Pre-flight testing is an essential part of any website translation project. A few necessary testing steps before beginning the translation of your website will prevent issues during production.
Blindly undertaking a website translation without a specific plan that covers the a few basic topics will adversely impact the success of your project. Namely:
- how you will exchange content for translation
- how to manage the internal review process
- how to handle updates and changes to the content
- how to confirm that all the text intended for translation is in the project
Exchange of text for translation
How to push and pull content from your site to the translation provider is the first issue to address. It is also an essential part of the quotation process. Many popular content management systems (CMS) can be connected directly to a translation management system (TMS). This connection allows the customer to send new and updated content with just a few clicks. The content automatically moves to the translation company’s TMS and the project goes directly into production. Upon completion of the translation, the files are submitted directly to the customer’s CMS.
This approach requires a bit of setup work upfront, but once this link is established, the translation of text from your CMS is an easy task. This process also helps to identify when you have changes to content in your CMS so you can quickly locate what content needs translation.
Some customers prefer handling this content via cutting and pasting into a text file, having the content translated and then cutting and pasting the material into the website. While that approach seems like it saves time or is a more direct route, it carries unnecessary risks:
- It’s easy to miss some required text – let’s face it, cutting and pasting text is monotonous; it’s easy to miss content either on the extraction on the way out of the website or during the reintroduction on the way back into the final website.
- It can create text mismatch issues due to errant cutting and pasting – this is especially true with extended character sets like Chinese and Japanese. This approach gets especially tricky with right-to-left languages like Hebrew and Arabic.
- It adds an incredible amount of time to complete, especially on large projects – we handle a lot of large website translation projects. Manually cutting and pasting just isn’t an option in these situations. You will add an incredible amount of time and cost to your project.
- It’s not a scalable solution – as you add languages cutting and pasting becomes an even more significant problem. To calculate the amount of effort required, multiply the hours by the number of languages!
Pseudo translation of the website
An essential part of testing includes pseudo translation which is running the source files through a process which places ALL CAPS or gibberish text in place of the original version. This procedure helps the developers to identify any missing fields or text not included in the initial drop of content. The missing text might consist of embedded text in images, custom fields that need special treatment for inclusion in the translation or linked material from other sources like forms and landing pages.
We suggest repeating the pseudo translation process until all of the appropriate text is «translated.» This procedure is the most effective way to check that all content is in your project.
Executing these two steps, the proper exchange of content and the pseudo translation of that same text, will lead to a successful website translation project. These steps will mean less rework which will reduce the cost and time required to complete your project.
You can see a short video on how Pseudo translation works here.
Peter founded Argo Translation, originally based in Milwaukee, WI, in 1995. Prior to transferring his love of all things international and his savvy business expertise into Chicago’s premier translation agency, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he graduated with a major in finance and human resource management. After graduation he went on to become an Italian translator and project manager for an international medical equipment manufacturer and major airline.