Website translation

A Guide to Finding the Best Website Translation Services Online

A Guide to Finding the Best Website Translation Services Online
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Updated on
November 15, 2023

Are you searching for website translation services? Well, you’re in luck! In this guide, we’re taking a look at the benefits of translating a website, website translation process, the top professional website translation services to work with, and how you can manage your website translation project in one place.

Let’s get started!

Translating a Website — Key Benefits

Translating a website has numerous benefits. By translating your website, you stop defaulting to the English language and get to reach your existing and new international markets and clients in their native languages. Given that a substantial number of non-native English speakers comprise the customer base of businesses catering to different demographics, translation is essential. To top it up, translated websites feel personalized, and consumers love online experiences that feel made especially for them.

Native English speakers only make up just under 5% of the global population. - Rest of World, "What languages dominate the internet?"

If you’re selling online, your ecommerce store/business website is about to benefit tenfold by selling to a larger audience and even converting leads that otherwise wouldn’t understand the full buying process.

Whatever your reason for embarking on a website translation project, it’s important to find the right website translation solution for your business to make the process as seamless as possible.

The Website Translation Process

Your website localization or translation project is primarily divided into two phases:

  • The content translation phase: finding and working with a website translation service provider to translate your content into a new language. This is where a professional website translation service comes in.
  • The website integration phase: adding and displaying the translated content to your website
  • ~Included here is using the localized content you just produced and creating a multilingual website that provides it to your users in their native language.
  • ~You’ll also have to take care of the complicated aspects, like setting up hreflang tags, among other things.

Let’s now take a detailed look at each of these website translation process phases.

The Content Translation Phase

Translation of an English sentence into a French one
Translating your content.

When it comes to having your website content translated, you have two translation paths to choose from:

  • Human translation, in which you hire a professional website translation service to translate your content with the help of professional linguists.
  • Machine translation, in which you use an automated translation program or a WordPress plugin like Weglot to translate your content. (It’s worth noting that this way also combines the translation process with the website integration process, but we’ll get to that later.)

Which one you choose depends on the needs of your business, your website, and your users.

Human or Professional Translation

Professional translation means you’ll have the input of a native speaker from the very start of your translation project to ensure translation quality. It’s most relevant for companies in highly technical fields, where getting the context exactly right for your translated website is fundamental to your business. For example, websites in the medical and legal fields would benefit the most from a professional website translation service.

If you want to capture the nuance of communication in multiple languages, and you want the confidence of knowing that you’ve hired a fluent speaker to translate your website content from English to Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, or Portuguese, for example, then a translation agency or service is the way to go. It will give you the confidence that your content will appear to native speakers as if it was originally written in their language.

40% of respondents said they wouldn't buy products in another language.

If you decide to use a website translation service provider and have your content translated by professional linguists, you’ll need to find an agency for your site that knows your industry well. Bear in mind that you’ll need to be fully involved with the agency and the translation project to ensure that any translated content, including existing and new content, meets the needs of your audience.

That means getting project managers from your team on board from the start and liaising with the account manager for the translation agency. This step is crucial as there might be different departments within your company that you’ll need to involve and get their approval on translated content.

While a translation agency is incredibly efficient in providing accurate translations of your website, take note that you are typically fully responsible for providing the content to be translated to the translation agency. You can’t simply give them the URL of the web pages to be translated—you’ll need to give them the content in the form of a Word or Excel document. Otherwise, this can also lead to missing parts of your website that need translating, for example, pages not linked in your navigation or within your footer or even just text in your footer.

You’ll then have to implement a content management process for monitoring quality and checking any translated content given back to you from your website translation service. Generally, translation companies will also include a further layer of proofreading to ensure maximum accuracy, so you’ll also need to factor this into your timeframe.

Don’t forget that once the initial integration is done, you’ll need to identify ongoing translation work, such as updates to existing content or new content you progressively add (something that’s particularly laborious for ecommerce stores). Some website translation services can do this for you.

Automated Translation

Automated translation works well if you need to translate your website content into a wide range of target languages and want the flexibility of combining human translation with machine translation.

Screenshot of using Google Translate to translate marketing text from a sample stationery shop.

Unlike what the term suggests, automated translation isn’t 100% automated. The process can involve human translators, too. However, largely, automated translation is using machine translation providers to automatically translate your content (rather than relying on the often lengthy process of human translation) and give you real-time translations.

In this case, instead of relying on a service like Google Translate, you’ll get better results with a dedicated WordPress multilingual plugin like Weglot. It uses a host of different machine translation providers (based on language pair), namely DeepL, Google Translate, and Microsoft Translator. Plus, it allows you to manually edit the translations to give you accurate translations with minimal translation management.

Weglot's Visual Editor
Weglot's Visual Editor

The website content translation phase will be quicker and seamless if you choose a website translation service in tandem with Weglot – that’s because Weglot automatically detects all the content on your website and translates it for you. You don’t need to handle the manual process of swapping files to translate with your translation agency, nor have the worry of not detecting all the content from your website. Forget copying-pasting and re-copying and re-pasting!

