With new websites being created every day and with the ever-increasing demand for multilingual content online, translation proxy has become quite popular. Offered by tech-enabled language service providers (LSPs) as well as technology companies, proxy helps dynamically translate website content on the fly. As a result, end-users gain access to a website in the desired language in real time.
In the past, the technique used by proxies to find translatable content on the original websites often failed, resulting in sections remaining unlocalized or a mix of languages being displayed. It mostly worked fine for simple static websites. However, over the course of 2020, the market saw a number of developments, so it’s a good time to take a quick tour of a few of the latest and greatest translation proxies and what they’re capable of.
Proxy is an intermediary server separating website visitors from the destinations they browse. Traffic flows through the proxy server on its way to the requested address. It then comes back — usually through the same proxy server — with the proxy forwarding end-users the data received from the website.
So, a translation proxy is a system that's layered on top of a website — like a mirror where the reflections are the website's translated versions. It functions as an ad-hoc localized website placed in between the visitor’s requesting site and a website in the original language.
It can operate as follows:
When content changes or is added on the original website, a web crawler monitors it and the adjustment occurs on the proxy site either by querying the database or triggering a translation task. In the latter case, translations will need to be produced and then are typically pushed online within a business day or so instead of in real time.
Source: The Nimdzi Language Technology Atlas 2020
The proxy subsegment encompasses the following groups of companies:
Most of the proxy solutions do not allow the translated content to sit on the customer's content management system (CMS) which gives rise to security concerns.
Any content which cannot be translated is reported back to Easyling for handling as part of the regular maintenance workflow. In this phase, the client resumes generation of content (new articles, blog posts, product pages, etc.) that requires translation. Easyling detects the new content, ingests it, and enters it into the LSP's translation process, which ends with the content being imported back into Easyling and the site appearing fully translated again.
MotionPoint positions itself as a specialist in the web proxy translation system subsegment of the TMS cohort. Their technology does not store customers’ content on its server, and provides interaction between the website and its users on a browser level. This makes the solution compliant with various IT security standards. Furthermore, the security and compliance framework in place meets the needs of customers in highly regulated industries such as healthcare or the financial industry.
MotionPoint’s website localization solution is said to require no integration effort and to take fewer than 5 hours on average to deploy. Their EasyLink technology “welcomes first-time website visitors in their preferred languages.” This reduces bounce rates and increases time on-site.
There are known downsides of translation proxy. While in the ideal deployment scenario, the localization effort remains unseen to the end-user, in reality bits and pieces of unlocalized content are still noticeable (remember that one random time you wanted to shop on an international website?).
Raw MT, which is often used to deliver translated content on the fly, may fail and confuse the customer even further. Also, the approach itself implies that content relevant in the source language remains relevant in all other languages, which is not always the case.
Not to mention that the website in question may be hosted on a network isolated from the outside, preventing access to the crawler — or there may not even be a route in.
The trend and demand for “effortless localization” helped proxies develop in a way that enables more accurate language “swapping” in real time. Furthermore, development of solutions that bypass proxies help present a localized user experience for owners of highly regulated content.
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