Going beyond translating a website

UncategorizedJune 07, 2017

Going beyond translating a website

So a client had made one little challenge to me, put his website in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Easy peace. For sure make this is pretty simple, and I had been doing that for a couple of year, websites with more than one language: I have some experience with that, so why did I doubt of my? I knew exactly how to do it, and with WordPress it’s simpler than I’m used to – not to mention WordPress community. Ok, gonna give you some context of how I worked with this.

In the beginning of 2015 I saw that my public wasn’t only Brazilians, but the whole world, and language was a big challenge. Not for me, but for my systems. I handle it, in three steps:

Step one, the stupid apprentice

Of course that when you are making your own CMS and trying to reengineering the wheel, you are this type of mean person and don’t want to see how other people did it before you. I was this kind of person. Back then, on 2015 spring to December 2016 I put a Multilanguage system on my websites. And that was terrible, for two reasons:

  1. The code was really bad written. Like, really bad. I hadn’t made the resources files and dictionaries to put all string of my website there, I made on the code. I’m not proud of this. I’m so not proud of this that there is a gap between the beginning of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 on my repository. Just to you have an idea, the website was in Web Forms! Yeah, ASPNET WEBFORMS! Disgusting I know! And this was in 2015!!! I had issues, serious issues.
  2. I was only translating some content, the blog post was in Portuguese, and yeah… Definitely that was no pleasing me.

Step two, let’s make the right thing

This time I decided to the right thing, and early 2016, I remade, from the ground, my website to Asp Net MVC – and later 2016 I made it aspnet core -, and create the pretty resources files. The code was really beautiful, and now I’m proud of it. But still, my website was divided in three parts:

  1. vtnorton.com, a aspnet core website with translation to English and Portuguese.
  2. dev.vtnorton.com, a WordPress website for English posts.
  3. blog.vtnorton.com, a WordPress website for Portuguese only, posts.

This three parts was mixed, sharing the same files for the theme/layout (the Heartthrob framework, CSS and JavaScript), even some webservices. It worked for a while, but still, it wasn’t what I needed and wanted. At least, my code was really a good code. And of course, a automatic translator, from Bing to the other languages around the globe. The world would be my client now!

Also, because of this really great new way – at least for me haha – to build a Multilanguage system, I made my apps (all apps, except Formula – Universal Code Editor), with the support to English, Portuguese, Italian and French. It was a different experience, even that I was using the same language and framework.

Step three, and here we go!

A few weeks ago, I received a proposal of one client that wanted his website in several languages. What he wants is pretty simple, and yes I can make it. He wants a WordPress blog in English, Portuguese and Spanish. A blog in those three languages, not threes blog each one with one language. This is really simpler than what I had made. Except that I didn’t.

He asked me, and of course, I said that it was possible to make, but I would analyze the situation before. I runt to my office, and in a couple of hours I was able to run a test website with several languages exactly like his wanted. Some WorPress’s plugins, some theme adaptation and here we go… but of course, to ensure the success of your client  you had to use your product first. Have you ever went to a Apple Store and saw their employee using a Samsung phone? It just don’t make sense. If you are selling, you should use your product. That’s the rule.

During the last week I remade somethings on my website, including the removal of Bing translator. The world could be my client, but no one was using it, and It was giving me more work than pleasure. Also I check line by line of my website code and I discovered more than 50 string on the site that wasn’t being translated (and, just because, I made the Formula Privacy Police available in Portuguese? Do this mean that Formula is coming in Portuguese? I don’t know… I honest don’t know).

And I went further, I create a merge on my both WordPress. And now I only have one, and it took some structural changes, and even some layout touches to receive the dev.vtnorton.com. I utilized Loco and PolyLang to help me translate the website to English and Portuguese. (And, yes, I changed the host, and more than 20 issues was fixed doing that).

Of course I took the opportunity to make a really good cleaning on the site, I removed old categories, posts that didn’t made sense on this blog and so on… a really update in everything.


I was in doubt with this idea of building a website in several languages for this client, cause I really haven’t done it before. But still, I made it. It’s complicated and if you read it, you understand me. So, before you tell I tell my client i needed to take his problem, to fix his problem, to experience his problem, and then, I can deploy on his solution.

Can we begin to use our products before shipping it? Would it be too much to ask? Now I’m in peace to know that my product will be useful, and for good.