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The Internet is a space without borders. In contrast to a high street location, the products in an online shop can easily be offered across the globe. In order to personally address people in different countries, however, it is advisable to use their respective national language. Even though the majority of the world’s population understands and speaks English, most people are happiest if they can communicate in their mother tongue. By using a language familiar to them, you can pick up the customers and visitors to your website or webshop in the comfort of their own language. A native translator of a website usually knows the local market and the search behaviours of the target group in the country in question very well. Simply translating keywords does not necessarily lead to success if the target group searches for the topic using other, more colloquial terms.

What knowledge should a good translator have?

To translate your website or offer your online shop in an additional language, native speakers speakers are the best choice. It’s also helpful if the translator is familiar with the specific industry and related topics. The translations should be consistent, inexpensive and fast, because all visitors should have the same experience when considering your products or services. Translating content is also a matter of trust, especially if you don’t speak the target language yourself or speak only a little. In particular when it comes to languages with their own script,such as Chinese characters or Cyrillic characters, you have to be absolutely sure that the translated content is correct.

If content translations are frequently required, it is easier to manage the processes online – translators receive the source content by e-mail or via a platform, then deliver them back the same way. But remember that a translator is only as good as your briefing, so always make sure you have given them all the information or documentation that they will need at the very start of the process. To ensure the best possible result, and in case the translator has any questions, assign them a permanent contact person in your company.

How well does AI for content translation work?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly progressing, leading to professional copywriters becoming concerned about losing jobs to text robots. Indeed, translation software is capable of producing simply structured content translations if they have recurring elements. These include, for example, weather reports, stock market news or sports results. Text robots are far ahead of their flesh and blood counterparts in the rapid evaluation of gigantic amounts of data, but when it comes to creating a compelling and emphatic text, the current algorithms lack finesse or creativity.

For content translation into foreign languages, there are already several providers on the Internet. The Google translator or the Bing translator from Microsoft are well-known tools for translating texts on the fly, for free. In no time at all and with just a few clicks, you can use these programs to translate your content. Unfortunately, these translations often have errors.

To compete with these services, a German company from Cologne has set up the program DeepL (formerly Linguee), which translates using an artificial neural network. In contrast to its competitors, DeepL uses so-called convolutional networks to better recognise the context of terms and does not just stubbornly translate word for word. Nevertheless, even these results are not without flaws and do contain errors which will impact a reader’s experience. In addition, DeepL offers a comparatively modest selection of nine languages compared to the other software which offers online content translations in over 100 (Google) or over 60 (Bing/Microsoft) languages. However, DeepL plans to add other languages shortly.

How much do text robots cost?

Translators are paid for entire sentences, so they must always keep an eye on a meaningful context. Less high-quality translation software transmits the text word for word, which can have a negative effect on readability. Whoever translates from English to German in whole sentences, for example, will therefore become more familiar with the context of the text, and be able to offer a more consistent and engaging result.

You can currently use translation software from Google, Microsoft and DeepL online, free of charge. In comparison, the iTranslate and Promt translator apps both charge for an offline mode. The text length for direct input on the homepage is limited to 5000 characters for Microsoft and Google as well as DeepL, although DeepL offers a paid Pro version that does not have this restriction.

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Limits of text robots and how they handle data protection

When it comes to the peculiarities of language, such as those expressed in metaphors, machine translators quickly reach their limits. The same applies to the influence of different cultures on language. Objective texts are easier to translate than technical or literary language. Nevertheless, you can copy text into the Google translator, have an entire website translated by entering a web address, or upload a document. Microsoft and DeepL offer a similar service for content translation.

Confidentiality in dealing with content translation, however, is limited with automated translation programs. Since providers want to improve the quality of their translations, they usually store all data for systematic evaluation. Only DeepL does not store the content and translations, and then only in its paid Pro service where it offers a high level of data protection in accordance with EU data protection standards. DeepL Pro also includes integration with translation software and API access.

Fast placement of qualified translators through a content translation platform

Anyone who knows a professional and reliable translation agency or regularly works well with a freelance translator is lucky. If the necessary capacities are always available, and if orders are fulfilled reliably at all times, the arrangement is perfect.

For everyone else, there is the Internet. Here, you will find numerous translation agencies with different levels of experience and areas of expertise. There are established providers who have been in business for decades, while other agencies have a shorter history but have been certified according to DIN ISO Norm 9001 or DIN ISO Norm 17100. . In this way, they guarantee their customers a minimum standard of quality when carrying out translation orders. Of course, there are also black sheep on the market who are only looking for a fast buck…

What do content translation rates depend on?

