by Cintia de Melo Dias Kanowitz
This is a guest post from one of ProZ.com's advertising partners, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me how difficult it was to find Portuguese language resources about localization that would help facilitate his job negotiation with a foreign company. The company claimed that when calculating his wages, they would have to take into account that localization is not an established field in Brazil.
When I did a Google search, I saw he was right: while there are plenty of English language resources about localization project management, there are none in Portuguese. Most of the people I know who work in localization in Brazil work for foreign companies. They can read in English. The knowledge available by search, therefore, is limited to this select group—but its knowledge should be shared and made accessible to many.
In response, I created a WordPress site called Localization Project Management and wrote a blog post detailing what readers need to know about a career in localization project management. The issue is how to make sure this information is available to Portuguese readers—and, if I wanted, to readers of other languages as well.
The simple, low-tech solutions are proxy translation and language translation plug-ins. It’s important to know the difference.
What Is a Translation Proxy?
You can think of a translation proxy as a “special layer” that sits above your website, providing automated text translation (although not the text found in images) to your visitors. When a visitor tries to view your website, the proxy detects their location and browser language settings and then provides pre-translated content.
What Are the Benefits of a Translation Proxy?
- It’s an easy way to go multilingual for companies that are just starting to think about localization and global expansion and/or that lack the budget for more complex processes;
- It’s fast to deploy and does not require significant changes to the website;
- The initial investment is relatively small compared to a full-blown multilingual content management system or translation management system;
- It works on legacy websites and eliminates the need for content management systems.
How Much Does a Translation Proxy Service Cost?
The cost of a translation proxy service depends on two factors: the licensing/subscription cost of the proxy service itself, and any charges applied by your translation partner. Many proxy providers, for example, charge a monthly fee for storing localized copies of your website text.
Translation proxy can be very helpful, but a blog writer might not have the budget to pay for a proxy subscription. That’s where free plug-ins come into play.
What Are Language Translator Plug-Ins?
A language translator plug-in isn’t really a proxy, although it has some proxy-like features and many of its concepts are the same or similar.
A plug-in is a cost-effective approach for improving website translations. It is easy to use and free. With a plug-in, you can
- Select the default language of the website and a translation language for bilingual sites;
- Choose whether the language switcher should display languages in their native names or in their English names;
- Force custom links to open in the current language;
- Enable or disable the URL subdirectory for the default language; and
- Enable automatic translation via Google Translate.
GTranslate and TranslatePress are two plug-ins I’m familiar with, and many more are available.
Putting Translation Proxy to Work
When I created my Localization Project Management blog on WordPress, I found that a translation proxy is the most user-friendly translation solution for noncoders who have important things to publish.
By using this type of feature, amateurs can be “translators” too, and ensure that their knowledge can be evenly shared across the globe, which boosts both accessibility and inclusion.
Using free trials, I tested translation proxy services like Weglot and Easyling. I found success with both, although I did experience a few challenges, including free trial expirations and my personal learning curve. However, since my goal was to try something different that also would allow me to apply this new knowledge to my work activities, I’d say I was successful.
This video details my process and explains how to choose and use a plug-in on WordPress.
My lesson learned from this experience is that you can adapt what you learn to fit your own needs. I now know how to use the basics of WordPress and how to create multilingual content in different ways. I encourage you to take my suggestions and apply them to your own needs!
Cintia de Melo Dias Kanowitz is a first-year student in the online Translation and Localization Management program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.