Does anyone know of any online tools/software that can translate a web site from English to Spanish "on the fly", with no frame and with the ability to use your own list of word translation "exceptions"?
March 11, 2009 11:23 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any online tools/software that can translate a web site from English to Spanish "on the fly", with no frame and with the ability to use your own list of word translation "exceptions"?

Hi, I've been visiting Metafilter daily for years and it's my favorite place on the web. This is my first AskMeFi question. Thanks for looking!

My company is hoping to find some kind of tool so we can can provide a link offering spanish translation for our very dynamic web site. We're willing to pay if there's a commercial product, but would prefer not to have to shell out the huge bucks.

What I mean by "exception" is the idea that we could "force" the program, when it encountered certain English words or phrases, to use the Spanish words that we specify instead of its defaults.

Any help at all is deeply appreciated! Thanks Metafilter!
posted by dacoit to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Systran Software are the leaders in this kind of thing. It's machine translation that you can feed preferred terminology and previously translated material. It's still not going to be great - it's going to be pretty poor actually - but if you want a something is better than nothing solution (and I would really make sure you do) then this is where you start.

Keep in mind that websites are often the primary way a customer interacts with you. If you really want Spanish speaking customers - you should make sure those Spanish customers aren't coming to your site, laughing hysterically and leaving. You might want to think about translating some of the less dynamic parts of your site with real actual human translators who live in the Spanish speaking market you're targeting and making sure you have big disclaimers that the other parts are machine translated with links back to the English in case they find that preferable to bad translation.
posted by Wolfie at 12:16 AM on March 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts. I'm fluent in Spanish myself so I understand what you're saying, and we would certainly translate pages by hand if they were static.

In this situation, though, to help explain what we need: we're a little auto classifieds website in the Northwest. So, almost all of our content is dynamic (auto ads).

The thing about auto ads is that they all use the same words ... "Automatic", "power windows and locks", "loaded with options", and so on. Translators like Babel Fish and Google don't work because they often get these automotive phrases wrong (plus, they make you have that frame at the top). And yet ... if we were able to have a general on-the-fly translator like that, but one that allowed us to maintain a database 100 or so words/phrases on our site which we could automatically substitute with the correct ones ... we would have something that actually sounded pretty natural.

The reason I figured it would be worth asking is that one of our competitors has found this very thing out there somewhere, and is using it ... but of course they're very aggressive and competitive and won't reveal their secret.
posted by dacoit at 2:43 AM on March 12, 2009

For something simple like auto ads where you have a small number of words that need to be translated then server-side word substitution would be the easiest solution. You can modify the data entry to limit the complexity of the ad words because after all what do you need to say in a car ad?:

1998 Toyota Camry
78,000 miles
AC, Good Condition, One owner beauty
Call 555-555-6666

posted by JJ86 at 6:08 AM on March 12, 2009

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