Free Tools and Best Practices for Site Translation

For many of us who produce and oversee content on the web, the job of accurately translating it into other languages is an extremely difficult one. There are quite a few tools available to help, though, including many free ones that can automate the process. Today, Microsoft (s msft) released a new Translator Widget that can be put on a site to let users get at translations without leaving the pages they’re viewing. It was developed at Microsoft Research. We’ve also done a series of posts on translation recently over on the OStatic blog.

Here are details on several resources you can get for free.

Microsoft’s Translator Widget is enabled through a small HTML script available here. It offers a pull-down menu to allow users to translate a web page into several languages. The widget is seen above.
On the OStatic blog, we recently ran a two-part series of posts from Brian McConnell, of Worldwide Lexicon and Der Mundo. Brian is an expert on web site translation tools and best practices.
You can find his input on best practices for translation in this postIn this second post, he covers various tools and services available for translation, including the free and open-source tools gettext and Pootle. His input is very good if you’re interested in reaching a wider audience online through translation. “By combining technology, people and a few shortcuts, it is possible to build sites, blogs and web apps that are accessible in many languages,” he writes. “If you’re clever about it, you can do quite a bit at little cost, but it’s important to understand what’s feasible and not.”
Brian’s site Der Mundo is a collection of resources for social translations. “It enables people to read, create and share translations for their favorite web sites, blogs and news feeds,” Brian says. Check out much more in his series found above.