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Translation for European languages
Do I need to contact someone from the respective countries?
web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 3:13 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

After following the discussions here, I am thinking of getting the translation done for one of my site in major European languages from a professional instead of using any online tool.

However, what I would like to know is - do I need to contact someone in Germany for getting the translation done in German language or can I get it done here in my country? Is there any difference in the quality of translation if I get it done here?

The reason of getting it done locally is that the translation charges here in India are quite less compared to the ones if I get it done from Germany directly.

Also, what are the various ways to verify the quality of translations you get done from professionals?

Would like to have members opinions regarding this issue.

 

tbear

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 3:27 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm English living in Spain. Although I may be capable of translating into Spanish I would always prefer to trust it to a native of that language rather than someone who has learned it. I have also done the same with German.

web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 3:44 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

But these guys here are doing it for corporates and technical translations too.
One of the translation company here has professional staff devoted to each language and boast of several translators in the team.
If even big companies are getting the translations done from them, does it make easier to entrust them with the work?

Sinner_G

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 6:30 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have seen translations even by major companies looking very bad in foreign languages. It depends a lot on the individual translators. I guess there are people capable of translating into German in India, just make sure that person is either a native german speaker or has lived there for a long time. Learning a language at school, even if one has a translator's degree will never make him aware of the fine details of a language.

Ivana

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 6:34 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

As a student of language (English & Danish) I will recommend you one of two options:

1 Hire either a professional translator, preferably a native speaker.

2. Hire two students of the desired language. Let them first work independently and then meet up to create a translation based on the two individual texts. Make sure that they are senior students and ask to see a list of the type of courses taken. This is the economical version but probably also the best. They will be very dedicated, I assure you.

Do NOT hire someone without qualifications.

Good luck

Ivana

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 6:39 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>native german speaker or has lived there for a long time.

That's important, because there are colloquialisms and local usages that only a native language speaker would know. Even in the US there are regional differences. What's called pop in California is called soda in New York and called tonic in New Hampshire. Anyplace else, tonic is either what you drink with gin or hair tonic that men put on their hair. When I got to CA and ordered a Danish, they gave me an English muffin - a Danish here was called a sweet roll.

Ivana

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 6:46 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree with Marcia but there is also a huge difference between written and spoken language, colloquialisms are mostly used in spoken language and regional differences hardly ever enter written language.

There is also the industry-specific language to be aware of but usually the translator will research similar texts to make sure that he/she has got the right tone.

Translation is a very difficult area, the result is usually a rewriting of the text based on the original as a 'direct' translation will read like a translation, if you see what I mean.

Nick_W

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 7:39 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Another approach is the way Ivana and I have done this before:

The indian student who speaks german translates it. Then the German native polishes it. Very effective. And not to costly...

Nick

Torben Lundsgaard

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 8:09 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

web_india, I have a lot of experience translating and optimising sites to other languages. Here is my advice

Use native translators. It doesn't matter if they live in your country or the country your are targeting.

Don't trust "native" translators. They might not be so native after all and you have no way of checking the translation. A translation can be gramatically correct but miss the slang and way of writing in the area you are targeting.

Always use a local SEO to polish and optimise the translation. This is very important. Translators haven't got a clue about SEO and the local SEO is also you guarante that translation is ok.

Torben

HitProf

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 8:10 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I go with Nick_W: have it translated as well as possible and then have it reviewed by a native speaker.

If possible, have it translated by the compaby who sells the product, if they have any experience with translations. They know best about their own markets!

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 8:27 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Web_india, with translations it's a bit like with any web promotion and publishing issues: what holds true for one site may be totally wrong for another site.

What translation option you choose is very muchdependant on what kind of site it is, informational, ecommerce, technical..

Next question would be do you want to just offer some additonal german pages, or do you really want to target a foreign language market.

If you need to promote the pages I would not go to the risk of hiring some language students. I would suggest to hire a professional.

Another decision to make is do you want a text translation or do you want a web translation. From my experience text translations, while being similar priced only work half as good for web publishing as dedicated web translations.
A web page is not a text!

>Translation is a very difficult area, the result is usually a rewriting of the text based on the original as a 'direct' translation will read like a translation, if you see what I mean.

Important point. Fact is you would want your text to read like it was written in the target language.

>I have seen translations even by major companies looking very bad in foreign languages

Don't get me started.. ;)

>what are the various ways to verify the quality of translations you get done from professionals?

The best way would be to get native speakers check it.
Else it's basically a matter of trust, like with hiring some designer or programmer or SEO.
You would want someone with a track record or some good references.
Again, a top text translator might make for a lousy web translator.
There are two areas where those differ:

- writing for the web requires a different mindset than writing for print

- a web page consists of more than just the visible text.

Tor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:19 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Again, a top text translator might make for a lousy web translator.

I completely agree with Heini on this. I would perhaps also skip the word might. Our experience is that they are. Do as Torben suggests:

Always use a local SEO to polish and optimise the translation. This is very important. Translators haven't got a clue about SEO and the local SEO is also you guarante that translation is ok.

