Mission: Translating a Website. Final Touches

Website building , under construction or repairThe translation process of a website is quite an interesting and demanding task as I have explained in earlier episodes of this small series of Mission: Translating a Website. If you would like to refresh your memory or is you missed one of the episodes, you may read why websites are being translated, the theory of how to translate a website and some practical procedures.

Regardless of the experience a translator may have, the text of the website needs to be thoroughly proofread by another language professional, just like any other translation project should. Is that enough? In this final part of the series, I will describe some best practices that I have drawn from my experience in translating websites.

Final check when the content is online

The most common practice requested by my clients is for me to check the content when it goes online. Why do clients ask for this final check when the text has already been proofread anyway? A translated text, when if leaves the hands of the linguists, lands on the hands of a programmer who most probably does not speak the target language. Even if a bilingual file is sent to a client, it can happen that the programmer involved has accidentally skipped segments or even placed a segment in the wrong place. What usually happens is that the translator finalizing the website content sees a local copy of the website on the clients’ servers. This means that the website is hidden from the rest of the world and its is for the eyes of the translator only. When the finalization of the client’s
website is complete, then the website goes live. Clients tend to realize that their online content needs to touch perfection, otherwise it could lead to unexpected consequences. The most responsible and passionate of clients request this service during the negotiations and discussions on their website translation. Now, for this task, an hourly rate is charged, instead of a per-word one.

Mock profile created

When it comes to large portals, the wisest option is for the client to create a mock profile with limited editing rights and pass its credentials to the translator performing the final check. This way, the client enjoys the benefit of having the content checked together with having the translator acting as the user of the portal. In other words, the translator wears the hat of a user and navigates around the portal not simply as a linguist but as an active user of the portal. Having a mock profile to his/her disposal, the translator has the opportunity to double check the translated strings from a practical point of view. You see, strings sometimes need to be altered, not because they were badly translated but because words and sentences tend to sound unnatural when seen online. While doing this task, a translator needs to keep in mind some pieces of advice that are described here. Again, this final part of the translation procedure is usually charged by hourly rate.

Following the end of this procedure, the website is ready to be shared with the rest of the word. Translating a website requires dedication, true love to the translation profession apart from skill and experience. Translators with passion for their work are the best possible professionals for such projects. Websites are seen by millions of pairs of eyes every day, the content is constantly judged, commended upon and criticized.  All we, the professional translators, need to do is show the appropriate respect not only to the source but also to the target translation product, our clients, their clients and the whole world.

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