Software and Website Translation – Similarities and Differences

Translation is a general concept which applies to all the three fields of translation, websites, web applications and software applications. However from the point of view of translation studies there are few similarities and differences between these fields.

For businesses that are looking to break into an international market, one of the best marketing and communication solution is Website localisation. Software translation is required by companies that want to launch their software in a global marketplace.

Every business should ensure that their audience can browse their website and other resources in a language which they understand and easily connects with. A business that fails to communicate with their target audience in their own language will fall short when it comes to attracting new consumers.

Website translation vs. Software translation

Common aspects in website and software translation include aspects such as user interfaces, front end text integration in programming code, file formats such as HTML and other common mark up languages, which are extensively used on the Web and also used in help files of software.

However factors that set them apart are the global nature of websites, the public character of Internet and the broad scope of websites. When compared with software applications, websites touch almost every aspect of our lives, whereas software are developed for specific purpose or application. Thus software translation and localization require much stronger technical background than website translation or localization. On the other hand because of the technicalities involved, translating web applications is also much similar to translating software applications.

Multilingual websites are particularly important for many organizations and companies such as international companies, export-oriented companies, international organizations and for web authors targeting international readers.

Static Website vs. Dynamic Websites

All websites are digital documents and can be either static or dynamic. Static websites are developed primarily using markup languages like HTML and CSS. Whereas dynamic websites are designed using HTML and CSS, but the content is displayed dynamically using programming languages like PHP, ASP, Ruby on Rails, Python or any other web programming language. In addition to textual content there is multimedia content also available on the web.

While translating websites we have to ensure that the digital format, which includes the mark up and programming codes, remain preserved and only the content that appears in the front end is translated. In addition translated websites should ensure that users are either automatically re-directed or can easily access the translated versions of the websites.

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