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Developing and sustaining multi-lingual websites

How to develop and maintain a multi-lingual website:

Multi-lingual websites

Recent advances in Content Management Systems (CMS) technology mean that it is now easier than ever to build and maintain a multi-lingual website. This allows multi-national companies (such as QuickSilver) to have a single, centralised web presence which individual customers can easily adjust to their own requirements (typically by clicking on a little flag, like those you see at the top of this very webpage).

Essential to achieving this is the involvement of a linguistic expert who is experienced in working with CMS. Optimised localisation of a website requires the same blend of expertise and cutting-edge technology as any other translation, but in addition it demands someone who knows the ins and outs of different Content Management Systems.

If a company wants their website to be in three or more languages, then it is highly advisable to go to an language service provider which works with project managers who are experienced in this field.

There are a number of challenges which one only learns to master through experience and extensive training. Let’s look at one example among many:

Internal links. It is quite common for a multinational company to have its website in a number of languages, not all of which use the Roman script. Suppose the English original had a click-through internal link on the phrase our best-selling product. How would you integrate that link in the Chinese version?

Equally, it is important to use the most optimised approach to exporting text from a CMS into a TM. If you are unpracticed in this fiddly art it can have a significant impact on the ‘speed’ aspect of the impossible triangle: yet another reason to go to an LSP which specialises in website localisation.

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