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How Long Should It Take to Translate Your Website?

Whether you run a multinational corporation or a lifestyle family business, the chances are – at some stage – you will have to consider localising your website. While you might be tempted by the speed of an automated tool – say, that of Google Translate – the pitfalls will always outweigh the benefits.

In truth, nothing can beat the quality of a human translator; particularly when dealing with the nuance of business speak – but how long should it take to get your website translated?

Why Google Translate should never be an option

The likes of Alexa and Siri may quickly be mastering conversation, but machine translation remains somewhat behind. Relying on automatic tools alone – as tempting as ‘free’ might sound – will more than likely leave you embarrassed at best; downright shocked if the verbatim translation takes on a cruder meaning than intended.

While neural machine translation is becoming increasingly sophisticated, it still tends to handle language in an overly-literal way. So, the output means the automated approach remains inappropriate for anything more than asking for directions.

The benefits of human translation

A human translator is an expert both in language as well as context. So, if your business operates in an obscure sector, requires specific terminology or has its own industry-lingo, it’s more than likely only a human translator can capture such detail.

Moreover, where messaging is particularly nuanced – a local marketing campaign, for example – it becomes increasingly difficult for a machine to interpret the language. In some ways, the language itself becomes less relevant than the context, potentially requiring complete reworking – which is where transcreation comes in.

The transcreator understands the context and interprets language in a subtler manner than pure translation. Part marketer, part translator – they will take the content, carry out their own market research, then rework the message to preserve the meaning without corrupting the language.

Making transcreation as much an artform as a skill – and crucial to the armoury of any international business.

But how long should website translation take?

Broadly speaking, translators can localise a 200-word document in roughly one-hour; or around 2,000 words in a day. So, depending on the word-count of your website, the complexity of the content and the number of markets you are targeting – you can expect a turnaround time of between two to five days once the content has been proofed. Translators tend to be industry-specific, so should be comfortable with technical language in any context.

Translation memory, as well as machine translation, is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the translation process with content catalogues used to create a first version, which is then reviewed and edited by a human translator. Dependent on the sophistication of the software, this can reduce turnaround time considerably.

However, this will largely depend on how comprehensive the translation memory is; plus, the volume of reference material made available.

Translating your website into multiple languages should not be a daunting, time consuming or costly prospect providing you work with professional, qualified translators with expertise in your field who are using appropriate translation tools.

Find out more about translation memory here >>