Tips for Translating Websites

Web page translation takes translation and combines it with further technical challenges. Pages can be created in a variety of ways. They can be created in HTML format or using a content management system. In addition, they might not even be text-based, but rather image- or flash-based.

HTML, however, is the most common choice. In pages created using HTML, normal text is interwoven with encrypted text, known as ‘tags’. These ‘tags’ are used in the text to set style, font and paragraphs, as well as to create links attached to segments of text or images. These links can lead to other sections within the web site or to external sites. Images and other media are also linked in this fashion.

When dealing with texts such as these you must ensure that you maintain the same links and textual parameters. You must remember to keep in any ‘tags’, as well as to translate any text connected to them and to change the names of links and the routes of images. This ensures that the translation is as true to the original as possible.

Whilst this may initially seem overly complicated – it isn’t. Using Wordfast or another CAT tool, HTML documents can be translated and links can be transferred into the translation. Thus, only a part of the text is actually translated. You must make sure that you edit such a document in HTML format rather than Word format. When it detects the document’s file format, the program automatically asks you whether or not you want to open it in HTML.

Even so, links within the original document will still lead to sections of the web site in the language it was translated from. These addresses are copied during translation, therefore, they must be changed afterwards so that they lead to their corresponding section in the new language page. In order to do this, it is necessary to open the tags and change their address. 

This can also be done by opening the document in notepad and changing the address there.

A similar situation occurs when dealing with externally-linked image files that are not located on the website. It is usually no problem to simply copy the information from the original document, thus keeping the same images (provided that they are still at the same location). However, if you want to add other or different images into the translation which have different name or file route, you must do the same as with the links and change the information in the ‘tags’.

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