Some translation agencies offer a test translation so you can see what you will be buying. The individual prices usually vary according to the degree of difficulty of the content, but also according to the time pressure. Express translationsthat you need on the same or the next day are understandably more expensive. If at all possible, it is best to plan well in advance and place your orders with plenty of time. In this way, even a single translator can process larger jobs completely instead of submitting parts of them. With a single translator, the uniform style is better guaranteed than with a team of translators, although large teams are capable of consistency if the briefing is fully presented at project launch.

Common languages usually have a price advantage over particularly rare languages. Translations from English to German and texts of average difficulty are cheaper than translations from Russian to Mandarin, for example, and the same applies to the topics. A regularly covered standard IT theme is handled more cheaply by translators than a medical text on a rare and newly-discovered disease.

Further criteria for content translation costs

Clients who have a text translated are primarily interested in the costs involved. Frequently, they ask the hourly rate for content translations. Although billing can be based on time, it is more common for clients to be charged a fixed price per word or per line. When translating literary works, the translation is usually invoiced per page. Of course, it is also possible to agree on a fixed price in advance. If the client regularly places orders, the translation agency often agrees to this type of pricing structure as part of a volume arrangement. Further price differences also depend on how intensively the text is proofread or corrected, with a 4-eye-principle or even a 6-eye-principle usually available. If there is a request for a certified translation, this is also reflected in the price as an appropriately qualified translator is required. If the client also wishes the translator to design and format the text, this impacts the price further. This stringent type of translation work can be charged on an hourly basis.

What types of content do online platforms translate?

A wide range of content types must be translated if a company plans to expand its activities into another language area.

This can include the following:

  • Operating instructions, instructions for use or package inserts
  • Websites, online shops, apps, banners or e-mails
  • Brochures, flyers, presentations, slogans or whitepapers
  • Contracts, expert opinions, data protection declarations or T&Cs
  • Press releases, annual reports or business letters
  • Certificates, speeches or contributions to discussions
  • Professional articles, job references, application letters or CVs
  • Reference books, novels, e-books, online magazines or periodicals
  • Menus and user interfaces for computer programs or online help

A particularly critical example of a translation is the technically and legally correct filing of a patent application. The translator should not only have a perfect command of the target language, but should also have legal knowledge as well as the relevant industry knowledge. Otherwise, the application may not be guaranteed. Additionally, translating a wiki can be very useful in an international company. In this way, employees can read and understand important term definitions in their native language, but you must be sure that the translations are technically correct.

Today, many authors publish their books as e-booksas well as hard copies, sometimes even self-publishing and bypassing a traditional publisher altogether. For those with a successful novel or non-fiction publication, an international market is the next step to finding a wider readership. To have any e-book or publication translated, you should leave it to professional translators and check the finished translation carefully. However, the latter is difficult if you don’t speak the language yourself or don’t speak it well enough to assess the work. This is why it is important to know that your translation service provider is reliable and trustworthy.

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Which languages are commonly required for content translations?

French is one of the official languages in 29 countries around the world, which makes it second only to English as the most commonly required language for translation. Next is Arabic, followed by Spanish, the latter of which is spoken in 20 countries as an official language. In the UK, Welsh, Polish, Urdu, and Bengali are the most widely spoken languages after English.

Companies need online translations in various languages, such as French to English particularly frequently in order to be internationally successful. In the UK markets, the most in-demand translations include Spanish to English, Mandarin to English, French to English, Arabic to English, as well as German to English.

There is a lot of trade with Central and East European countries, and the local population is often interested in products from the wider European community. Therefore, translations from Polish to English, for example, are just as much in demand as a translation from Mandarin to English, German to English, and French to English. Neighbouring countries often offer interesting target groups for online retailers. For example, France and Belgium are a frequent focus for UK companies. Even though most French and Belgian people understand and speak English, they will have a better user experience if they are addressed individually in their native language. As a result, they are likely to need translations from English to French and vice versa.

popular languages for translations

Which other languages are also frequently translated?

Every company has different texts that have to be translated into other languages, depending on the demographic of the target market. That can be both in the base country of the company, or those countries that also host a target market. For example, content translations into Italian are carried out to win new customers in Italy, Switzerland and San Marino, and even the Vatican City. In numbers, Italian is only spoken by 2.4 per cent of people in the UK, whereas a whopping 23 per cent of the UK population can speak or understand French so it’s safe to say that French should be considered for multilingual website translations.

