When I wrote a personal critique of Marc Rapp’s blog I mentioned his language translator, and how Marc’s audience spanned across countries that mine barely touched, I thought to myself, “I’ll have to try that”.
The idea was put on the back-burner until today when I read Lorelle’s guest translation article on ProBlogger. Lorelle writes some interesting stuff about what language you should use when commenting on a blog that’s written in a foreign tongue (i.e. not English). Should you use an online translation machine or type in English hoping they’ll get the message? It’s worth a read.
I was led from Problogger over to Lorelle’s own blog about all things WordPress. This is where I read an article titled Translation and multilingual WordPress plugins. Of course many of you won’t use WordPress to power your blog. Indeed, many of you won’t have a blog to author, but as I’ve added the quite obvious translation section to the top right of this Creative Design :: blog of mine I wanted to mention it and ask your opinion.
There are a wealth of translation plugins that you can download. I chose to use the WordPress Global Translator Plugin (probably because Lorelle mentioned it for a second time in her article comments).
Automatic translations aren’t accurate. What they do however, is get the message across. I find it hard to believe that online translations will ever be 100% accurate but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
I wasn’t sure where to place the translation flags. It’s simply a matter of entering a little line of code into your blog template, very easy. At first I wanted the flags to run along my top nav bar, where the ‘home’, ‘about’, ‘contact’ links are. Then I thought about having them alongside the MyBlogLog reader images. I felt it was important however, to show the flags above the fold, where they’re instantly recognisable as soon as you access my homepage.
However, when you view an individual post, such as my Flags of contemplation one whilst we’re talking about flags, the right navigation changes to a comment box, so I’ll have to think further about that.
I’m going to test the plugin for a few weeks to see if there’s an increase in Asian, South American, Central European visits.
What’s your opinion on web-based language translators? Do you have experience using one?
UPDATE: Typical, the translation is great for the first day so I post about it. Then, almost immediately after publishing this post the plugin stops working. I’ve had to remove the global translator plugin for now as it doesn’t seem to work with my permalinks. I’m going to try out some other translation tools when I get a chance and will update again should I have more success.