The art of translation is as ancient as languages themselves, and what we normally understand by “translation” nowadays is the most traditional form of translation services: document translation. Not without good reason, of course: over the course of centuries, all sorts of literature have been translated into hundreds of languages by hand at first, then with the help of a typewriter, and finally computers.
With the arrival of internet, the quantity of documents that need translation has multiplied exponentially, and some, if not most of them, are not even in the traditional document format we all know anymore. A very specific type of translation has also risen in importance: website translation. And with it, the demand for professionals that can satisfy this need in a fast, reliable way.
However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Website translation is very different from traditional document translation. A website has a system of its own, and a language of its own, as well. And for a website translation to be done properly, the linguist must be aware of all this, on top of being fluent or native in the languages s/he is working with. A website translation is not composed of sentences like we all know, subject-verb-predicate. A website translation consists of commands, of small explanatory texts that must give very clear instructions with a strict character limit, of menus, of header bars, etc.
The language in a website must be, among other things:
- · Concise
- · Self-explanatory
- · Functional
- · Mostly devoid of embellishments
But with all this, the result must be:
- · Clear
- · Intuitive
- · Easy to read
- · Coherent
Coherent not only with regard to the rest of its own content, but also with the rest of websites in the same language: we don’t want to make our website as unique as to confuse the user, now, do we?
A website is also a multimedia document. That is, it can contain pictures, audio files, videos, animations, slideshows, and many other things. The language for all these elements must also have its distinctive features, and they must remain there after the website has been translated.
For all of these reasons, when a person or a company wants to have its website translated, they must be careful about who to entrust this delicate job to. Experience in this field and a guarantee of satisfactory results are a must, especially considering that nowadays a business’ success pretty much depends on its Internet presence. The internet offers commerce on a global scale with millions of people accessing the web in multiple languages other than English.