How to translate websites. Episode 7: The finishing touches

Once you’ve fully translated and localised a website, it’s time to smooth it out. Careful verification will help you detect any issues that would limit readability or functionality. And that’s where linguistic, cosmetic and functional testing comes it.

As a website translator, you might be also commissioned with one of the tests. In most cases, you’ll be carrying out the first two types, and the functional test would be left for the localisation engineer or for the IT department. However, if you’re a dab hand at coding or website development, you can carry out the functionality test, as well. I will look into it in another blog post. Now, let’s focus on linguistic and cosmetic issues.

Spot the difference

There are two methods to test if a website is spotless in terms of language and layout. You can either read it all, page by page, or follow a test plan that defines what exactly has to be verified. No matter how you go about it, one thing is sure: linguistic testing has to be carried out by a native speaker with the knowledge of the product or services presented on the website. That’s why you’ll need both the language and subject matter expertise to find, log and, if necessary, correct as many issues as possible.

What is it you’re exactly looking for? Well, the list can be long and these are the most important issues:

  • Context

Does the text on your website appear in the right context? Is the terminology correct? What about idioms and metaphors?

  • Consistency

Is the terminology used in a consistent way? Maybe some terms are translated in two or more different ways? Is the style consistent throughout the text?  Maybe your website refers to other products or third party services. Check if all these references are correct.

  • Layout

Here you’ll need to check if the line break is correct, if the text is readable, if the buttons, menus and boxes don’t overlap and weather images display correctly. In this step you can use a couple of tools that make the layout testing more efficient. Also, some layout elements might be verified in the functionality testing, so if someone else is responsible for this step, make sure your tasks don’t overlap.

 

  • Missing translations and untranslated text

Check if everything has been translated and localised. Make sure there’s no text left in the source language.

  • Text concatenations

This happens when two or more strings are joined together. This usually works well in English, but may cause grammar or syntax mistakes once the strings are translated into another language. Make sure this does not happen on your website and have the code changed if you spot any concatenations.

Remove the difference

Once you’ve detected any of the issues above you can either log the errors in a test log or correct the issues yourself. In the first scenario, make sure all the errors are described precisely, because only then other team members will be able to remove them. The way in which you test the website will quite often depend on the type of project you’re dealing with, whether you’re working with a localisation team or carry out all the tasks independently or in a very small group. No matter which scenario you’re following, there is one thing you can’t forget. Testing can take ages, if you don’t determine first how many test cycles should be carried out. And don’t be fooled into thinking that extensive testing will assure high quality as this usually depends on many other factors. Testing is just a way to verify if the website has no linguistic and functional issues and to reduce the number of these issues as much as possible.

Do you want to learn more how to translate and localise websites? Check out my online course How to translate and localise websites!    

 

Translate and localize websites like a pro

Dorota helps businesses and individuals to communicate successfully across cultures in the online and offline world. She is a qualified translator and an entrepreneur supporting other self-employed professionals on their path towards building a more successful business.

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