Suggestions for Website Translation Services

A fully translated and localized website is best done with the help of expert linguists. Here are the top 3 website translation services to entrust your translation project to:

Lionbridge
Lionbridge homepage - website translation services

Lionbridge offers a wide range of translation services: video and software localization, multilingual SEO and digital marketing, website localization, and many more. They even specialize in technical writing, which is helpful if you’re in a complex industry.

It’s one of the largest service providers, with over 6,000 employees working in more than 5,000 cities for over 25 years. They support over 350 languages, so you’ll easily get to add multilingual functionality to your website.

RWS
RWS - website translation service

Operating for more than 60 years, RWS is one of the largest and oldest website translation services. They have a team of 7,500+ experts, freelance translators, and specialized providers in 160 countries. All are highly skilled in different industries to provide tailored expertise when translating your blogs, landing pages, and other content.

They can directly translate your content into another language, or work with a first layer of machine translation and post-edit the output. They even offer transcreation or adapting a piece of content’s style, design, and text to reflect a target audience’s cultural background.  

Acolad
Acolad homepage - website translation service

Acolad is one of the top certified translation providers in the world. With over 30 years of experience, 20,000 expert linguists, 200 research and development experts, and more than 25,000 clients, they’re definitely one of the most experienced. They also offer localization services.

Their language experts are trained in website best practices. That means they work with technical managers to optimize each part of your website, even in different languages. As a result, your content will connect more deeply with your target audience, maximize multilingual SEO, and successfully reach your potential customers worldwide. Plus, they adhere to accessibility standards to ensure your website is truly inclusive.

Regardless of what service you pick, all can be used seamlessly with Weglot. You can add translators to your project so they can directly manage the translated content, import or export translation files from the service, and more.

Integrating Translation Into Your Website

The second step of website translation is taking your translated content and importing it into your website, so you can start doing business all over the world.

If you’ve gone down the professional services translation route and hired a translator to have separate content for different territories, you may need to set those up manually. That means lots of manual copy-pasting or file management.

This isn’t an option for a fast turnaround. Even when used with a translation management system, you often need to create pages manually and upload your translated content. Some content doesn’t even get detected.

Another option is to have you and your team review and manage the translations yourself. While typically tedious, multilingual solutions like Weglot make this part easy through different translation management features.

Taking Care of the Technical Stuff

Now, it’s time to configure the technical aspect of translating a website.

If you’re coordinating between a professional translation service and your developer team, you’ll need to do several things manually. First, you’ll have to register versions of your domain name with the appropriate country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for each target country. Second, you’ll then set up your website to host the translated content.

Breakdown of ccTLDs in a URL
ccTLDs in URLs

To make this easier, you can try a WordPress multisite solution or use separate sites. An even easier approach would be to use a single site with a multilingual plugin that also takes care of the translation.

Those opting for professional translation will also need to assign people to import the content and put checks in place to ensure it’s imported accurately, not losing accents and unique characters, for example.

Once the content is uploaded, you’ll need to optimize your content (multilingual SEO) to improve your search rankings in your target countries for search engines like Google and Bing. Target keywords might be different in different markets, so you’ll need to do extra work identifying them.

A list of keywords in French for someone wanting to rank for 'vin rouge' or red wine
Keyword research into French keywords for 'vin rouge' or red wine

Using a multisite network is also challenging. It’s a solution used by many international businesses: running a network with individual sites for individual territories or languages.

But, the major downside of this is the duplication of effort when it comes to managing content and administering the sites.

If working with a translation agency is out of your budget, finding a multilingual solution that will work on a standalone site will save you a lot of time in getting your website up and running.

The Benefits of a Multilingual Solution Like Weglot

As you can tell, the process of translating your website content and integrating it back into your site isn’t a simple one. But using a multilingual translation solution like Weglot makes it easy as all the steps are automatically taken care of.

Weglot homepage - website translation service

Weglot combines the best of both worlds: human translation and machine translation to give you high-quality translations. You can use it to give a fast, first layer of automatic translation of your website, then gain access to professional translators within the Weglot dashboard to fine-tune your most important pages for the best translation output.  

Or, you can use it while working with professional website translation services and have them work on your website using one interface—the Weglot Dashboard.

Weglot is trusted by 70,000+ website owners for translation management on their WordPress site.

With Weglot, you can manage all your translations in one place, right from your website dashboard. You can translate your content within minutes and then use professional translators who can ensure your content is even more localized. It’s that flexible. This means you have the choice of using automated or human translation, or a mix of the two.

Translations list on Weglot Dashboard - website translation service

With a visual editor and an in-content editor, you can use Weglot to see how your translated content looks in the context of your website. It’s optimized for multilingual SEO and is simple to install and configure. It also means your website translation project will reach a level of automation where you’ll have very little to do manually.

Conclusion

Using a website translation service to translate your website content is the best way to ensure native-level accuracy. But the process doesn’t end here—you’ll have to work on uploading and displaying the translated content to your website.

With Weglot, you can easily upload professionally translated content to your website, translate it through automatic translation, or manage your translation process from one place.

Try Weglot’s 10-day free trial to have a multilingual website in a matter of minutes.

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