Website Translations and Umbraco’s Language Feature

Wish you could reach an international audience? Umbraco v8 includes a revolutionary new feature that can help make that a reality.

Personalization is critical for businesses to achieve in their marketing and customer touch points. If personalization is new to your brand, it’s easiest to start broad and work your way down to smaller segments. With the advancement of technology and the low barrier for users worldwide to connect with each other online, the language barrier is one of the first hurdles to clear when gearing up to reach an international audience.

If your business is trying to reach international customers, you want to be sure that everyone who comes to your website can clearly understand your content and offerings, no matter where they live.

A Brief History of Machine Translation

Google Translate launched in April 2004, but the first machine translation efforts began more than 70 years prior in 1933 with language cards, a typewriter, and film camera.

Unsurprisingly, many countries joined the race to figure out machine translation in the spirit of spying on each other. Especially once the Cold War hit. Thankfully we’ve made leaps and bounds of progress in the time since.

Out of the 1.5 billion people in the world that speak English, it’s only 360 million people’s first language. If English is the only language your website supports in today’s global market of 7.5 billion, you could be missing out on massive earnings.

The two main routes to go with translation on your website are manual or automatic, which we’ll explore the pros and cons of each.

Human Translations

Human translation is exactly as it sounds - a professional translator combs through your website and translates it for you.

Here are some upsides to human translations:

  • People have a more contextual understanding of languages in terms of jargon and common phrases than machines do.
  • The language will read more naturally for a native reader and less chance of feeling robotic.
  • Brand voice holds more strongly since humans can add the creative touch.

And a few downsides:

  • A translator may know a language, but may not have a firm grasp of regional nuances.
  • It relies much more heavily on hacks and workarounds to get a multilingual website up and running.
  • And of course, human error is always a potential factor - even something as simple as a typo that you can’t proofread can cause miscommunications.

Automatic Translations

All that’s not to say that automatic translations don’t come with benefits as well. Technology by nature adds efficiencies to otherwise manual processes.

Here are some reasons to give serious consideration to automatic translations for your website:

  • Takes much less time to translate an entire website.
  • Much more cost effective.
  • With the right tool, it’s sturdy, reliable, and easy to implement and maintain.

Umbraco’s Language Feature

With the number of businesses trying to reach an international audience, Umbraco released “a new feature that adds built-in support for multilingual content” in their version 8 update - Language Variants.

Languages are complex. Different regions of a country can speak the same language slightly differently. It’s that level of personalization brands strive for in their communications. The more local you feel to a member of your audience, like you’re a neighbor, the more likely your message is to resonate with them. The goal is to meet your customers where they are, and that includes their native dialect whenever possible.

Umbraco 8 makes that possible by allowing all of your content to exist in multiple languages at once.

“Not only do these changes give you the opportunity to build all the needed content variations in one single content tree in your Umbraco project, but it also gives you built-in support for Language Variants throughout the platform,” writes Jacob Midtgaard-Olesen of Umbraco.

The feature allows you to preview how each variation of your website looks, side-by-side editing, ability to name content variants as well as mandatory languages.

This tool is revolutionary for businesses looking to start reaching overseas audiences and connecting with them meaningfully in their native dialect. Let our developers show you how easy and robust Umbraco’s language variant feature truly is.


FYIN’s certified Umbraco Masters can help get your website set up with different translations so you can connect with your international audience. Contact us to talk about your translation needs