This is a guest post from Lily Varon, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals

Today, eBusiness professionals are struggling with how to engage their clients around the globe via a website that meets varying language and cultural needs. Additionally, they’re faced with deciding between the different technical implementation methods with language service providers. Forrester has recently published a report to help eBusiness professionals navigate the maze of solutions and vendors at hand to help implement their translation and localization strategy.

Before evaluating solutions and signing contracts, eBusiness professionals must consider these important questions:

What is the right mix of translation methods? There is no replacement for translation done by a professional translator in terms of quality output, but the sheer volume of website content, the increasing demand for quick turnaround, and the number of languages needed far exceed the capacity of using all human translation. Many enterprises use a combination of translation methods (e.g., human translation, machine translation, human-aided machine translation, crowdsourcing) to execute on their international initiatives and fulfill their translation needs while keeping project costs under control.

What is the right implementation method with a translation partner? One of the key issues that eBusiness professionals face when evaluating translation and localization solutions is how to integrate them into the existing WCMS platform and infrastructure — or whether to do so at all! For many retailers, budgets are limited and resources from IT are scarce. Proxy-based translations are gaining popularity as a method for translating website content because of the relative speed and ease of implementation. Many organizations, however, still translate content directly from their in-house WCMS or eCommerce platform because this method ultimately offers more control.

What other considerations must they keep in mind? Today’s translation and localization projects are complex, and growing international eCommerce revenues mean the bets are getting bigger. eBusiness professionals face the difficult task of translating the various types of compiled content populating their sites (images, Flash ,and video) and considering what to do with their mobile sites and/or apps to meet international customer needs. And let’s not forget the UI and global SEO implications of website translation and globalization. Compound this all with the breakneck pace of change and demands on their time from their home markets, and eBusiness professionals can quickly have more on their plate than they can handle.  

The alternative to managing localization in-house is to elect a vendor to handle the localization of website content. There are dozens of vendors in this space, with various approaches and offerings. In our latest report, we offer an overview of six established language service providers. The vendors we looked at were:

  • Lionbridge
  • MotionPoint
  • SDL
  • TranslateMedia
  • Welocalize

Forrester clients who are keen to learn more about the solutions and factors they should consider when choosing a language service provider should schedule an inquiry with us to discuss further. I look forward to your comments.