JavaScript Is Revolutionizing Website Localization
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JavaScript Is Revolutionizing Website Localization

JavaScript Is Revolutionizing Website Localization

JavaScript Is Revolutionizing Website Localization

In my webinar, What Blows Our Minds About the Latest Translation Technology, I shared exciting developments in multilingual content management, localization business analytics, as well as developments in machine translation technology. In this post, I tackle the latest plug-and-play website localization tools.

In just the last two years, I have witnessed impressive leaps in website translation technology. Because we at Moravia are technology agnostic, I feel uniquely positioned to share my thoughts and enthusiasm about new tools and technologies in web development without specifically selling one solution or another. After giving this a read, I recommend that you do as I have done: namely, research some cool tools and demo them to explore whether they could help achieve your objectives.

The way things were

Until recently, website localization was primarily approached in three ways.

  1. In the traditional file-based approach, project managers would take their loose collection of files (e.g., HTML, PHP, XML, etc.) and simply hand the content off to translation. Those translated files, once returned, would be passed on to the web developers to build the target-language versions of the site.
  2. Then there was the API “connectors” approach to website localization. Using this method, your web content management system (WCMS) (e.g., Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, etc.) could be connected to a translation management system (TMS) via an application programming interface (API). Source content would be pushed to the TMS through the connector to the translation vendor and routed back to the WCMS through the API.
  3. From about 2010 onward, we saw the rise of DNS proxy or “mirror-based” approaches to localization. No fussing around with APIs—you would get a web mirror where your localized website is stored and managed by a third-party server with a built-in TMS.

Each of these legacy methods have their associated risks and opportunities as well as varying levels of localized content management involvement.

JavaScript to the rescue

Today, with advanced developments in JavaScript extensions, a number of companies are making web localization even easier. You just add the company’s provided JavaScript code to the web pages that you manage, and a sort of “search and replace” occurs of the source language content with the target language content.

In a nutshell, the JavaScript spiders the English content and does a near-instantaneous “switcheroo” with the visitor’s preferred language, provided by your translation service, as the page renders. For those of you who want a more detailed explanation, TAUS has a great article on the subject.

These third-party web localization services have a number of features in common:

  • Simple one-line JavaScript code placed on each page for which you want to have translated content
  • Online editor for translation
  • Option for in-context editing of translated content
  • Option to add machine- or human-translated content

In the video of my webinar, you can see a quick demo I performed with using a stand-alone website developed in PHP. It is impressively simple—for my test website project, I had everything up and running within just a couple of minutes. I signed up for an account, created a project, and added the company’s JavaScript snippet to the pages where I wanted to show translated content. And because I chose to show machine-translated content rather than inserting my own, the content was ready to see online immediately after clicking “Save”. Website visitors can access the translation via a now-visible language selector (also injected into the page via the JavaScript service provided by Wovn).

See promotional videos from Wovn, Transifex, PhraseApp, and Localize web localization services below.

Transifex Live



When and why you should

If you are asking yourself when and why you should use this, I have some caveats.

This may not be the right choice for a 20,000-page enterprise website that is the heart and soul of your marketing efforts. For that, you might want to go with a more tightly integrated, future-proof, and stable solution—typically the WCMS + TMS API integration being the safest route. Why? Because this allows all localized content to continue to reside on your servers, in their original development environment, fully under your control and oversight.

However, this solution is definitely useful when, for example, your marketing department wants to create landing pages for a pay-per-click ad in 30 languages. Or for a web campaign lasting only three months for which you want to avoid the resistance, resistance, resistance of an already overworked IT department who doesn’t have time to deal with your technical requests. Need a quick and easy solution? Then such a web localization service would be a perfect option.

Have your own tools to recommend or questions? Let’s chat via the comments below.

Do you want to hear more about the latest translation and localization technologies? Listen to the complete webinar yourself. Just click on the presentation link below.