When you don't have the source files:

How to translate a website when you only have a link


‘This is the link, go ahead and translate this website for me’.


Maybe you’ve heard that before.


When you translate and localize websites sometimes your client will only send you a link. No source files, no details about the word count, no other access to the website content.


How to deal with such a scenario? How to assess the website to be able to send your quote? How to proceed with your translation?


Is copying and pasting the content displayed in the browser the only solution to get access to the original text?


Definitely not!


In fact, that would only make the matters worse.


If there’s no way to get access to the html or any other file with the website content, you can use the following methods:


1. Open the website in a browser, right click with the mouse and choose “Save as”. Save the page as a Web page/Html. Alternatively, you can right click and choose “View page source”, view the source, copy and paste it into an empty html file. Now you can feed that file to your CAT tool and begin with your translation.


This is a good solution for simple websites with one to three pages.


For more complicated projects choose number 2 or 3 below:


2. Use a website copier tool such as WebZIP or HTTrack to download all the pages. This may take a while, depending on the website content. In this process, you’ll download not only the files with the translatable text, but also all visuals and other assets. Once you download the website folder, search for the translatable files, drop them into your CAT tool and start your work.


3. Use a website localization tool that supports translation from a provided link. There are many platforms on the market that offer this feature (e.g. Transifex). You can simply paste your link and start translating the content in an online editor. Once your translation is ready you can also download the target file. In most cases, this feature is available only in a paid version, so make a thorough research before you decide on any subscription. Check the trial or demo versions, test the tool and weigh the pros and cons.


Now next time you need to translate a website without access to the source files, you’ll know where to start!



P.S. If you want to learn other strategies that will help you get access to the website content, have a look at my online localization courses.