Translations for large-scale EPiServer 7 websites
When planning for a client's new web platform catering to web editors in 20 countries managing content in even more languages, it was evident that we needed a sound strategy for translating content. I thought I'd share how we approached it, which processes and workflows we opted for and the translation service we integrated.
Tools and services for translating content
The website was integrated with the LanguageWire translation service through a plugin making the translation features easily accessible to web editors. Next I'll describe how this works from a web editor's point of view.
Know your master language
The term master language simply refers to the original language of content being created.
Whenever the master language version of a piece of content is updated, the web editor is given the option of having it translated by the translation service to any number of languages.
They know their native language
A native speaker for each target language translates the original master language content. During the translation process, the web editor can easily see the status of the translation.
The translated content is usually available within a few days. As soon as it's ready, the web editor is notified. However, in this case, the translated content isn't published on the website until a web editor approves it. A simple yet efficient workflow.
If you're like me and enjoy technical details
When the master language content is sent for translation, the actual page property values are sent as XML via an API to the translation service.
The content is then directed to a native speaker of the target language, and they access it through their own specialized translation software. When they're done translating, the content is sent back as XML through the same API to the website.
The person who sent the content is notified that the translation is complete, and is given the option of previewing it before publishing.
The EPiServer edit interface plugin
In the asset pane we can easily track the status of ongoing translations:
In the same asset pane we're given the option of sending content for translation:
What are the benefits?
- Simplified content authoring of multilingual content
- Using the same translators over time and across the entire platform ensures consistent tone of voice
- Reduced overhead costs as the process is clearly defined and extensively automated
- Having translations based on actual HTML markup ensures proper formatting of translated content
- Predictable costs and workflows
And what are the challenges?
- Some web editors prefer to send content in the form of Word documents which may lead to duplicate work when both original and translated content needs to be published and formatted for the web
- A new supplier must be ramped up and familiarized with the website's taxonomy and the client's preferences when it comes to business-specific translations (the specialized translation software plays a key role here to more easily introduce new translators, for example letting them know that some words shouldn't be translated because they're actually brand names)
- Depending on the process, it might be complicated to answer the question "which pages are left to translate?" - although we can see which translations are pending, it may be more difficult to figure out which relevant pages are still to be sent
Are you still there? Ok, I'll wrap this up. Without a solid translation service integrated properly in the CMS, the project would not have been as successful. A sound strategy at the very beginning of a large-scale web project is instrumental to the success of both initial content work (and migration) as well as day-to-day content publishing.
Web editor testimonials definitely prove that, if done right, an integrated translation service makes content work faster, cheaper, consistent and without (or at least a lot less) agony.