As I stated in my last blog entry, L10n. Localization., L10n is a very important process when translating any document with graphics or websites. Vocalink has experience translating many different types of websites and I thought I would dive deeper into localization to make the process even easier. I spoke with Jairo Escudero, our localization engineer, and was able to come up with a list of do’s and don’ts when sending a website to be translated.

First, to review, L10n is defined by Bert Esselink in his book A Practical Guide to Localization as the process in which a product is made linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used and sold.  Now for the translation of a website, there is many ways to prepare the files before sending them to be translated. First, the rule of thumb for creating a website, is to separate content from form. Content is considered as all information or words on the website. The content is what will be translated and must be easily accessible for the translator.  Form is considered as the tags, codes, colors and pictures that will not be translated.

Another rule for the localization of website is to separate graphics and words. Graphs, pictures and charts in which there is writing are extremely difficult to translate and will take more time and money to translate. One reason it that it takes longer is because the source language on the graphs must be removed and replaced with the target language. Another reason as to why this takes longer is because many graphs, pictures or charts do not account for textual expansion. Without sufficient space for the target text, the graphs pictures or charts must be altered to accommodate the longer target text.

Third rule is to inform the localizers of the tag and codes in the website; that way they are aware of what must not be changed. These codes and tags are the ‘blueprints’ of the website and if they are changed the website will likely no longer work. The translation of the website may be done perfectly, however if these tags or codes are changed, the website will not be viewable to the costumers. A simple way to avoid this problem is to only send the text that needs to be translated. This idea ties back into the first rule of separating content and form. If content is the only available text to translate, then there is less chance that the form will be changed.

L10n is a very detailed process that can be done very easily or with much difficultly.  By following these simple rules, the localization will be easier, saving time and money!

Any questions? Use the comments box below or just give me a call!