That`s the only approach that works!

web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:26 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I got in touch with 3 different translation experts today :

First is an individual who has offered translation for 2 languages - french and german.

Second is a team of husband and wife - with the wife being a French national but living in India.

Third is an institute of teaching foreign languages. They conduct foreign language coaching classes for students. They also do translations for companies, their mailers, print brochures etc. They have visiting and resident faculty of native language speakers who take classes and do the translations too.

I guess the first one is ruled out by reading the above posts but do I have any chance with the second(for French) and third?

I would like to add that I am looking for all the major european languages after which I would be going for Japanese too.

Nick_W

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:31 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

2 and 3 sound fine. You'll still need the local SEO though...

Nick

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:38 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

web_india, without going into details here it's hard to offer good advise. Different sites may need differnt levels of translation skills.

In general I would not advise you to use either of those with regards to the points made above.

I would recommend on hiring people with the following qualifications:
- native speaker
- specialist for web translations/web publishing
- living in the target country, at least part time
- familiar with basic seo principles
- preferably some track record/other references

Trying to save on translations is risky.

Sinner_G

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:41 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

As stated by some people here, it depends heavily on the specific industry/product knowledge needed, but if the content is mostly just normal stuff, I would go for solution number 2 (if the wife has not left France 20 years ago of course :)).

Nick_W

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:42 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, but doing it for french could surely work with number 2. Wife is french national so she translates, hubby polishes and a local SEO finishes it?

Nick

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:48 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>wife
what are the qualifications? Has she ever done any serious web translation? Just because someone is a mothertongue speaker doesn't make him a good translator and writer for the web?

Don't get me wrong, that husband and wife team might be brilliant.
However, I would for the most critical part of targeting foreign markets never trust anybody but a professional.

web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:48 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nick_W and Torben Lundsgaard: Your suggestions sound good.

Heini :
What translation option you choose is very much dependant on what kind of site it is, informational, ecommerce, technical..
>> Currently I am looking to get the translation done which is the information pages of clients profile and products etc.

Next question would be do you want to just offer some additonal german pages, or do you really want to target a foreign language market.
>> Of course, I want to target the language market and not only the German language but the whole of Europe. Also brings up the question of translating daily emails and queries.

If you need to promote the pages I would not go to the risk of hiring some language students. I would suggest to hire a professional.
>> I too want to hire professionals only but the faculty at an institute with years of teaching experience, would they be called professionals or not - I am not sure now?

Another decision to make is do you want a text translation or do you want a web translation. From my experience text translations, while being similar priced only work half as good for web publishing as dedicated web translations. A web page is not a text!

>> Actually, I was thinking of getting the translated text in my email, and doing it myself for the HTML. Since the pages I am working upon will be static pages and I have done html pages earlier in these languages, I never faced problem. Or I am overlooking something here?

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:49 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just for beating the same points home beyond any possible doubt: ;)

You always want the translation done by someone who is a native in the respective target language. For technical documents that may not be quite as critical, but for promotional material there is no excuse. The text shouldn't only be gramatically correct, but it also needs to find the right tone for the audience. It's very rare for a person to be able to do this without having lived in a country for at least ten years.

From your options, the second sounds fine for french.
I'd be cautious about a language institute, but their success may depend on the nature of the site. If they have native speakers, then that could be a good option too. If they just have local language experts, then they could be restricted to a relatively academic type of language use, which may or may not serve your purposes.

Just always remember that you want someone who has the right "feel" for the language. You can't easily learn that from books, you need to have lived with it.

Sinner_G

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:54 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> Actually, I was thinking of getting the translated text in my email, and doing it myself for the HTML. Since the pages I am working upon will be static pages and I have done html pages earlier in these languages, I never faced problem. Or I am overlooking something here?

Guess what heini was pointing at is that web content differs a lot from normal texts, like for the web you have to write shorter, more structured texts.

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 9:59 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just like Heini, don't get me started on this...

Many professional translation companies, including ones that charge very high prices, couldn't translate their way out of a paper bag. They get by because people think they must be getting a good service when they see the size of the bill.

Even if they can do, very few will know how to write content or market something. Think of some of the rubbish that you've seen in your native language on the web recently. That's been put there by people who are theoretically web-literate but don't know how to put sentences and phrases together to achieve the effect they are after.

And even if it is correctly translated and sounds good, how good is the SEO going to be?

So how to get that? If you are going to be professional about it, you need someone with SEO references in that language, that speaks the language natively and preferably has marketing/journalism experience or training.

Cheap version (but not as good) look at a university or college for foreign or bilingual students on a marketing/advertising/journalism course. Then when you can afford it, give the effort to a local-language SEO.

web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 10:03 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Heini :
>> Trying to save on translations is risky.

I agree and don't want to do this with the quality of translation.

I guess hiring a local SEO would be very costly or is this not the case?

