The 5 Biggest Problems With DIY Website Translations
If your website is launching into new territories and there’s a need to rework your digital content...
Did you know there are 50 million people in the United States who don’t speak English at home? In fact, the number of Spanish speakers in the United States has reached 45 million! A locally based business noticed an increase in the number of Spanish-speaking customers. To avoid challenges in communication, they reached out to LinguaLinx for Spanish translation services.
American Standard Manufacturing (ASM for short) is headquartered in Central Bridge, NY. They are an industry leader in innovative equipment designs for the storage and handling of low-pressure propane cylinders and high-pressure welding and industrial gas cylinders. ASM prides itself on being “Built on Service.” (It is their tagline and motto, and they like to put this into practice.) Customer service and quality products are the foundation of their company’s existence, says Krissy, Administrative Assistant. They have always had Spanish-speaking customers, and up until recently, communication has not been much of a challenge. However, it was becoming obvious that the difference in language could become a barrier in the future. They decided to be proactive; a language barrier is a hurdle that they do not want their customers to have to leap over to receive excellent customer service and quality products.
Krissy approached the LinguaLinx team after hearing about us from Kimberly Smith Designs, her graphic design partner, and also Interactive Media Consulting, LLC, her web design and development partner. (All of these businesses are based in or around New York’s Capital Region.) She spoke with a LinguaLinx Business Development Specialist over the phone, and we started working together quickly on extensive Spanish translation projects.
The next step for ASM was their website. Their online home is also an eCommerce site, so they want to make sure that information on their products and services is available for reviewing and purchase. For this step, ASM brought Interactive Media Consulting and LinguaLinx together for a planning session on how to make this possible. We presented several options:
Option #1 – Translation proxy solution hosted by LinguaLinx
Option #2 – Translation proxy solution hosted by the client
Option #3 – Translation of website content by LinguaLinx hosted by the client
Our translation proxy solution makes translation of a website very simple. We are able to crawl your web content and handle translation without any intervention required from your side – you don’t need to extract the content! Translators will work right in your original layout to avoid any contextual or fitting mistakes. The client or the developer will always host the source (English) site. LinguaLinx can host the translated site, or depending on the content management system (CMS) used, the client can install a plugin and host the translations themselves.
In the beginning, ASM and Interactive Media and Consulting chose Option #2. Their website was built using a WordPress template, so they installed the translation proxy plugin. The translations were completed in just a few days and were laid out perfectly within the layout. However, we did encounter some issues. The plugin did not support images or attachments. After much back and forth and troubleshooting, ASM and Interactive Media and Consulting decided to go with Option #1 – the translation proxy hosted by LinguaLinx.
To further make the effort to communicate better with non-English speakers, ASM decided to use LinguaLinx for on-demand, over-the-phone interpretation services. All that is required for set-up is some paperwork. There are no set-up fees, equipment to lease, monthly minimums or maintenance charges. ASM values customer service very much, and this solution provides them with a way to communicate with customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Krissy says this solution is very manageable and they look forward to using it.
I enjoyed working with Krissy right away! It was very easy to gauge her enthusiasm for their company and for the work we were about to do. ASM had never translated their content before so it was a great opportunity for me to educate Krissy in the process and the best approach to help them reach their Spanish-speaking customers.
Translation of the catalog went along pretty well – we work in InDesign quite frequently. Based on distribution, we were able to determine the target dialect and also other components such as measurement conversion. Our multilingual desktop publishing (DTP) team is very skilled in making sure the translated text fits properly within a layout (accounting for expansion, etc.)
When it came to the website, Krissy wanted it all to come together with minimal input on her end. We were able to work with her web design and development team. My role throughout the process was to communicate with the client and update them and also with Bill and our translation proxy support team. As Bill mentions, we had some back-and-forth during this process. Our goal is to manage and meet client expectations. We knew that the goal was for the client to host the Spanish site. However, the translated images were not carrying over to the Spanish site using the plugin. We troubleshooted back and forth to try and make this happen. What made this easier was communication on all sides. Everyone was responsive and our goals were aligned – complete the website and finish with a product that would “speak the language” of ASM’s Spanish customers.
What also makes the translation proxy solution great is the ability to check for updates. As ASM updates their English site, our crawl is able to pick up these updates and provide an immediate quote.
I worked as the project manager for website translation. Caitlin brought me in right at the planning stage from the first phone call until the site was tested and ready to go!
We presented the client with three options for translating their website. They chose “Option 2” which was to install the translation proxy plugin. Interactive Media Consulting would host the translations on their end. This meant that the process would be a collaborative effort between our translation proxy team, the client, and their web team. The process started out very simple. The plugin was installed, and we had the content translated. We were able to set up the domain name for the Spanish site so that it read the translations properly.
One issue we had to fix were the ads on the home page. These need to be handled separately. The images were created in InDesign and were not picked up by the initial web crawl. Once we had these images translated, they were not showing up on the proxy site using the plugin. (Meaning they were still in English.) In order for the site to be fully-translated, we would need to find a solution. After much troubleshooting, we decided that the best option would be to switch to “Option 1” where LinguaLinx hosts the site so that the ads and images are fully supported.
Overall, it was a team effort. Our proxy solution team was very responsive as was the team at Interactive Media Consulting. This was very helpful as we tried many fixes to make Option #2 work (because that was what the client wanted). In the end, though, we agreed that Option 1 would work best for the clients needs.