How to Translate Websites on Ackuna

The internet is a fantastic tool to communicate ideas, share developments and potentially reach millions of people that, without the internet, would be impossible. While the internet is responsible for bringing the world together, in doing so it has highlighted the need for multilingual content. In fact, it is quickly becoming the norm for websites to be available in multiple languages.

How Ackuna can help

Traditionally, website translation can be a time-consuming and expensive process. However, by using Ackuna to crowdsource your website translation needs, you can receive expertly translated content from our pool of native speaking translators located all over the world, for FREE.

Prior to uploading to Ackuna…

For people new to website translation, let's first take a look at what is required for translating websites, and what things you should consider prior to starting the translation process with Ackuna.

Domain and hosting

There are multiple domain and hosting options you can pick from to host your newly translated website once it is finished. Some options are easier than others to set up, but may not be the best solution in the long run, so choose based on the amount of effort you're willing to put into setting up your website.

  • Directory: Also referred to as a "folder", this is the basic website structure, and how most websites are set up initially. The example page http://www.ackuna.com indicates no directories and http://www.ackuna.com/espanol is the same site with a directory called "espanol".
    • Benefit: Easiest option, as all you need to do is create a new folder for your translated files and upload it to your website.
    • Drawback: The least effective option in terms of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • New domain: If you want an entirely new website dedicated to the translated language, you can simply opt for purchasing a new domain. In some cases, this may be the best solution, as many search engines put greater emphasis on domain extensions when determining result ranking, and some countries' search engines may even require their native extension in order to be displayed. In China, for instance, a domain name with the ".cn" extension is required by their premier search engine, Baidu.
    • Benefit: A new domain provides you with the opportunity to choose an extension that would elicit the best search result ranking possible, in both the US and the native country of your translated language.
    • Drawback: Requires you to purchase a new domain and go through the process of setting it up on your hosting account.
  • Sub-domain: A sub-domain resides "under" the primary domain name. For example, http://www.ackuna.com would be the primary name, and http://www.espanol.ackuna.com would become the sub-domain using "espanol".
    • Benefit: Almost as beneficial as a new domain, as you can use the two-letter abbreviation of the target language's country or the language name itself in order to help with SEO. Also, sub-domains can be hosted separately from the main domain, and depending on the level of SEO you are trying to achieve, can be placed on country-specific IP addresses.
    • Drawback: Requires slightly more work than creating a new directory, and may not be as SEO friendly as a new domain. Overall, this would be the best option if you want a relatively easy setup while still maintaining SEO.
  • Review your code

    Prior to preparing your website for translation it is best to review your code and tidy up any errors that may be present. When you translate your website, you are actually duplicating its content into other languages. So any errors you have in the original files will be duplicated in other languages, and problems that may not surface in English may surface when the browser is attempting to display other languages.

    You can use HTML syntax checkers, such as the ones below, to help check for any errors that may be present:

    If your website has serious structural problems, it is strongly advised to fix them prior to localizing your files.

    Images with text

    Images that have text in them, by nature, cannot be extracted and translated since the text is part of the image and not editable. These sorts of files include all image files (.jpeg, .png, .gif, etc.), Flash files, Adobe PDFs, etc.

    If you require the text in these image files to be translated, you would have to use a desktop publishing (DTP) program such as Photoshop or Illustrator to replace the text with the translated version, and save the new image. Just be sure to re-link to the new image in the translated website version.

    * Please note: If the images that are being used on your website currently cannot be edited easily, you will have to go back to the original source files used to create the images to edit the text.

    ALT Text

    While translating/editing images is a separate task all by itself, you can still have the image tags translated by including ALT attributes for each image. ALT Text is what search engines read to know what an image is, and are also usually displayed in the browser when you hover over an image. Ackuna will be able to automatically extract any ALT Texts and translate them.

    Preparing your files for Ackuna

    Now that you have planned for hosting your translated website, reviewed the code, and created image tags (if required), you are ready to prepare your files to upload to Ackuna for translation.

    For website translation, Ackuna accepts either Excel (.xls and/or .xlsx) files or GNU Gettext Portable Object (.po) files. (Click here for more information on supported formats) So before you can upload your website files, you will have to convert them to one of these file formats.

    Excel (.xls, .xlsx)

    In order to parse the text properly, Ackuna needs the text that you would place in the spreadsheets to be formatted in a specific way. For detailed instructions on how to format the spreadsheets properly, please view our instructional page, Using Spreadsheets With Ackuna)

    GNU Gettext Portable Object files

    If you use Portable Object (PO) files currently, you can upload your .po files directly to Ackuna, and the site will extract the text automatically for translation. Once the translation is completed, the text will be inserted back into the .po file for you to download. If you require an easy PO edit program, we recommend downloading the free to use POEdit Software.

    Uploading your files to Ackuna

    Once you have your properly formatted website files (in either Excel or .po formats), you are ready to begin using Ackuna.

    If you haven't done so yet, the first step is to create an account. Follow the onscreen instructions and you'll be all set. Once you have an account, login.

    With Ackuna, you have the choice of getting your files translated in 1 of 2 different methods:

    • Crowdsourced Translation (free) – Your project will be viewed publicly on Ackuna and translated by numerous users on the site. This option is free.
    • Professional Translation Method (paid) – Your project will be sent privately to an individual professional translator for completion. This option is paid
      • Please follow the link above for whichever method you choose for further instructions on completing the translation process for your website.

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