How to share content with your translation company for website translations

In this series of blog posts, I’ve been exploring website translations and how to manage what can be very complex projects. We’ve looked at developing a website localisation strategy, the best CMS to use, and how to prepare your website content for translation. Now, having got the content together, ‘globalised’ and ready for translation, how can you share it with your translation service provider?

There are three key ways to share website content with your translation partner:

  1. File transfer
  2. Translation proxy
  3. CMS integration

Deciding on the best approach will depend on various factors and your own requirements. As a first step it is best to discuss this with your translation partner and get their recommendations. They will have extensive experience of project managing website translations with varying levels of complexity and scale, and will be able to recommend the best options.

These are the main options:

1. Transferring content for translation with file transfer

This is a manual process that involves exporting your content as a XML, CVS or HTML file and sending it to your translation team, via email or cloud sharing. They will then translate and localise the content and return it to you in the same format to be imported into the local website.

Most CMS (content management systems) have import / export functionality, but occasionally they don’t. In this case you may have to resort to copying and pasting strings of code and sending these to your translation company as a Word or Excel file.

The file transfer option may be necessary if your main website doesn’t support other languages, and CMS integration and translation proxy cannot be used; or if you have a small website that can be handled easily in this way. Automated approaches require some additional investment, which might make them less cost effective for a one off or low volume translation project.

Drawbacks of this approach include human error and time. It’s a labour intensive option, especially when factoring in the review process, involving multiple files being sent and stored between all parties.

2. Translation proxy

A translation proxy site is a mirror version of your main website, which exists in the cloud. It suits companies that are looking for a standardised multilingual website, where each site mirrors each other apart from in language.

Using translation proxy server software, the translation team pulls strings of text and XML/HTML page code
from your main site, which is queued for translation and localisation using their Translation Management Software (TMS).

The translation team then translates and localises the content and caches these localised files on the translation proxy server. This is an option often used when multilingual websites are required quickly, as there are fewer web design and development considerations to manage.

Drawbacks are that usually the local websites cannot be customised; changes have to be made to the main site. It is a good option if your CMS doesn’t support multilingual sites, and if your main site is regularly updated with non-dynamic content.

3. Website translations with CMS integration

For medium to large website translation projects, and for companies that require several multilingual websites, sharing content using CMS integration has many benefits. It streamlines workflow and is particularly useful if there are many people involved in the translation project: multiple content creators, editors and reviewers etc.

CMS integration involves a plugin, or connector software, that allows for files to be sent to your translation partner’s TMS from your CMS. Translated and localised files are then sent back to your CMS for publishing on the local website. Most off-the-shelf content management systems support multilingual websites using CMS integration, but some custom-built systems do not.

One of the key advantages over the translation proxy option is that local websites can have more custom features, such as their own news section or additional pages, and therefore the user experience is much more targeted.

In-market reviews can also review website content in context using a staging server, so they can see the layout of content as it will appear on the website. This is particularly useful for reviewing how text expansion, non-Roman characters, and left-to-right text behaves in the website layout.

For more on website translation with CMS integration click here.

If you’re still not sure what approach is right for your website translation project, please give me a call or send me an email to arrange a quick chat about your requirements. Contact me on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or

We’ve created a useful guide to website translation and localisation to help you streamline your website translation projects, and save time and money. Download your free copy by clicking the link below.

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