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Content in other languages

Roll your own or rely on web translation services?

10:16 pm on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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A few of my sites have general interest in a number of different countries. For the longest time I didn't do anything special (produced in English/US) and let the folks use on line translation. Over time found that didn't work quite as well as hoped. Moved to detect language and provide translated content by speakers bilingual in both the origin language and target language. Better results but not stellar. Turns out there's something else that has to be included in that bilingual process: age and experience and knowledge of idiom/slang in BOTH languages. Several "important" pages were redone with more experienced translators (speaking of those aged 50 or older) and the results changed dramatically.

Step one costs nothing... providing you allow on-line translation services. See: [webmasterworld.com...] or [webmasterworld.com...] for various reasons why you might not wish to allow that.

Step two costs marginal... usually transfer students who are hungry for "beer money" and provide much the same type of output. Or the current flood of "translation service" sweathouse style locator sites with marginal results for marginal bucks.

Step three can cost significant... but not always. Professorial types tend to ask more. In the last three years I've found that retiring military (or near retirement) bring a grand level of ability for pieces at or under 1,000 words. Without charging an arm and/or a leg. They do a good job, charge a reasonable rate (after all, it's just another mission, said with NO DISRESPECT---I am ex-military myself) and the work is generally top-notch communication.

What are your strategies for disseminating content (your content) in other languages?

Bear in mind assumption one is it's your content and you wish it to appear in different languages. The copyright part becomes more complicated in the more countries it appears and is thus a topic for a different thread.
5:18 pm on Jan 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I'm trying to figure this out myself.

I am guessing that for those college age kids who are interested in beer money, primarily they are going to use the free online translation services you mentioned as their starting point and clean it up from there.

Yes, I could imagine that retired people would be a good choice. However, it also depends on your market. I don't know if having a 65 year old retired anybody translating content for those 18 year olds is the best option. My feeling is that they might be out of touch with the language used by today's youth.

One other translation thing (particular to ex-military) is that, in general, those who learned a language through a military / diplomatic background are (in general) going to be much more formal in their language.

Example: I learned an Asian Language using books and tapes which were sold through the US State Department (they were the same used by diplomats heading overseas, and made available for the general public). They were produced in the Sixties. One of the "Familiar Phrases" in the first chapter or two was, "Do you know Dean Rusk?"* Despite being a "familiar phrase," when I lived overseas in the 90's, I never found an opportunity to whip out that phrase. Oh well...

When I finally moved to that country, it was an eye-opening experience. Yes, I was semi "fluent" in the language, but the informal way people spoke was miles away from the more formal language that I had been learning.

Finally, one day someone said to me, "You speak really nicely, but you speak really weird." That's when I put away my text books and tapes and just learned from immersion.

So I think that having people who actually lived in country for long periods of time would be the best option. They are, of course, hard to find and are probably not going to be cheap.

*Dean Rusk was former Secretary of State under the Kennedy Administration.