Pros and cons of using a website translation proxy service

By Acclaro
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Pros and cons of using a website translation proxy service

When it comes to breaking into global markets, translating your website into different languages is a must. However, you have several different options of managing a multilingual website, so it can be hard to know where to start.

You could go with the most straightforward option, translating a standalone website—but then you need to have a separate domain or subdomain for every language market. Or you could go the Content Management System (CMS) route, an integrated solution that’s becoming increasingly popular.

Then there’s translation proxy service (TPS), an efficient method that’s relatively cost effective, and cuts down on administration time and effort.

What is a translation proxy?

A translation proxy is a system that’s layered on top of your website to dynamically translate content in real time so that end users around the world can view your website in their local language. Essentially, it’s like a mirror is being held up to your site and the reflections are fully translated versions.

Proxies are intermediary servers that retrieve content from your server (also known as a client server), translate it in real-time either through machine translation or by taking from a set of previously approved translations, and then display the translated content to end users on your website.

Pros of translation proxy

The popularity of proxy-based website translation has grown in recent years primarily because of its speed and ease of implementation. It works with nearly any CMS, and because it requires no additional staging or QA, it’s both quick and relatively cost effective. This speed and relative affordability also make TPS a great way of testing out a new market before opting for a more expensive method of translation.

As an added bonus, some TPS providers support the XLIFF format for greater integration with back-end computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.

Cons of translation proxy

One of the main downsides of proxy-based website translation solutions is that they require you to relinquish control to a third-party hosting service. This can be an issue if the service goes down or has performance issues, which could slow down a website visitor’s experience.

Additionally, the scraping technique used by proxies to find translatable content may fail to translate certain content. This can result in a mix of languages being displayed to the end user.

TPS also sometimes fails to capture the cultural and linguistic nuances that may be required in certain markets. Because the foreign language site is a mirror image of your English site, elements like idioms or cultural references may get lost in translation.

If you’re interested in a long-term expansion plan, proxies can reduce flexibility and decrease your ability to properly localize your website’s offering for local markets. This can be an issue as add-on services, such as layout or customizations, can get pricey.

Is website translation proxy right for you?

Though it’s a robust and effective solution, TPS isn’t for everyone. Acclaro can help your company develop a localization strategy and determine when a proxy solution should be considered. We can also help you determine if standalone sites or CMS translation integrations are the right choice for you.

As your trusted translation partner, our goal is to find the right tools that work for your unique business needs. Contact one of our website localization experts to get started.

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