Someone asked me the other day why Slaptijack was only available in English. I only speak English, so that’s a pretty easy question to answer. But really, should I provide translations for the site?
Since I can’t do the translations myself, I have two options:
- Pay someone to do it.
- Have a free service do it automatically.
I wish I could tell you that Slaptijack makes so much money that hiring a team of translators makes all the sense in the world. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The trickle of money that comes in is enough to pay for hosting, but that’s about it. Clearly paying someone to do the translations is off the table.
I could probably automate the translation of web pages via something like Google’s Translate service. I think it makes sense to actually translate the pages rather than just offer a link to a translation service. That has the advantage of putting the site into search engines in multiple languages. The drawback here is that machine translations can be notoriously bad. My worst nightmare would be having a translation service insult my readers! Perhaps some sort of disclaimer on each page informing the reader that this page was automatically translated would ease the pain.
Is this even worth the effort? Last year, the top three non-English speaking countries to hit Slaptijack (and their relative percentage of visits) were Germany (3.1%), India (2.6%), and France (2.3%). It’s worth noting that all three of these countries have a fairly strange English-speaking contingent. Therefore, perhaps it would be more productive to harness some of those countries that don’t have a strong English background?
If you were going to translate a technology site into another language, which would you choose?
Photo by dog madic.