Also what are the typical industry standard rates for the qualifications you have recommended?

Sinner_G :
if the wife has not left France 20 years ago of course

>> No Sinner_G, she doesn't look that old ;)

web_india

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 10:16 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Stever :
Many professional translation companies, including ones that charge very high prices, couldn't translate their way out of a paper bag. They get by because people think they must be getting a good service when they see the size of the bill.

Makes me wonder how these companies which get the translations done from them do business then or the businesses just rely on the fact that the translations won't be good enough and are ok with it as far as it gets their point across.

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 10:29 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, customers usually only see the crappy technical manuals of foreign products after they bought them, so you could argue that the style of writing doesn't really matter there.

But if you want to attract new customers through a web site, you better make sure that the tone of the language used exactly hits the spot.

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 10:49 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Web_india,
sorry, but we can't possibly go into discussing rates here.

For an overview I suggest you go to looking at appropriate ODP cats and simply contact companies for a quote.
You might also consider posting a request in our Commercial Exchange forum.

Eric_Jarvis

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 11:07 am on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

web_india...we are currently at 14 languages...the way we work is as follows

use a translation agency to commission an initial translation by a native speaker...this is done as a colour coded word document so that I can web set the translation even without speaking the language

once the translation is complete we have it checked by another native speaker of the language, often on a voluntary basis since we are a charity...sometimes we use University language departments to do this, but normally we use our own people

I then web set the translation using the colour coding to tell me what goes where

the only problem we've had so far is that I need to find a referee because with Swahili we have almost a complete new translation after checking...and we have yet to find anyone who can do us Hindi and Bengali in a Unicode compatible font

it is essential to have the translation checked even when the original is good...it is far too easy for a translator to slightly miss the point, and it's also tough to spot typos in a language one doesn't speak

it costs us around 250 UK pounds for a Latin/Scandanavian language...rising to 350 for Cyrillic or Asian languages and the less used languages...that's for a 10 page site

feel free to contact me off the board...send me a sticky and we could take it to email if you want to know any more

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 1:32 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Makes me wonder how these companies which get the translations done from them do business then or the businesses just rely on the fact that the translations won't be good enough and are ok with it as far as it gets their point across.

web_india, it's the same story all over the web - doesn't matter if it's web design, SEO, translation, content, or whatever.

Many people who are buying (OK, maybe not on a corporate scale) have little idea of what they are buying, what the possibilities are, and what their needs are. The safe way to work is to go for a plausible expensive "professional". In most cases the customer themself doesn't know the difference between poor, adequate or good execution of the brief (which is why Eric_Jarvis's idea of auditing is important).

How many times do you see a website which has cost a customer a fortune, takes ages to load, doesn't validate, isn't accessible, and is buried in the nether regions of the search results - yet the customer is happy because it looks cool with the java applet...

To return to your original point, I live in a foreign country and speak the language pretty well. I'm trained in sales and journalism and know my way around SEO to some degree - yet I would never trust myself to do more than the basic initial translation in that foreign language.

Why? Because I'm not aware of subtle idiom, of keywords that turn people on or off an idea and of exactly how people would use words to search for a particular need. Nor are 99% of the local language translation agencies who are busy (and profitable) charging for translations into my mother tongue.

rencke

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 2:16 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

We have 19 150-page sites online right now. Here's how we did it:

- One domain name per language. Local domain if you can, otherwise dot-coms with keyword in local language.
- Select natives living in country (to make sure they know current idioms)
- Upload a full set of pages in English to the server(s).
- Give translators passwords and ask them to download pages, translate and upload.
- They MUST have working knowledge of HTML in order to translate titles, description and ALT-texts
- They MUST have sufficient knowledge to create and submit entries to ODP and local directories (and Yahoo if desirable).
- If the topic is in a competitive area, you will need to have local SEO people look it over - unless, of course, you use SEO-savvy people from the beginning. A lot of the people who have posted in the specific country discussions of European Fourm of WebmasterWorld will gladly accept to translate for you at very competitive prices. We used WebmasterWorld members exclusively, and got top quality jobs done.

An important consideration: If the pages contain brand names or names of places or other non-language specific keywords, you should consider linking each page to each of the corresponding pages in the other languages. The reason being that people might easily find a page through a search engine in a language other then their preferred language, and cross-linking will make it easier for them to find their own or their preferred language.

Rumbas

WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 561 posted 11:01 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great info rencke. Thanks.

Looking at a sample of some domains we manage, i'd say professionel translation is a determening factor of not only the conversions, but also the traffic. The volume is higher because it is what people type in. It's in the language.

A good translation needs to bring over the meaning of the original phrase into the translated copy. That's SEO translations.

Combined with local knowledge about local popular search sites, it's a poverfull force.
It is different than US seo, and you may have to deal with support issues in many languages.

Some companies have localized sites for many more languages than they can serve, but asking the user to use english on the order form is no offense. Most just happy that they might get a response from you :)

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