- Is it Recommended to Use WordPress for Bilingual Sites?
- How to Manage my Spanish Website in WordPress?
- Should I Use Google Translate to Build my Spanish Website?
- Is Google Translate Accurate for Spanish-Language Websites?
- I Want to Translate my Website from English to Spanish: How Do I Start?
Is it Recommended to Use WordPress for Bilingual Sites?
At one time, it was considered enough of an accomplishment to have a website for your business. Today, you need to expand in order to be competitive. To reach a global market and conduct business on an international scale, you need a bilingual website.
Creating a bilingual website allows you to expand the reach of your business both domestically and abroad. While a majority of websites operating online today are written in English, less than one-quarter of online users actually speak English as their native language.
Bilingual websites can be particularly beneficial if you operate in a country in which citizens tend to speak more than one language. For instance, an estimated 41 million people speak Spanish in the United States. Creating a bilingual website in both English and Spanish would, therefore, allow you to significantly increase your reach. Furthermore, since many non-English speakers are often underserved when it comes to bilingual websites, they tend to be more receptive when they do find a website with bilingual content.
One option for creating a bilingual website is to use a multilingual WordPress website. With this option, you have the ability to deliver the same content in multiple languages. Additionally, WordPress offers the option to redirect users automatically to a language-based upon the user’s region. Or, users can take advantage of the ability to choose the language they prefer.
WordPress offers numerous plugins, one of which is especially beneficial when it comes to providing bilingual content. WPML, the WordPress Multilingual Plugin, has become quite popular for creating multilingual websites on WordPress. With this plugin, you can add multiple languages to your site. This negates the need to establish numerous subdomains within your website to provide the same content in multiple languages.
The WPM plugin allows you to translate practically everything on your website directly from the WordPress dashboard. For instance, you can translate not only your posts but also custom fields, tags, categories, and more.
Additionally, this plugin works seamlessly with most other WordPress plugins and themes currently available. Another benefit is that the WPML plugin is also SEO friendly. There are also several other WPML addons you can use, such as translation management. WPML Translation Management allows you to add translators with an assigned translation role and translation work for your website. You can even use different services.
WPML String Translation allows you to translate more than just static text. With this add-on, you can also translate text that is user-generated. The WPML Media Translation add-on makes it possible to translate the media gallery on your WordPress site in multiple languages. You can even exercise control over which images you prefer to display for which language.
E-commerce websites can benefit from the WooCommerce Multilingual add-on, which helps you to translate commerce content, such as products and more. You can also take advantage of BuddyPress Multilingual, which makes it possible to establish social network sites in different languages.
How to Manage my Spanish Website in WordPress?
When it comes to managing your Spanish website in WordPress, you have more than one option. Among those options is to simply manage the site as a standalone site in Spanish. For instance, you can change the language of your site using the Interface Language. This option will change the language that is used throughout your site. It is account specific. Currently, WordPress offers several interface languages, including Spanish.
You could also manage your site as part of a multilingual network. With a multilingual site, you also have several options from which to choose. One option would be to create a single site and then have a page or a post contain the exact same content in English as well as Spanish. Using this option, you would create a page and then write the first part of the post in English. At the bottom of the post, you would then write the exact same content in Spanish. To make things convenient for your Spanish-speaking audience, you could create a page jump at the beginning of the post to make it easier for Spanish-speaking audiences to jump ahead to the Spanish post.
Another option would be to create a single site but to create two posts. One post would be in English and the other would be in Spanish. To get started, first, write one post in English and then the second post in Spanish. You can then link to the Spanish language post to direct readers to their preferred language. You might also choose to utilize a custom menu.
A third option is to create two entirely different websites. One site would be for English and the other would be for Spanish. This would necessitate a different domain for both sites or the use of a subdomain. Custom menus could also be used for cross-linking the two different sites. Once you have everything set up, your followers will then have the option of subscribing to one site or even to both language sites, if they prefer.
In all of the available options listed above, you would need to be able to translate your content from English to Spanish. If you are not fully bilingual, you would need to utilize the help of a translation service of some type. There are pros and cons of automated translation tools, which you should definitely consider prior to making the decision to use one of the free tools currently available online, such as Google Translate.
Should I use Google Translate to Build my Spanish Website?
Google Translate has gained a tremendous amount of notoriety as being a quick and easy way to translate practically anything. While it is true that Google Translate is fast and easy, there are trade-offs to that convenience.
If you are truly serious about targeting the Spanish-language audience, your best option is a professional translation service. Google Translate can be quite handy if you are on vacation and need translation help pronto. With that said; however, it’s simply not a good idea in a business application, when accuracy is critical.
Google Translate tends to make mistakes. This is particularly true in terms of structure, grammar, and context. Additionally, there is absolutely no quality control. No one is reviewing the end result to ensure there are no mistakes. The quality of content translated using Google Translate also varies.
To understand why there are such problems with Google Translate, you need to understand how it actually works. Google Translate is an automated machine translation service that works by learning from documents that have been previously translated online. Recently, this tool has improved somewhat, but the accuracy of content translated using this tool is still dependent on the source information utilized.
