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Summary of Content
Recently, I was trying to produce some alternative versions of a holiday accommodation website, the obvious variation was producing the pages in different languages. I tried to do it bit by bit, but found the grammar too difficult and not to mention time consuming! Looking around the web I found a stack of sites and 'utilities' prepared to attempt the job for me.
All the 'real time' translators obviously require a link to the translating site. However they are pretty quick and don't put you off using them in a real time scenario. The bad news is that you don't know what the page is actually 'saying'. You would be taking a chance if you thought it was a faithful reproduction of your original page. Whilst the accuracy of the translation process is constantly improving, like current speech recognition technology, it is by no means foolproof. Individual word and extremely basic sentences are not a problem, it's when you attempt to maintain the context of a longer sentence or paragraph that things become tricky. There are also 'everyday' expressions that will just not translate to other languages.
The alternative is to take the results of a translator and create your own static ready translated page. Whilst this takes considerably more time initially, you can fine tune the results. Also it will give you more pages that would (hopefully) be trawled by search engines and provided you have modified your 'Content-Language' meta tag they may be categorized by some engines (e.g. Google) by the language and may open a new 'market place' for your site.
I would strongly suggest that if you are providing your own (ready translated) pages that you translate them in to the target language and then take the results and translate them back to the original. This will highlight the obvious grammatical errors which can be quite hideous when a sentence / phrase cannot be accurately translated. If this is the case try simplifying the sentence and trying it again until it retains its meaning in the target language. Take the finished result and try it on another translator to see what happens. You could go on indefinitely but unless you go to a professional translating bureau you are unlikely to get it 100%. This may not be a problem for some sites but like bad spelling, a page that doesn't scan properly can do more harm than good if you expect your site to be taken seriously. The best tip is to get someone who actually speaks the language to review your pages. If they start to laugh then its back to the drawing board!
Below are some links to translator sites I have tried and managed to get fair results.
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  • All Sites have been found by me whilst browsing the web, they are not generating revenue (for me).
  • The Links displayed do not necessarily show the full URL, but should point to the correct Sites & should be fully operational.
  • Please let me know about broken links, better alternatives or other similar / useful sites.
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Last Update: 04/08/2008 - Translators / Dictionaries - Languages - General - Neils Resource Web

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