  • Cultural nuances
  • Colloquialisms and slang
  • Changes to an area’s vocabulary

For these reasons, it can be a good idea to run the MT translation past a proficient copy editor who is a native speaker of the target language. In this way, the MT-translated content can be checked for factual accuracy, grammar, and overall coherence.

Plugin Based Translation

By sharing access to your website with your translation provider, they will be able to execute the translation directly on your website contemporaneously. The plugin is common across this content management system and e-commerce applications:

  • BigCommerce
  • Drupal
  • Shopify
  • Wix
  • WordPress

If you are one of the 60% worldwide who have a WordPress-powered site, you will find you have a number of useful plugins to choose from:

  • The WordPress Multilingual Plugin is not only an excellent SEO option for multilingual sites but also a smooth translator of all sorts of content.
  • The Polylang WordPress Plugin has the advantage of being free to use.
  • Smartcat offers a special integration tool for both WPML and Polylang.

If you are a Joomla user, you might want to consider the following:

  • The GTranslate Joomla module works as a basic Google MT, so you might not get the desired quality. Smartcat also offers a special integration tool for this module.
  • The SEF Translate Joomla module allows the addition of languages to the sitemap, thus aiding multi-language search engine visibility and SEO placings.

Drupal is also a popular content management system, and as long as your chosen translation provider uses Drupal plugins, the Drupal Translation Management Tool offers a variety of translation methods:

  • The transliteration Drupal module will work for some, but it is probably not best employed on large projects.
  • The Drupal Localisation module. It does what it says on the tin.
  • The Smartcat integration tool is also available for Drupal users. Your web content is pushed out to Smartcat, where it is worked on by translators and proofreaders (or whoever you choose), and once completed, it is automatically sent back to Drupal.
  • GTranslate is also on offer, but the standard warning applies: Keep an eye on the quality.

Google Chrome

If budgetary constraints are at the forefront of your mind, or perhaps you are confident that the translation of your website content is a simple enough task, you could always fall back on Google Chrome.  Here’s how to set up Chrome so that it translates foreign language pages automatically:

  • Open Chrome on your computer
  • At the top right, click More Settings
  • At the bottom, click Advanced
  • Under Languages, click Language
  • Tick or untick ‘Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language you read’

You can perform the same process when you want to turn it off.


Clearly, there are a wide variety of website translation options available. Take your time in researching which would suit your needs the best.

You will need to consider the following:

  • Your market and target consumer.
  • The importance of accuracy.
  • The technical requirements in relation to your product or service and the description of its finer points.
  • And last, but by no means least, your budget.

Continue reading about the different industries with Trebinaldi, a content service provider member of ATA. And remember! You can rely on us if you need original content, translations, or proofreading of your blogs, website, social media, business, and more!

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