Is Translating your content the traditional way not working? Here is a solution.

Here is part 1 of a 5 part series about Community Translation repurposed courtesy of our partner Lingotek,

Part 1 – The Problem

Translating your content the traditional way simply isn’t feasible
Many companies are interested in translating their content but don’t do it. Is it because translation projects aren’t important? Rarely. Instead, translation projects are simply daunting and unrealistic in terms of the amount of time, money, and resources they take. There may be bursts of translating sections of content, but creating an ongoing, easy, cost-effective method of translating has traditionally been out of reach.

An example of how traditional methods of translating online content are broken
Let’s use the example of a company that provides a constant stream of content in an online format. This might be free content like a blog, a forum, or a knowledge database. It might be paid content such as research reports, an online course, or paid support. In situations like this where new content is being generated on a daily basis, the translation process quickly comes to a screeching halt. The company contacts a Language Service Provider (LSP), a.k.a. the translator, and the follow conversation takes place.

Company: I need to translate the content on my site.

LSP: Ok, can you send me a word count?

Company: Hmm, how could I find that out? All the content is on my website. Plus we’re generating pages and pages of new content every day.

LSP: Well could you copy the content from your site into a word document and send me that?

Company: Not really. It would take me forever to copy it all into a word document. Plus, the pages on my site are constantly being updated with comments and community-contributed content.

LSP: Well I would need you to copy it into a Word document for me to translate. It’s just the standard way for me to work. I could see the word count using the Word document as well.

Company: I just don’t see how I can efficiently copy all my web content to a Word document on an ongoing basis. I guess I’ll just forget about it.

You can see how there are two completely different frameworks at play here. The traditional LSP is used to projects that are static; a set of documents, a website that is static and doesn’t change often, etc. LSPs simply don’t have the tools to translate content from an evolving environment, such as a social-media site, in an effective and efficient manner.

There’s one more problem with the traditional model. It’s too time-consuming and costly to have a single LSP translate your content. There’s no way to keep up with the constant flow of content a social website generates. In addition, not all the content is worth translating, but it’s hard to identify which pieces of content are worth it.

A translation model is needed that is as fluid as today’s socially-driven websites
With today’s fluid social environments, a new translation model is needed that makes it as easy and seamless to translate content as it is for community members to contribute content. In fact, the perfect translation solution would actually engage the crowd to translate much of the content themselves.

The good news is, technologies now exist that can change the broken traditional translation model. These technologies allow you to translate content directly from your website in real-time. Even better, they allow you to leverage the power of the crowd to translate content for you while maintaining a high degree of quality, consistency and accuracy. This 5-part series will explore these technologies and how they can make fast, fluid, cost-effective online translations a reality.