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We have native speaking (Japanese) people in our company. It is the only way you can obtain a good quality web site.
The alternative is a very funny (or unprofessional site).
A good, persuasive, natural-sounding translation is absolutely essential if the client is serious about finding customers online. I wouldn't recommend using automatic translation websites at all unless you want lose credibility of the client's website or are just having fun looking at the "masterpiece" which comes up.
Since we also provide search engine optimized translation as part of our services, we have native translators of various languages either in the office or as outsourcers. For more extensive global SEM campaign, however, we tend to collaborate with local SEM companies who are familiar with the local market of the client's products and services for obvious reasons. Good luck!
...repeat after me...I will never use a machine translation on my website... ;)
I always get translations done by a native speaker of the language, and then have the content copy-written by a native copywriter. Simple translation doesn't always suffice. A translator is not often a good copywriter either. You want your content to appeal to the local market, so you can't assume the the marketing-speak in your country will actually appeal to people in other countries when directly translated. Of course there are some elements that will carry over, but unless you're fluently bi-cultural, let a local professional help you.
I run a translation agency in Canada and have a very detailed report available on the latest machine translation development. If you or anyone else is interested, send me a sticky and I will email it to you. In general, machine translation is only good for gisting large quantities of information or used in a controlled language environment.
Bill, I am curious on how you go about finding a local content writer. Do you have a good web resource for that? Thanks in advance.
[edited by: bill at 2:09 am (utc) on Sep. 25, 2004]
[edit reason] TOS #13 [/edit]
For content it has to be human translation preferably by a quality writer who knows the subject. You can get by having a native speaker who knows the subject look over the copy and edit it before and after translation.
For SEO and promotion purposes it's easy enough to get by using automatic translation so long as your original site translation also included a set of keywords and several different sized (and prioritised) descriptions.
Well I own and run a search engine in New Zealand and we get searched around 60,000 times a day, around eleven percent of those searches are originating from China and it is very hard to develop a traslation software package to enable us to provide accurate results for Chinese or Asian people.
We are presently looking for auto detection software to determine what keyboard lanaguage is being used and then to use a template that holds the translation pre built in so that the parser can determine what the searcher is searching for.
I can foresee a huge increase in traffic from Asian and it is a market that needs filling.
As a business we are being asked to increase the depth of our index to include non Kiwi web sites, but we have a problem with translation because we have a childsafe policy and we can't at present detect Mandarine keywords but it is an ear we are looking into.
Hi Dave, we are in NZ as well. Yes, there is huge demand ex China, Korea etc. Just out of curiosity, why do you need the autodetect? Isn't it easier to just give the site user a selection of an English or a Chinese GUI?