You want a multilingual web presence with your WordPress installation? With our partner Eurotext we offer WordPress users a comprehensive WordPress translation service. A plugin we developed together connects the WordPress installation with Eurotext and integrates the translated texts into WordPress directly. All you need is a multisite installation and our plugin MultilingualPress. In the following we would like to introduce Eurotext. We made an interview with Peter Seltsam, founder of the translation agency.
Inpsyde: How did Eurotext come to be? What is the story behind it?
Peter: “The idea for a translation agency was born almost 30 years ago. Back then I was a student of Iberian Romanistics. I spent some time in Portugal as a language teacher and was earning some extra cash as a barman. During that time and later back in Germany as well, I was asked to do some interpreting for local authorities from time to time. Back in Portugal, advertisements for joining the European Union were everywhere – that’s how I came up with the name “Eurotext”. The Eurotext we have today, however, was still a long way off.
At first, I was a little unsure where the idea of a translation agency would take us. Initially, we were mostly doing translation and interpreting jobs for government bodies. As time went on, we began focusing more on industry. Translating large volume documents like operating manuals and product catalogs was a much more sophisticated process than interpreting. We began developing standardized workflows and looked for the right software to support our processes. We are now very successful in that area and can draw on plenty of valuable experience – by the way – I founded Plunet during that time, too. A few years ago we started looking at the then still very new e-commerce sector. Ever since then we have been developing strategies for best practices in the internationalization of online shops and have been very successful in that area.”
Inpsyde: Who are your target groups?
Peter: “We basically target any company that wants to address clients in multiple languages – and since we have plenty of industry experience, we are acutely aware of the issues these companies face and how to overcome challenges. We developed additional services for new e-commerce projects over time, because we were often searching for solutions for our clients and found that there really wasn’t anyone offering anything feasible as yet. In other words: we had to become specialists in the field ourselves. As a result, we developed bespoke services far beyond the simple translation of product texts: these range from international keyword searches to the adaptation of SEO texts, all the way to software localization and targeted linguistic beta testing – we have learned a lot along the way and are happy to share our experiences.”
Inpsyde: What kinds of problems do you solve for your clients? What are your strengths?
Peter: “One of our greatest strengths is flexibility. The fact that Eurotext works with flat hierarchies and that there isn’t much bureaucracy is a definite plus. We can therefore address and solve complex problems in a relatively short time. The companies in the sector for e-commerce are all still young. Most of them grew dynamically. Rigid frameworks and solutions are not the answer here. You need a unique, customized approach for each and every new project.
We communicate with the client to analyze the situation in-depth and then work together on options to integrate a multilingual approach into their existing infrastructures and workflows. Sometimes, all they need is a straightforward translation with target language adaptation of their existing texts – but other projects may be a lot more complex and involve the creation of special content or even the development of meaningful editorial and approval processes. All that, of course, needs a set of appropriate workflows and – wherever possible – automated data exchange.”
Inpsyde: Eurotext has been represented at many WordCamps in the past and your company has also been involved directly as translators as well. What do you think about our community and about the Open Source principle?
Peter: “We feel that the WordPress Community really is something very special. There are, of course, plenty of other communities that are active in other projects and lots of developers, who are fully committed to what they do. In terms of WordPress, however, the whole scene is so diverse, vivacious and amazingly enthusiastic that it literally takes your breath away. That is exactly why we are so happy that we can actively contribute to the project. We host regular WordPress meet-ups at our Würzburg location and design Wapuus for the community. We are having a lot of fun with that and everybody gets to learn about the “WordPress Principle”.
To be honest, we were a little suspicious of the whole “Open Source” idea in the beginning. After all, our background was big industry and things are done quite differently there. Interestingly, our whole attitude has changed because of WordPress. And – of course – we also benefit greatly from WordPress and from the Open Source idea on which it is based.”
Inpsyde: What made you decide to go with Inpsyde as your WordPress agency?
Peter: “It all actually started with a chance meeting at a CMS Garden fair. We later found out that Inpsyde has a really good name in the WordPress scene. A number of people told us that Inpsyde would be a great fit for us and the perfect choice for our own company website and the development of a plugin. We had had quite a mixed bag of experiences with other agencies before that. The multisite approach with Inpsyde’s MultilingualPress was really exciting for us.”
Inpsyde: What was the deciding factor for you to enter into a partnership with Inpsyde?
Peter: “After the first few contacts with Inpsyde it soon became clear to us that we had found a partner, who really understood what we wanted to do and how to implement the envisaged project. And since we also found ourselves generally on the same wavelength, a partnership was simply the next logical step. We are always happy to exchange know-how and experience with our partners. That has worked very well in the past and has given us plenty of valuable input in many areas of our business.”
Inpsyde: What were your requirements for the plugin you wanted to develop?
Peter: “We needed a clean, straightforward solution that could be integrated seamlessly into any existing system. WordPress is, after all, very widely used and many installations are heavily customized. In short: everything needed to fit. The plugin would also have to be very flexible to allow the later addition of more functions. That is why it was so important to think about our long-term objectives and the kind of technology best suited for our goals before we could even start with the development.”
Inpsyde: How does translationMANAGER for WordPress work?
Peter: “Simply put: translationMANAGER allows the targeted export of content, which is then forwarded to our translation portal. The type of content is completely irrelevant: it can be pages, blog posts or custom post types. Once the translation is done, the content is then re-imported back via the plugin. That’s it.
The multilingual content is available immediately without any need for manual manipulation. The only technical prerequisite is a WordPress Multisite installation, meaning that each language basically has its own site. We see that as the most straightforward and easiest solution to work with WordPress in multiple languages. Even wordpress.com works with that same principle.”
Inpsyde: How do you envisage the future for your plugin?
Peter: “We want to offer website and online shop operators a simple and reliable WordPress-based tool. For large-scale WordPress projects in particular, it was to date quite difficult to implement multilingual solutions without a lot of manual work or to implement and process content changes or new content quickly. All that is now no problem with translationMANAGER.”
Inpsyde: Who are you targeting with the plugin and how does your target group benefit?
Peter: “We mainly target operators of large websites, blogs or online shops for international audiences. It can, however, be used by anyone wanting to get their WordPress content translated into several languages.”
Inpsyde: What were the biggest challenges?
Peter: “We had long and sometimes heated discussions about the basic concept for the plugin. What would it have to be able to do? Which are less important features? What would be its technology basis and what would be the resulting benefits and drawbacks? The exact workflow the data would run through in the background was the topic of many lengthy discussions as well. After all: simply exporting texts from WordPress wasn’t enough. When you think about it: that’s where our job begins! It was hugely important to plan exactly how and in what format the data should be selected and transmitted. And the whole thing had to be user-friendly as well. Finding a compromise for all that wasn’t always easy. That is why we tried to integrate the plugin as much as possible into regular WordPress workflows – and I think we did that very well in the end.”
Inpsyde: How did you like working with Inpsyde?
Peter: “It is never easy to get everyone involved on the same page in a project that large and technically complex. Still – we were always certain that Inpsyde wasn’t just looking for a quick fix and that their main goal – just like ours – was long-term success and solid technology. Our contacts at Inpsyde implemented our wishes and ideas constructively, but also asked tough questions and offered valuable feedback. We even had to curb Inpsyde’s enthusiasm a little at times. The team had so many great ideas that we couldn’t even pack everything into the first version. But that doesn’t matter: we intend to continue developing this plugin and to expand the functional scope over time. There is no shortage of topics we can work on together over the next years.”