After some experimentation, we have added direct links to AltaVistaTM's offering of the SystranR web site translation tool on every page of Priweb.com. That means you are a click away from reading any page we publish in French, German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish.
It would have taken us a major hand coding effort to have done this on a static site. Fortunately, our ColdFusion-driven PLW/SiteBuilder site construction technique lets us do this without spending days at it. (We did it in about as long as it has taken us to format the appearance of how we would present you with this option and write this page to tell you about it.)
When we saw the translator, we were impressed. That said, we do not, and cannot, vouch for the accuracy of its translation of any particular word, sentence, or page. We know that programs dealing with language can only do so much and that a truly proficient translation requires a human translator. Unfortunately, we do not have one and could not cost-justify manually translating our site, which changes regularly, into multiple languages. So SystranR at AltaVistaTM is our realistic best choice.
Aside from the uncertainties of translating one language into another, we have noticed other issues that you might notice too. For example, we have noticed that pages with a substantial amount of text may not be translated to the end of the page. We have also observed timeout messages inserted into with translated text.
We disclaim responsibility for rewritten code, erroneously translated words, changed meanings, (or worse) cultural gaffes unintentionally offered up by SystranR.
Like everyone else, we enjoy reading about advertising messages that made perfect sense in English and the U.S. culture being translated into another language with unintended humorous, absurd, or even offensive changes in meaning.
We hope that does not happen to you on any page of ours, but rest assured if it does, you are reading the words selected by a program, not by us.
We do believe in the concept of an instant translation power, allowing more of us everywhere to understand what others are writing and thinking -- even when it does not work perfectly. Like the unedited results produced by speech recognition software, which is very promising but just joining the mainstream, we suspect that the automated translations will by no means be perfect.
While English is still of necessity the "official language" of Priweb.com, we know from our site logs that we have visitors from around the world.
We welcome your interest in our work and the resources we publish on this site.
How useful is this new feature? Do you have a comment on the value of translation software for web sites? We'd appreciate hearing from you. Just send us a message.
If you publish a web site and want to make it more accessible to the international community, we'd be happy to work with you on implementing features such as this!