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Use artificial intelligence to automate the internationalization of your website

Translating one's own website, intranet or web application is an issue in almost every company sooner or later. But what is the best way to approach this undertaking? We explain the various options in this article.

"And who's going to translate all that? That will take forever!" might be one of the first thoughts on this, and a very valid one too. After all, translating existing content into one or more languages takes time and know-how. Know-how about the target language as well as about the technical terms of the content to be translated. What can be translated at all, what is technical jargon or proper names and do these have to be treated separately? The effort involved in translation should not be underestimated, and after the initial translation of existing content, resources must also be made available for the internationalization of new content. 

In the following, we explain three possible approaches: manual translation, the route via a translation agency, and automated translation using artificial intelligence.  

Manual translation within the company


Manually transferring all content into the target language(s) with your hand on your arm. Certainly the most pragmatic way, but also the most time-consuming if done in-house. In this case, the quality of the translation depends 100% on the editor and, if necessary, the control authorities. But let's face it, who has native speakers in the company who also have the time to constantly translate all existing and new content? Certainly not a task that is received with shouts of joy.  

Technically, this type of translation is relatively simple. In the content management system used, all that needs to be done is to provide an input mask for the content to be translated. For content elements, this is possible by default in the TYPO3 CMS. For control elements of the website (buttons, dropdowns, input masks, etc.), the translation usually has to be entered by the development department. Often these are terms like "search", "forward", "back", "submit", etc. Although there are ways to have the translation done by the editors, this requires the installation of an additional translation plugin as well as technical training for the translation team.  

Have translation done by a translation agency 
Professional translation service providers have a very high level of quality and are mostly ISO-certified and TÜV-tested. If you find a translation agency that even has its own industry knowledge, you do not have to worry about specialist texts being translated "strangely" if necessary.  

Pricing is usually calculated per word to be translated, whereby the price per word is based on the source and target language to be translated as well as the "degree of difficulty" of the text. For example, the translation of the news about the company event costs less than the technical article of the development department. Additional quality control (proofreading) also costs extra.  

"Technically", the process of entering the content is the same as for your own manual translation, except that you have to have the texts translated into the target language by the translation agency beforehand.  

The time saving is only the translation work itself, the time for entering remains the same or even increases. This is because the texts come from the agency unformatted, whereas with the aforementioned manual method, the texts are already available in the correct format, provided that the on-board tools of the content management system are used. 

In addition, there is the research for a suitable translation agency as well as the organization when handing over and receiving the texts. If you want to be very precise, you can also read the texts again crosswise.  

Automated translation with artificial intelligence 


Noteworthy providers for automated translation are  

We chose DeepL after comparing price, functionality, and quality and had a very good experience with it. DeepL uses artificial intelligence and a neural network to translate texts so well that even professional translators hardly have a chance to distinguish it from manually translated texts. On average, texts translated with DeepL are 3 times more accurate than those translated by competitors. For the standard German <--> English case used in the DACH region, DeepL is even 6 times more precise

How do we use DeepL with TYPO3 to translate texts automatically?  

Technically, the website is broken down into text segments and their translation status (new, already translated, revised) is checked. The text segments are then translated once with DeepL and stored locally. A new translation only takes place if the content of a text segment has changed. The whole process takes place independently of editorial work, so that the editor does not have to worry about the translation records. 

It is possible to edit the locally stored text segments and change the translation if necessary, as well as to store a glossary with predefined blocking terms (e.g. technical terms, proper names). 

The text segments are transferred to DeepL via REST API in encrypted and encoded JSON format via HTTPS, so that sensitive data can also be sent and received for translation. 

Conclusion - Which solution for website text translation?


As a TYPO3 agency with over 15 years of experience, we have already worked with each of the above constellations. All of them are suitable for the internationalization of one's own website, but differ significantly in price and effort on both the client's and the agency's side. If you have a linguistically broad-based editorial team and sufficient time resources, you can resort to manual translation in-house. 

However, if time is a scarce commodity, a translation service provider or automated translation should be used. In terms of quality, the AI-supported solution can more than keep up with the work of a professional translation agency. In terms of price, however, the solution with DeepL has already amortized the development costs after a short time, because after the one-time investment for the integration, there are hardly any or no more costs for automated translation.  

Contact us, we will be happy to advise you on the internationalization of your project with TYPO3.

PS: This text has been translated using DeepL

Your contact persons 
Pascal Naujoks (Senior Consultant), Alexander Köberl (Senior Developer) 
Phone: 0711 925388-22 
e-mail: [email protected]

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