Women Organized Against Rape is a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate sexual violence through treatment, prevention education programs, and advocacy for the rights of survivors of sexual assault. As of the 2010 census, an estimated 12% of Philadelphians are native Spanish speakers. In order to make their services available to as many residents as possible, WOAR worked with MTM LinguaSoft to translate their website into Spanish.

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For this project, we used the WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) to export the text for translation and import the files back into WordPress. Using WPML can simplify the translation process for our clients, but some glitches may occur. For example, for this particular website, the export provided by WPML didn’t properly distinguish design and formatting tags from the translatable text. To solve this problem, our localization engineer wrote a regular expression to filter the content before providing it to our translators.  Pseudo-translation is also a useful preliminary step for making sure that all the translatable content has been identified and exported by WPML.

We assembled a translation team with experience writing outreach materials for Spanish-speaking US audiences. Because Spanish speakers in Philadelphia come from many different locations, we needed translators who would not favor a particular regional dialect. In addition, maintaining the correct “tone” is important, especially for materials related to health.

After the translation phase was completed, we uploaded the content back into WordPress. Additional formatting of the Spanish webpages directly in the WordPress dashboard was necessary because we knew from the pseudo-translation that the WPML export would leave some content behind. Also, the Spanish text had expanded significantly during the translation process, hence the need to tweak the Spanish content directly in WP. Pre-live testing and review confirmed that the final Spanish website was working correctly for the user.

This project demonstrates the importance of close collaboration between the client’s developer and the localization project manager. Although WordPress Multilingual Plugin is a useful tool for automating some of the website localization process, it is not fail-safe. A translation project manager’s expertise is essential for creating a culturally accessible, fully functional multilingual website.