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Third party translation services

Hi all,

The next release of our app will has been localized, and part of this process is converting the 900+ language strings from English into other languages.

Does anyone have any recommendations for third party translation services?  I've done some searching, but most seem oriented towards document translation rather than "string" translation.

In my perfect world, there would be a web app that I could log into, upload a CSV list of keys and English text, and check off which languages I wanted.  Then someone somewhere in the world would translate into the corresponding language, and I could export the data into CSV for import into the application.  As time goes on I could add more keys/English text to the web app and the translator would be notified to change the data.

Sounds like a great service.  Maybe someone will make it for me? :)

Darren Send private email
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
MS publishes a dictionary of 'preferred' translations of terms like save/quit etc for a list of langauges.
You should use these for all windows specific terms.

For the rest if they are single words or short phrases you could try babelfish and then get a native speaker to check them - especially if you can find a local student that would be cheaper than a professional translator.

It also depends on how industry specific your application is. Be careful getting some random native speaker to translate complex engineering terms.
Martin Send private email
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Hi Martin,

can you please give a link for the 'prefered translations'?

Thank you
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
It seems someone deleted my message and I wonder why. If I did something wrong, please tell me.

If it was a mistake here is my question again:

Martin, could you please give us a link to your suggested ms translation guidelines?

Thank you
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Link has moved on MS site, it used to be on one of the MSDN CDs perhaps it's not available any more.
Google for MS word list
Martin Send private email
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I did and found nothing so far, but anyway, thanks!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Google for sisulizer for translating your application. I'm not sure it's within your budget, but it's certainly worth it.

BTW - do you also need translation for website and other texts?

Amir Helzer Send private email
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I recommend few steps before you go this way
I've been there, still in progress actually

1. Use some existing localization library/method
don't create new bicycle

2. Don't go this road if you are not sure if it makes sense
it is MUCH harder to keep translation proper then actually do it once

3. Translating interface only makes small sense, you need to translate support content also (docs, sites, ads, banners, manual etc)

4. working on local markets in global internet is more complicated for you
you will never provide support in local language
you will never have enough staff speaking customers language
Ruslan Savchyshyn Send private email
Thursday, May 15, 2008
> Google for MS word list

Google for MSDN Glossary
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I've gone through this a couple of times, so here are a few pointers. I haven't found the perfect formula yet, but I can tell you what's a PITA.

Keep in mind that translating an application is more than just providing strings. Often, the use of the string depends on the context (for instance, for gender-sensitive languages,  two strings might be necessary where only one is sufficient in English). In an ideal world, you'd provide screen-captures of your application to your translator, so they'll know how it's being used. Don't forget arcane error messages and seldom used sections of your application.

Space might be an issue; English is a very compact language so many translations will probably overflow their fields, message boxes, etc... Provide max character counts to your translator if that can be an issue.

Don't forget to translate content embedded in images (for instance, supposing it's a map application, you might have N, S, E, W directly in your images). As much as possible, avoid this, or use text-based overlays. Also keep in mind that some visual conventions (for instance, an hexagonal stop sign) might not be universal.

Try to find a local reviewer who's familiar with your application, and who can at least look at your final application and point out blatant mistakes.

And last, good luck. Translation is a PITA, and if done improperly gives a very negative vibe. But if it's done well, your users will appreciate.
BossyKena Send private email
Thursday, May 15, 2008
At a previous company, we used a firm called "WeLocalize".

Since then, they appear to have gone all Fortune-500, so I doubt that a mISV could afford them anymore.  But give them a call -- you never know.
xampl Send private email
Thursday, May 15, 2008
We can help you with translations... go to our website: and email us from there.
radu Send private email
Friday, May 16, 2008
Ignore Martin's Babelfish suggestion.  I repeat: do not, under any circumstances, even _consider_ any form of machine translation.

The message machine translation sends is: We are cheapskates who are perfectly happy to ship half-assed low-quality products to customers we don't care about, such as you.

Or maybe I'll let Babelfish say so in its own inimitable way: "As for your like foreign something at all at all there is no interest."
Friday, May 16, 2008

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