June 16 2011 Editor Assistance Newsletter
I've received several email messages from editors recently asking about non-English-language content. I thought it would be a good topic to discuss as a group!
The first situation is when someone writes you a question and they write in another language. Perhaps you run the birds site and someone from Greece writes you, in Greek, asking a question about their bird.
We cover that topic in this Editor Assistance site article -
The gist is you can certainly try deciphering it if you want! Maybe you enjoy puzzles and this strikes you as vastly entertaining to do. But you're also quite welcome to graciously apologize to them and ask them to please write you in English. After all, they visited your English-language site in the first place in order to make their request.
The second situation is when someone writes you and asks you to translate entire articles into another language for them. With over 6,000 languages on our Earth, it would be a staggering task to take this challenge on! We cover that topic here -
The best solution is to have one copy of each article on our site, in English, so it is always the most up to date version. Then visitors can use the myriad of free translators that exist on the web to read it in whatever their native language is. That way it's always up to date.
One of the more popular translators for commonly spoken languages is Babelfish -
Another translator site is Google Translate -
Both are free and fast. Both offer a button that lets visitors auto-translate content into several popular languages. I was wondering if perhaps I should add that button to the bottom area of each article, so that visitors could easily see the translated version.
Downside - we'd be sending a ton of free advertising and publicity to Yahoo/Google. But I'm not sure that I see much threat of us "losing traffic" to Yahoo/Google.
Tangent - with browsers like Chrome offering auto-translate ability, so someone who speaks Greek for example always sees all websites auto-translated into Greek, maybe our button would be redundant. Maybe most people who speak something other than English already do this auto translation regularly.
I'm open to hearing other ideas about pros and cons to this idea. If you think this is a good idea, do you have a preference between Yahoo, or Google, or something else?
Let me know and I'll tally up the votes!
Lisa Shea, owner
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