University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We recently got an inquiry about cost and effort to make alternate language versions of our site available.  I worked in the "real world" at an agency and led a project team on one of these projects so I know some things about dealing with two language content.  Yet I am wondering if any schools have done this specifically and if you have relied upon either CMS related methods, alt site options, or just Google Translation type tools.  The state of the art has changed a bit since I did the dual site a few years back, so I am open for any suggestions on the topic.  Options on tools and some discussion of possible best practices?

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If you really care about cultural context and getting everything accurate I think the Google translate doesn't cut it. I will acknowledge that some people do use it but I wouldn't say it does a great job. Somene asked me about using it here and I told them I thought it was more offensive to do a half asses response to second language than just not doing it at all.
That's the response I was looking for....we got same indications when we worked on that agency product and I need to convince the powers that be that the time and effort and money spent is worth it....but there are "web experts" everywhere (read that as any one with a mouse!) that like to put in their two cents and suggest things like google and other free tools.  thanks for the feedback.

Of course fully translated content is optimal, but If a tool like Google Translate is to be used I would use a workflow that alerts the user that translation will be rudimentary and should only be used to get the "jist" of the content. Also, any specific questions should be directed at someone who can help them from that point. 

Technically, you could pass the referring URL into a form, present those messages, and then have a "Translate Now" button. The user would be prepared for what he or she would be receiving, have contact information for someone to call or email questions, and get some semblance of content. 

I think this is a better approach than "It's not perfect, so don't even try".

Gotta agree with Matt here. If content-in-another-language is one of your goals (and, that's a smart goal to have; take it from a Spanish/English speaker!), have someone do it well. Don't rely on software.

The last thing you want to do is offend/alienate your intended audience with content that shows that you don't really care if they understand you.

Gregory Hernández

I wholeheartedly agree. If an institution is faced with competitive international recruitment, highly tailored content for those audiences would obviously be a requirement. I am not advocating for relying on software to handle this, but rather be a conduit for students to connect with institutions that either do not have not content-in-another-language as a main goal, or do not have the resources, personnel or financial, to accomplish such.

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