Given that browsers (Chromium/Chrome thus far AFAIK) seem to be introducing embedded site translations and utilities such as Wibiya and given the amount of work that localizing a site can be (depending on framework, view re-writes, database-driven message localization, etc), does it make sense to put in work to localize sites that are intended for an international market anymore?

I'm developing such an application solo and I'm wondering if it's really a worthwhile investment at this point and hoping to hear from others who develop internationally targeted large scale applications. I'm not looking so much for opinions (although those are valuable as well) as factual numbers, i.e. the market share that Chromium and Chrome may have compared to other browsers, which browsers offer native localization, etc. Basically, an estimated percentage of users that I may be factoring out of usability without integrating site-driven localization.

  • What kind of application, if it's ok to ask? And how many of the big countries (china, india, etc) are in play? – Adel Jul 17 '11 at 8:42

Take a look at this recent BBC article on the effect of spelling mistakes on sales generated by websites.

Now, imagine that rather than a couple of spelling mistakes, the whole page is full of errors. What effect do you think that is going to have?

Online translation tools are intended to help people read things which aren't aimed at an international audience, not as a replacement for localisation.

Let users decide if they want to use machine translators or not, to decide whether or not to provide localisation you need to work out what impact it's going to have on your sales. If your application is indeed aimed at an international audience and you know which languages you need to support and the increased sales justify the overhead then you should still do the localisation. If you don't know the languages or can't afford to do the localisation then your best bet is probably to have an English version available (partly because English is the most widely used globally, but also as the translation engines tend to be better at going to and from English than other languages).

  • Great article link. As I commented below, the answers here have helped confirm what I already believed. Thanks. – Demian Brecht Jul 17 '11 at 20:20

I feel that you should do localization for any country you plan to target. Translation tools, though they are getting better, still screw up a good majority of the time. Also, assuming that your target audience has these tools installed isn't a good idea. You are basically telling your customers that you don't wish to take the time to communicate with them and that if they want to do business with you they have to install extra stuff. You will lose customers this way.

Even if these tools were rock solid and provided accurate and reliable translations, your suggestion of looking at market share to decide if this is a good idea is a bad line of thinking as well. Even if Chromium and Chrome held 90% of the market share, do you think your product is so good that you can alienate 10% of your target audience?

I would suggest, if you are branching out into other countries where your target audience don't speak the native language of the site, look into spending the extra time and money to translate and localize. It's not a black or white issue, but assuming that your customers have tools installed so you don't have to provide localization is a very bad idea.

  • Your and FinnNk's answer confirmed my feelings about this point. Thanks :) – Demian Brecht Jul 17 '11 at 20:18

Here is your answer translated to Russian and back to English using google translate:

Given that the browsers (chrome / chrome still AFAIK), it seems, the introduction of built-in website translation services and utilities such as Wibiya and taking into account the amount of work, the localization of the site can be (depending on the basics, see the rewrites, based on databases Message localization, etc.), does it make sense to put in work on the localization of sites designed for the international market more?

I'm developing this application solo and I'm wondering if this is really worthwhile investment at this point and hoping to hear from others who develop internationally agreed target of a large scale. I do not look so many opinions (although they are valuable, a) as the actual number, ie, market share, chromium and chromium, may be compared to other browsers that browsers offer a native location, etc. In principle, the estimated percentage of users that I can be a factorization of site usability without the integration of controlled localization.

Does not seems very professional.

That what your users will have (or even worse).

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