If you’re looking to promote your gite to a wider audience, it’s worth thinking about how to present your website in languages other than English.
Which languages? Well, French, naturally, but what about German and Dutch? Or Spanish or Italian or Polish…?
Of course, you could just leave it in the hands of your visitor. Anyone using Google Chrome, for example, can take advantage of the browser’s built-in translation tool and switch to reading an automatic translation in their own language.
But if you prefer to make life easier for your visitors, there are two ways of going about this. Which you choose will depend on your budget.
Say Bonjour! to Google Website Translator
If you’ve ever used Google Translate you’ll know it’s a minor miracle. Instant translation to and from English and countless other languages.
But you’ll also appreciate that any technology-driven translator tool can never do the same job as a professional linguist.
A computer translation is fine if all you want to do is give people the gist of what your carefully crafted English text says. But not so hot if you’re looking to convey precise meaning.
That aside, it’s still a minor miracle and it’s yours for the asking.
Get your very own Google Translate button
Google Website Translator puts this same technology on the pages of your gite website. So visitors can switch to a French or German or whatever foreign language version of your site at a click.
To get Google Translator up and running, you’ll need to set the tool up with your chosen languages and then add some code to your pages. Or ask GiteWise to do this for you.
Your pages will then have a language switcher bar or tab something like this:
That’s a fully functioning Google Translate widget, so feel free to click on the dropdown and see how this page looks in one of the listed languages.
Hopefully, the resulting translation for your website will be reasonably close in meaning to the original English (though quite different from a professional translation).
But if you do happen to become aware of a boo-boo or something you want to change, you can jump right in and change it yourself.
Just go to Google Website Translator for your site and click on Corrections.
UPDATE: Since March 2015 Google no longer supports the Correction option.
Google Website Translator is a free tool. It should take no more than an hour to set it up on your site, no matter how many languages you want to include in the switcher.
If you and html code don’t mix too well, ask GiteWise to set up Google Website Translator for you for just £20. Contact me today.
The Google Website Translator service went through a rebirth in spring 2015. You can find the new Translate Manager page here.
The other way to translate your gite website?
Clever as Google Translate is, it’s still no match for a good old human being.
Maybe in time translation technology will acquire a sense of humour and a knack for using the vernacular or expressing something as only a native knows how. But for now, it’s second best.
So if you have the necessary command of the language to produce a more natural French version of your pages – or you can call on someone who can help you out – you might want to go a more professional route.
It’s more expensive than Google Translate, but it has its advantages.