Because early development of the internet took place within the English-speaking world, many non-English speakers have had to adapt content published in English only.

However, this situation has started to change. Internet usage in non-English speaking countries has grown much more rapidly (and will continue to grow much more rapidly) than in North America. For example, China’s internet uses have increased from 1.7% of the population in 2000 to 10.4% of the population by 2006. When we compare this to North America’s situation (already with about 74% internet penetration), the importance of publishing foreign-language content becomes clear.

For most webmasters aspiring to tap into the non-English speaking market, the financial cost of publishing translated content can seem prohibitive. Very few website owners can afford to hire sufficient personnel to hand-translate into multiple languages.

Thankfully options do exist due to continuing developments in the quality of machine language translation programs. While the quality does not (yet) rival that of hand-translated text, the machine-translated texts are generally legible in foreign languages.

How good is the text quality? The Website Translator site includes a script review and Live Demonstration of a popular automatic website translation script. The site is published in 34 languages, and loads quickly thanks to the built-in caching system. The website also makes this script available for $65.00.

What about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Most webmasters are keenly aware that a larger number of indexed pages in the Search Engine will tend to result in higher traffic. As part of its Live Demonstration, the Website Translator site will be updating its visitors on the SEO effects of website translation.

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