Translation: Translation Plugins (automatic) Vs Human Translation

More and more frequently, in this shrinking, digital, world, we find we are asked to consider more than just one language when new web development projects come through.

We recently completed a website which is available in two languages – for a Germany based translation firm, interestingly enough.

This work led us to consider the benefits and drawbacks of the different methods of translating websites.

We have some excellent plugins which allow for both machine, and human, translation, and a good deal of experience with both.

When we have talked to other development and design firms, they often swear by automatic translation tools on low budget projects – but are these really useful? We question the usefulness of auto translation tools.

Over the years, we’ve developed a lot. In 2006, we used an automatic translation tool on an early popular interest website we made. At the time, I was sharing a flat with a Korean, in the Pyrmont region of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. I asked my housemate to have a look over the Koren version of the website. She could not stop laughing. “Is it Wrong?!” I asked, hastily about to delete the plugin I had just spent hours setting up.

“not wrong” she said, “it kind of makes sense – I know what it means – but the words are all in the wrong order!”

So automatic translation might get the words translated, but it tends not to be sophisticated enough – yet – to grasp grammar. French, the other language I speak best, is not much better when translated using automatic tools, like Babelfish or Google Translate.

The more technical your language becomes, the less effective the automatic tools become, too. They are fine for small things, like menu headings, but no good at all for specific detail, like technical manuals.

The simple answer is, if your project is complex, mission critical, or specific, then you’ll need to get it translated. Ideally by someone who is a native speaker in the target language. In my opinion.

However, if you want to get machine translation, on a WordPress blog, I recommend the following Plugins:

If you would like a Technical Translator to convert your text, then the business we built the website for (Nepotism Alert!), Heppe-Smith Technical Translations is a good starting place.

Do you use automatic – or human – translation? Leave a (public) comment below and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of your chosen system!

If you would like to create a website in more than one language, and want someone to do it for you, you’ll probably be interested in our Enterprise Level service. Feel free to contact us any time for a no obligation quote, and discussion of your needs.

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