Content translations from Polish to English and Punjabi to English are especially helpful if a company wants to get to know this market better or is hoping to attract the attention of an expat community. The same applies to translations from Arabic to Englishas it’s still a crucial language for political, strategic, and economic reasons in the UK.

Translations from Portuguese to English are sometimes requested as well. Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal, but it’s also the official language in Brazil, Angola and Mozambique. Portuguese is the 10th most commonly spoken language in the UK.

Additionally, depending on the target market, a client may also need content translations into Latin. As is well known, this is not a “living” language, but in many areas it is still the language of science, research and the Catholic Church. Latin is the official language of the Vatican State, so it is not surprising that Radio Vatican even transmits news broadcasts in Latin.

Challenges posed by variants of the individual languages

The allocation of languages to countries is not always as simple as a singular translation. English, for example, is spoken by the population both in Great Britain and in the USA, as well as Canada and Australia. By and large it is the same language, but there are numerous pitfalls in the details. Sometimes there are different terms or spellings for the same subject or the same activity in each country.

language variants US/UK

In spoken language, the difference is hardly noticeable. Those in the USA who ask to pay in a restaurant use the term “check”, whereas the British request a “bill”. If a translator does not master these subtle differences, the English-language texts will not resonate appropriately with the readers in the respective country, or might even negatively impact readability if the word has an alternative meaning colloquially.

There are also linguistic differences in the Portuguese language, depending on whether it is spoken in Portugal or Brazil. Another example is the Spanish language, which in South American usage differs significantly from the Spanish and Caribbean versions. Therefore, make sure that your translator is a native speaker from the country in question, or that they have at least studied the differences intensively in either their education or through professional experience.

Why do I need a certified translation?

When it comes to translating important documents intended for a government agency, you need to select the translator with special care. The authorities require that private individuals or companies present the translation as officially certified, since only sworn translators can confirm and certify that the translation was complete and correct.

certified translations

These specially qualified translators are called sworn translators, certified translators or authorised translators. They may carry out certified translations of documents which are recognised by the authorities, but the specific designation (sworn, certified or authorised) and the requirements to be fulfilled for their destination depends on the federal state and competent court in question.

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What exactly does translation memory mean?

Many translation agencies work with translation memory systems, a program that creates an electronic translation archive. In this translation memory, words and phrases are stored in a structured manner in the source and target languages. The software thus supports the long-term, consistent use of terms and phrases. This means that the same expressions that match the corporate identity are automatically taken into account for follow-up orders. The translation memory cannot be used for the translation of a novel, but it can be used for recurring and similar jobs for specific industries. If, for example, you want to have your homepage translated and there will be follow-up orders in the future as regular relaunches are important in order to provide search engines with new fuel. It is, therefore, worthwhile to use good translation memory software when translating a homepage. Any subsequent translations are therefore more accurate and the website appears more uniform and professional. And, of course, SEO is regionally targeted.

Targeting content in different countries with hreflang tags

If a website offers content in different languages, it is important to explain this to the search engines correctly. In order not to be punished for alleged duplicate content from Google & Co., website operators have been adding hreflang tags to the header area since 2011. By correctly applying the hreflang language attribute in HTML code, you control the alignment of your pages to different countries or languages. As a result, the website will be better found in Google’s country-specific indexes. Depending on the location of the user, they will see the corresponding content in the respective national language. Thus, the hreflang tag allows for a better user experience as well as a successful search engine optimisation.

Does copyright law also apply to content translation?

Whether copyright applies to content translations depends on the type of text being translated. In the case of very factual and technical texts, such as operating instructions or product descriptions, the so-called level of creation in the translation is not particularly high. Therefore, the text is usually not considered a personal intellectual creation under the law on copyright and related rights, also known as the Copyright Act. However, the situation is different for works of literature. They are not just about translating the text correctly and in the right context. Instead, the translator must also creatively translate style, tone of voice and related wit into the new language. It is not for nothing that the success of a book from abroad often depends on the quality of the translation into the national language.

How does Textbroker help you with translations online?

Whether it’s a multilingual product description or an international campaign, you can use Textbroker to have your translations done professionally and at a reasonable price. Textbroker offers a worldwide translation service for all languages on its online platform. Textbroker relies on the proven combination of state-of-the-art AI and certified language professionals who proofread and fine-tune your texts. You receive your translations quickly, easily and scalably via the user-friendly Textbroker platform. With just a few clicks, you can order professional content in your customers’ native language.

Alternatively, you can have your texts created in over 36 languages. Textbroker offers an all-inclusive, hassle-free package with complete support for your translation project as part of its Managed Service.

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