By comparison, professional translation offers a number of benefits that an automated translation tool like Google Translate cannot provide. When working with a professional translation service, you can be assured that everything will be interpreted and translated correctly. While a machine may be capable of translating basic language; a machine can never do everything that a human can. In this case, it’s too easy for intent to get lost in translation with a machine. Such things as metaphors, idioms, context, and even slight language nuances are often lost when left to automated translation tools.
Quality control is also assured when you work with professional translation services. This is because there are strict protocols in place to ensure quality and accurate content, including proofreading.
There is also a concern regarding security. While it would certainly be hoped that you would never have to worry about security when using an automated translation tool, it is nevertheless something that needs to be considered. This is not a concern with a professional translation service, particularly a provider with accreditations to indicate their commitment to quality and security.
You never receive a second chance to make a first impression. The last thing that you want to know when connecting with new prospects online is to make a bad impression with a poorly translated website. Such an unprofessional website is likely to have the exact opposite goal you intended. While Google Translate might seem convenient and even cost-effective, using it for your business website could actually end up costing you prospects in the end. The translators employed by a professional translation service have committee years to developing a keen understanding of subtle language nuances.
Read also: Say Goodbye to Google Translate for Websites
Is Google Translate Accurate for Spanish-Language Websites?
While Google Translate has improved over the years, it still does not possess enough accuracy to be relied upon consistently for business. This is because Google Translate often misses many contextual messages.
The reason that Google Translate often misses the mark with Spanish is that it is based on statistics. Google Translate will attempt to choose what it deems to be the best translation for text. That determination is based on the way that other phrases and words have been previously translated in the source document. Ultimately, this means that a machine translator like Google Translate is actually selecting the most likely translation. That does not necessarily mean it is the correct translation. In the Spanish language, a single word could have numerous different meanings. The difference is based on context. This is something that an experienced human translator with expertise in translating from English to Spanish would be able to catch, but not so with a machine.
Even in the event that the machine makes the right choice, the resulting translation is often lifeless. This is because there is simply no substitute for a human translator, who is capable of producing rich, lifelike text that accurately represents the tone of the source text.
Google Translate also often experiences difficulty with the complex grammar of the Spanish language. All languages, including Spanish, are built on complex rules. That does not mean; however, that every language features the same rules. The Spanish language structure features grammar rules that simply are not found in the English language. While adjectives are placed before the nouns they modify in English, they are placed after the nouns they modify in Spanish. Rather than using an apostrophe in Spanish to denote possession as in English, the Spanish language uses different structures, such as the use of the word “de.”
Translations from English to Spanish become even more complex in the past tense when the preterite and imperfect tenses become involved. English does not make a distinction between those tenses. Due to this, it’s quite common for Google Translate to demonstrate problems when translating in the past tense. For instance, machine-translated versions will often translate preterite tense as imperfect, etc. What difference does it make? Quite a bit of difference, as a matter of fact. The wrong translation could make a one-time event seem like a habitual action and vice versa.
Finally, a machine is not able to make necessary judgment calls and write for a target audience. Google Translate will only translate the text you enter on a word for word basis. This might result in the correct translation for the intended audience and it might not. When you work with a professional translation service, your translator will become acquainted with your business and understand your target audience. As a result, if there is a question regarding the correct way to translate text, your translator will take this understanding into consideration when crafting translated content for your target audience.
I want to Translate my Website from English to Spanish: How Do I Start?
Once you have determined that the Spanish-language audience is a market segment you wish to target, you will then need to contact a specialized digital marketing agency with expertise in the U.S. Hispanic market. Taking the time to find a reputable translation service is certainly well worth the effort.
For instance, it’s imperative that you identify a translation service offering 24/7 service and is completely dedicated to helping your brand connect with your chosen market audience. This can be particularly important if you need content translated in an emergency situation. Given the fact that there can be a significant time difference between cities around the world, around-the-clock service is critical. Without around-the-clock service, you might experience a lengthy delay if you are in one time zone and your translation service is several hours behind you. In fact, this could result in a delay of a day or more. Choosing to work with a translation firm offering 24/7 service ensures timely attention to detail.
You also need to look for a service that offers effective communication. The translation service you choose should be able to provide you with multiple modes of communication as an option for ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Of course, the service you choose should also be able to provide highly accurate content. The service should hold their translators to the highest of standards. Consequently, the service will understand your specific needs, resulting in a high degree of accuracy for each piece of content.
Offering your product or service in more than one language may be the differentiator your company needs to distinguish itself in a crowded market.
The firm you select should also provide an assurance regarding the security of any content you submit for translation. If you are concerned about the fact that using Google Translate to translate your content could cause a breach of confidential documents, the last thing you want to do is to experience a similar problem with a paid translation service. Taking the time to ensure that the firm you choose offers reassurance regarding the confidentiality of your content is certainly worth it. You might even consider asking whether the service provides the option of a non-disclosure agreement, particularly if you wish to have highly confidential content translated.
Translation should also be the main component of the service’s business. Working with a business services firm or even a staffing agency that provides numerous services will often result in a reduced quality of work. It’s not uncommon for firms that handle translation as only a small part of their overall scope of work to simply outsource their translation jobs to third parties. Not only does this limit accountability but it also likely increases the cost of the project.