Category Archives: Translation

17 Mar 2015

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As pointed out in the last episode of How to translate websites’ on pictures and images, translation of websites is usually one of many steps in the website localisation process. Let’s have a look now at another important component: cultural adaptation.

How: visuals and language

Cultural adaptation of websites isn’t limited to colours, graphics, date or number format. It’s much more than that. First, you’ll need to know how the target users navigate websites: what is their main focus? Where do they look first? Would they search for the contact data in the main upper menu or at the bottom in the footer?read more

9 Feb 2015

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Images in website localisationLet’s have a look at the big picture. Websites are usually translated as part of the localisation process, which means that the text is just one of many items to consider. The layout, technical aspects, cultural references and visuals are all equally important and will have to be adapted to the target audience. So, how to deal with graphics when you localise or translate a website?

Worth a thousand words

Graphics and pictures are the key elements on every website. An average website visit lasts less than one minute, but the users need only 10 seconds to decide whether to stay on the page or not.read more

22 Dec 2014

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Variables or placeholders are yet another important features in website translation. Depending on the website structure and subject matter the text may be brimmed with different variable types or contain just a few of them. Let’s have a look at variables in more depth and see how to deal with them while localising a website.

What are variables?

In programming and web development variables are used to store known or unknown values and to separate the content and name of a particular item. Variables may represent a textual or numerical value that may change when a website is used. You can usually find them in the form of a percentage sign followed by a letter or number, for example ’%d’ in the string ‘You have %d items in your basket’.read more

29 Oct 2014

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Once you know how to deal with non-standard error messages and button names, it’s time to have a look at character restrictions. They may reduce your possibilities and push your creativity to the limit, but that’s what makes them special and loveable. Let’s see how you can make your life easier when translating a website with limited text fields.


Why restrictions?

A great website design is flawless and visually attractive. Usually graphics take precedence over text, so any button names, menu items and commands will have to fit within the specific area. Since languages vary in length, it may be difficult to predict how much space will be needed for the new website version.read more

30 Sep 2014

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First of all: Happy International Translation Day to all my colleagues! It’s a perfect time to continue with the next episode of How to Translate Websites. In this post let’s have a look at button names placed within menus or in the page content.

View it online

Buttons used on websites have a defined purpose and functionality. They are there to complete a certain action (e.g. ‘Cancel’, ‘Submit’) or link to another page (e.g. ‘Go back’, ‘Next’). To ensure user-friendliness, text strings placed on buttons are usually short and displayed in a bigger font than other strings on the page.read more

17 Sep 2014

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In the new series of How to Translate Websites, which is an extension of my course on website localisation, I’ll share practical tips for successful translation and localisation of the online content. The first post deals with creative and non-standard messages that show up when an error occurs. Let’s get started!

Why non-standard?

A typical error message displayed on a website reads: ‘The webpage cannot be found’, ‘That webpage no longer exists’ or ‘The website cannot display the page’, sometimes followed by the error number (e.g. 404). Although these errors might be a real hassle for users and developers, they usually don’t pose any challenge for translators.read more

16 Jul 2014

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Operation manuals and user guides belong to the texts that require special attention and careful proofreading to communicate the message correctly and precisely. The last thing you want to find in your translated manual is unclear instruction, incomplete information or awkward wording.

When things go wrong

Even if the original text is flawless, the multilingual versions may fail to stand up to the high quality standards and confuse or mislead the reader. In many cases instructions are rendered fully into a foreign language, but the style and terminology are barely acceptable. And then you may end up with a text similar to the one presented below.read more

7 Jul 2014

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When you read a list of ingredients on a product packaging, probably the last thing you expect to see is an instruction related to translation for the local market. That’s what recently happened to me when I tried to analyse what’s inside chocolate candies produced by a popular brand. Below a list with sugar types, powders, syrups, concentrates and other substances the manufacturer cared to inform: Please translate as foreseen by your nutrition department. For Germany we need to label additional facts, therefore it is not a translation word-by-word
I’m glad to learn that the company localises its content for the local market, but
I’d be happier to know that it follows proper reviewing policies as well.
read more

29 Apr 2014

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Localisation and translation of websites can be a complex process requiring
a high level of creativity, great attention to details and decent IT skills. As
a translator you’ll have to think like a potential website visitor to make sure that the content reads and looks like a local product. Below you’ll find a few key tips for smoother website translation and localisation.

1. Agree on the localisation tool

Quite often you’ll be free to work in a website localisation tool of your choice. Sometimes you’ll have to use a proprietary tool, such as a specifically developed Content Management System to insert your translation directly in the customer’s backend.read more

10 Mar 2014

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QuestionsHow to recognize good translators? They ask questions before and during their translation. Not because they lack knowledge or experience. Quite the contrary. It is a part of the translation process leading to a high quality text that will suit your needs and help you achieve your purpose of attracting new website users, game players or customers, spread the message about your brand or accomplish any other purpose you may have. That’s why answering questions of your translator can only bring benefits and ignoring any inquires may result in misunderstandings or ambiguities in the target text.  

General questions

Before beginning with the translation process, your translator will probably ask you about the general context of your text, the purpose and reason for the translation and the target audience.read more