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Translate a website? What are the options?

Need a web shop or website translated? There are plenty of reasons to want it. As a company, it is a first step toward tapping into a new target market. Domestically or crossborder. It is also an extra service to your customers. It allows you to better engage your readers by connecting with them on a more personal level. As an organization, such as a municipality or hospital, this extra service for people who do not yet speak the native language is also very valuable. They will understand your message better without the need for interpreters.

Of course, translation is not the only step you need to take for localization. It is also important to adapt the content and online features to the social and cultural preferences of the target market.

We will show you how to translate a website or webshop in a few easy steps and discuss the different options, with their advantages and disadvantages.

There are actually 3 options conceivable in our view:

1. Machine translation via a Google translate button (or similar tool)
2. Machine translation, including via Clonable
3. Human translation

1. Translate website: Google translate button

You probably know Google Translate as an option for translating websites. You may have seen a Google Translate button on some websites or webshops that allows you to see a translated version of that same website or webshop.

You can also use this to translate your entire website into different languages in a few easy steps. This is how you add Google Translate to your site:

In your website, you can easily add a piece of code so that a button appears. Your web developer can easily arrange this for you.


<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang="en-US">


<h1>My Web Page</h1>

<p>Hello everybody!</p>

<p>Translate this page:</p>

<div id="google_translate_element"></div>

<script type="text/javascript">

function googleTranslateElementInit() {

new google.translate.TranslateElement({pageLanguage: 'en'}, 'google_translate_element');



<script type="text/javascript" src="//translate.google.com/translate_a/element.js?cb=googleTranslateElementInit"></script>

<You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.



You can test this at W3schools.com


  • Easy to add
  • As good as free


  • the quality of the translations is not always good.
  • there is no possibility to adjust the quality. There is no editor of the translations to generate better quality eventually through human translators.
  • through the use of this button, your "translated" site is not findable in the search engines, and you cannot advertise with it because you do not have a separate website url.
  • certain words and phrases remain untranslated because Google Translate only translates the actual text on a web page and does not take into account, for example, text contained in an image. The same goes for Google Chrome's auto Translate option.

2. Have website translated via machine translation, such as through Clonable or plugins

In machine translation, also known as automatic translation, the content of a page is realized from one language to another using artificial intelligence. Unlike human translation, machine translation does not take into account context or language nuances, which often leads to inaccurate translations.

There are a lot of plugins, modules, etc. to place in your site that use machine translation. However, often the quality of the translation and/or the ease of use and/or the configuration time and/or speed of the website is substandard.


  • cost is not too bad compared to human translations


  • New changes are not automatically included, which means that you still have to instruct the plugin to translate new parts. This is often forgotten, resulting in the site often missing a percentage of translations.
  • an additional website must be set up in many cases or a heavy plugin must be installed, which means additional maintenance.
  • the plugins often cause speed problems
  • the configuration of plugins is often very complicated, especially if, for example, components such as filters, meta tags, image alttags, etc. need to be translated.
  • the quality of the translations is sometimes better than Google Translate, but still not always as good.
  • often certain words and phrases remain untranslated because the plugins cannot handle all the technical code.

The introduction of Clonable

Clonable offers another way to translate your website without the problems of normal machine translations via plugins etc. Clonable offers machine translations in over 25 languages that can be easily adapted using human translators. Allowing you to combine the best of both worlds.

The TaaS (Translation as a Service) solution uses a variety of translation services, and chooses where the best results are achieved. In addition, Clonable offers other advantages. Namely, the tool allows you to copy the translated website within a few days, have it translated and then you or your translator can manually edit the automated translations using the frontend editor, substitution rules or translations list - depending on your preference.

Clonable offers:

  • Automatic and human translation combined
  • Translate your entire website content in a few days. A demo is available within a few minutes if you contact us.
  • New content or design changes in the original are also included / translated immediately.
  • Personalization is possible. From text to image, script to css, it's all customizable in the cloned version.
  • No difficult plugins
  • Virtually all content management systems and website technologies are compatible
  • SEO optimization possible. Meta tags and alttags are also translated.
  • Additional marketing opportunities: a simple method allows you to translate your product feeds, allowing you to quickly distribute ads with Google Shopping and other Ads.


- with this method, your website will be live within a few weeks, which is many times faster than a project using only human translations

- costs are up to 10 times lower than human translators
- maintenance doesn't cost a headache. Any change or content is taken into account immediately
- personalization remains possible, and human translators can easily increase the quality of machine translation.

- faster marketing for webshops abroad through product feed translation option


- there is no possibility to adjust the quality. There is no editor of the translations to eventually generate better quality via human translators.
- via using this button, your "translated" site is not findable in the search engines, and you cannot advertise it because you do not have a separate website url.
- certain words and phrases remain untranslated because Google Translate only translates the actual text on a Web page and does not take into account text contained in an image, for example. The same goes for Google Chrome's automatic Translate option.

3. Have website translated: human translation

Native speakers or professional human translators often offer the best quality. Translating a website is then done as follows:

  1. Set up localization project manager: A localization project manager is often set up. This person oversees the entire process and is responsible for implementing and executing the localization strategy of a company or organization, and manages the translation project from start to finish.
  2. Website copy: the project manager engages the web developer or web agency to copy a website. Configuration, server and hosting capacity must be taken into account. Some SaaS solutions offer an automated solution that allows you to quickly build an additional frame for the translated version of your website for a fee.
  3. The project manager, together with the other stakeholders, should decide which texts should be translated or not. Sometimes there are so many texts that a choice is made as to which are the most important and should be done first.
  4. The translator or translation agency should be engaged. If a lot of texts need to be translated you should take into account that it can take quite a while. For a good translation the meta tags, alt tags, filters, etc. should also be forwarded.
  5. Once the translations are ready, the documents must be entered into the CMS. Besides entering the pages, this also involves entering the meta-titles, metadescriptions, alttags, filters, etc.
  6. The localization project manager should set up a maintenance workflow for new translations within the website. For example with new blogs, products, etc.

Benefits human translation:

  • The main advantage of human translation is that it takes into account context, structure and language nuances. In addition, human translation usually includes procedures such as proofreading and quality assurance.
  • Many content management systems allow for more personalization options than some machine translation options such as Clonable. If you have a website that is only half the same as the original, there is no escaping choosing this method.

Disadvantages human translation:

  • Market launch time. Through this method, larger websites take months to sometimes even a year or more to go live.
  • Costs: this method involves huge costs. Not only with the translations themselves, but therefore also with the project manager, the web developer or the possible extra costs of the SaaS platform, the extra hosting.
  • Maintenance issues. Changes to the original website are not immediately incorporated. Which makes the number of hours and cost to be spent on maintenance for the additional website much higher than in the original. With each new blog article, product and page, the process of translation must be repeated again. Sending article to translator and putting it back into the website after receiving it.
  • Inaccuracies are lurking. The risk of forgetting certain parts is enormous. Often metatags, new products, blogs, etc. are forgotten in the translation. This does not only look sloppy but it also limits the potential of the website or the web shop. In some websites there are even pages in the original language, and that detracts enormously from the conversion potential.


Translating your website for different audiences is one of the ways to expand into new markets and boost sales or offer additional services to your foreign-language target audience at home. With a tool like Clonable you can copy, translate and maintain your entire website. And there are several options to apply personalizations and improve the machine translation quality with human translators.

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