Website localisation redefined

Prologue

As pretentious as the title of this blog post sounds, what if we could do it – redefine the way websites are translated? Well, at least small to medium size sites.

I did localisation numerous times for different websites so I’m familiar with the process. Usually it looks something like this:

  • Step 1. Decide what extra languages do you need;
  • Step 2. Find translation agencies or free-lance translators for languages chosen;
  • Step 3. In some circumstances, verify quality of your newly found translators;
  • Step 4. Send initial batch of texts to your translators (sometimes along with advance payment);
  • Step 5. Once translations are ready, publish them manually on your website. Pay your translators;
  • Step 6. Every once in a while, send new texts to translators and repeat steps 4-5.

Looks simple, huh? Sometimes steps 2 and 3 alone may take a couple of weeks. Especially for languages like Chinese Mandarin where many translators are going to claim they have great written skills while they don’t.

What if we could cut down the scenario to something like:

  • Step 1. Install software plugin;
  • Step 2. Choose (order) languages you need.

Now wouldn’t that be great? Technically, it’s possible. Structure could look something like this:


dragoman-scheme

Let’s take WordPress, for instance. There could be a plugin that injects itself into rewrite rules, and for every post with URI like /year/month/title creates an alternative link like /language/year/month/title. Then, that plugin would gather all words from the page and send them to our API, and our API would forward original texts to a pool of translators.

Meet Drago

Basic CMYK

We chose a temporary name for this project – Drago. ‘Dragoman’ used to mean a translator some years ago, and our temporary domain name domain.mn even sounds almost like ‘Dragoman’.

A dragoman was an interpreter, translator, and official guide between Turkish, Arabic, and Persian-speaking countries and polities of the Middle East and European embassies, consulates, vice-consulates and trading posts. A dragoman had to have a knowledge of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and European languages.
Wikipedia

Our first landing page is here, we are currently testing user response.

Competition

I could find only one existing player in the market – Localise, but there is one deal-braker – Localise is 100% client-side, JS-based. Meaning translations won’t be indexed by search engines, and social sharing won’t be possible. And in my opinion, that (better exposure online) is exactly the goal of localisation!

Post by Denis Mysenko

Born in the snows of Siberia