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Monday, March 23, 2009

How To Automatically Translate A Full Web Site In Multiple Languages: Best Web Site Translation Tools - Mini-Guide

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Do you want to automatically translate all of the pages of your web site into the most popular languages and facilitate foreign visitors get an insight into your content without hiring a pro translator? Here is MasterNewMedia guide to the best tools and services to automatically translate your web site in multiple languages.

Photo credit: Guy Erwood

More than 65% of people around the world don't speak English, so having a web site that can be read in multiple languages is crucial if you don't want to lose any possible extra traffic. Also, offering your visitors to read your web content is a great way to stand out from your typical competitors.

With the tools and services I have selected for you in this guide, you just need to pick your preferred web site translations solution, integrate their code into your web pages and the work is done. In most cases, your web pages will be translated on the fly when a reader will click on the language of his choice.

It is also very important to keep in mind that such translations are made automatically, so don't expect them to be perfect. They should be intended to provide just a "guide" into your original content, and not certainly a formally correct translated version.

So, since there is a plethora of different services to translate your web site, you have to decide first which kind of features you need. Many languages? Advanced customization possibilities? Embeddable widget? Or maybe just using a free solution against a more professional alternative?

To help you make the best choice, I have identified some basic criteria you can use to evaluate and select the best automatic web site translation tool for your web site:

  • Number of languages: How many languages your web site can be translated into.
  • Languages supported: Which languages your web site can be translated into.
  • Translated items: Which elements of your web pages are translated (just text, text and image captions, hidden texts...)
  • Price: Price of the service, and premium accounts with extended features (if available).
  • Widget implementation: Easiness of implementation of the widget inside the source code of your site / blog.


Best Automatic Web Site Translation Tools Comparison Table

go to the table!
*Please refer to individual vendors sites for additional pricing solutions.


Best Web Site Translation Tools

  1. Google Language Tools

    Google Language Tools allows you to translate web pages or texts instantly. The service is completely free, and supports all the principal languages spoken across the World: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, French, Italian, Spanish, and many more. You can add a gadget (Google's for widget) to your site pasting just a line of code. Your visitors will then have a drop-down menu where they can choose their mother tongue, and have your content translated automatically (just plain text, no images or hidden texts). About the text translation option, Google Translation Tools has no special character feature, or offers to upload documents from your hard-disk for immediate translation.

  2. Yahoo! Babel Fish

    Yahoo! Babel Fish is a free online tool to translate web pages or blocks of text. Powered by the SYSTRAN translation engine, Yahoo! Babel Fish allows the translation of texts up to 150 words and web pages from and to a very large set of languages (Chinese, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and many more.) To take advantage of the translation capabilities of Yahoo! Babel Fish on your site, just choose between two simple one-line-code widgets, depending you need to translate your own web pages or offer your readers to translate third-party web sites or a text of their choice. Translation is performed on plain text only, not images or hidden text.

  3. SWeTE

    SWeTE (acronym for Simple Website Translation Engine) is a free tool to translate web sites to multiple languages. You can add a small set of flags to the source code of your site / blog, and let users automatically get a version of your web pages in their desired idiom. The SWeTE code is very easy to implement and allows you to further customize the translations rendered on your web site, working also on links, images, or hidden texts. The service currently supports translations from / to English and some of the following languages: Chinese, French, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, and many others.

  4. Applied Language

    Applied Language Solutions offers a translation tool that allows your visitors to translate your web site at a click of a button. Just register to the ALS site, select the language pairs you want to use, and grab the free customizable bar to add to the source code of your web site. Easy implementation, but plain text is translated only. The free solution from Applied Language works with the most spoken languages worldwide. Some examples: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and many more.

  5. ultimate website translator

    ultimate website translator is a free widget you can embed on your web site to have your readers translate your web pages with no effort. Translations available in many languages (Chinese, Japanese, Dutch French, Italian, and Spanish among many others.) ultimate website translator takes advantage of the translation engines of Yahoo! Babelfish, Google Language Tools, GTS, and WorldLingo. The widget though looks very poor (no flags to recognize a language at a first glance), and translation is provided only for the content, no hidden text or images.

  6. SDL

    SDL is a free online translation service that you can use to translate web pages or blocks of text. SDL can convert from English to French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Norwegian via a widget that you can add to your web site after registering to SDL services. The widget is very small and easy to install into your source code, but translates just the text on your web site (no images or hidden text). Speaking of texts, each block can be up to 4-5 pages or about 4,000 to 5,000 words, which is about 8 or 10 pages of a fairly dense document. Worth mentioning is the special character feature that lets you add characters which you don't have on your keyboard without changing its layout.

  7. WorldLingo

    WorldLingo is an online language translation tool that allows you to translate texts, documents, web pages or even e-mails from and to a language of your choice. Web sites can be translated by adding a piece of (long) code to your web site which will display the flags of 15 countries. By clicking on a flag, your readers will automatically get a translated version of your page (links included). Different pricing options available, based on geographical packages. Regarding the text feature, just submit the text or files that you need to read in another language and let WorldLingo do the rest. Text translation feature is completely free to use, but the maximum length of the text you can convert is set to 150 words.

  8. ArtistScope

    ArtistScope is a web site translation service that helps your reader translate your web pages in their mother tongue via a handy drop-down menu placed at the top of your page. More than 25 languages available including: Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, Dutch, Turkish, and many others. Easy installation on web sites hosted on Windows servers, such as those using FrontPage extensions with ASP support. ArtistScope works also with Cold Fusion, .NET and PHP but you need to modify your source code accordingly. No hidden text or other elements translated outside of plain text. Free trial avaialable and prices starting from €250 for a limited license.


Other Web Site Translation Tools

  1. Google Toolbar

    The Google Toolbar is another service from Google Language Tools that helps your readers get a translated version of your content in their mother tongue (along many other features). A good strategy to promote their content for software developers and online publishers, may be to provide a link to download the free Google Toolbar with their products or on their web sites, instead of adding a widget or a plugin to their source code. This is just another solution to provide different translated version of your web pages going the easy way. Google Toolbar translates from English into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

  2. ICanLocalize

    ICanLocalize is a tool that provides human or machine-based translation for your web site. Available for WordPress, Drupal, and static HTML pages. Installation of ICanLocalize requires you to add additional plugins or play with the code to make the translation facility work properly on your site. The service translates from and to most spoken languages like English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and many others. Full translation of your content available, but no embeddable widgets. Prices start from 0.7/c per word or $5 per page.

Originally prepared by for MasterNewMedia, and first published on March 23, 2009 as "How To Automatically Translate A Full Web Site In Multiple Languages: Best Web Site Translation Tools - Mini-Guide".

Robin Good -
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Monday, March 23 2009, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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