Customer Experience

4 Major Challenges of Portal Translation, and 3 Ways to Overcome Them

Discover the common pitfalls of localising secure login areas-and the characteristics to look for in a superior translation solution.

Reagan Evans's avatar
Reagan Evans

February 12, 2020


The value of translating secure customer portals becomes very apparent, very quickly, when your company engages multilingual and international users. After all, customers won't stay customers for long if they can't read:

  • Personalised account-management pages
  • Product despatch and return information
  • Self-service customer support content
  • Offers for service upgrades, bundles or cost savings
  • Personal healthcare, financial and other private data
  • And more

But localising these secure login areas is notoriously challenging-even more challenging than localising conventional public-facing websites. To provide a seamlessly translated CX that increases engagement, conversions and revenue, you need to understand the key challenges of portal translation.

Here’s a quick list of the pitfalls, along with some best practices that can save your company time, effort and money.

4 Major Challenges of Portal Translation

Even the savviest technologists may not fathom the problems that can sidetrack or outright derail a portal translation project. Here some common ”gotchas” to be aware of:

1: Multilingual Portal Features Aren’t Enough

Some portal-management providers claim their platforms have multilingual features that can easily handle translated content. Unfortunately, most of those features are undercooked. They often demand unexpected effort and resources to maintain.

For instance, these systems rarely have automated translation workflows, which forces your team (or a vendor) to manually manage the process of finding on-site translatable content, sending it off to translators, and integrating the translated material into the localised website.

This process is time-consuming, prone to error, and ultimately expensive.

2: Unexpected Opportunity Costs

Many companies believe they can tackle their portal translation projects with in-house resources. It's best avoiding this technical and financial minefield. The problems your teams inherit will quickly outpace the cost of hiring a seasoned portal translation vendor. Here are a few:

  • Hiring new personnel to manage translations and localised portal instances
  • Translating text, images and multimedia content such as info sheets and service manuals
  • Assessing the quality of translations
  • QA’ing translated content for on-site design issues
  • Accurately parsing text from complex web applications and dynamic-content databases
  • Maintaining the portal's on-going operation and security

3: Costly Legacy Business Models

Choosing a vendor is poses its own risks, too. Many translation providers generate the bulk of their revenue by charging by the translated word.

They’re not incentivized to develop optimizations that might reduce your project’s word count, which would reduce your costs. In fact, their legacy business models depend on maximising your translation spend, not minimising it.

Even when vendors offer attractive low price-per-word translation rates, things may not be what they seem. Low prices may result in poor translation quality, or might distract you from unseen costs associated with editing and project management.

4: Underdeveloped Content Parsers

The engaging personalised experiences that portals provide are powered by complex web applications, interactive functionality and dynamic technologies. This makes them uniquely challenging to translate.

Accurately parsing and compiling a portal's translatable content-which is usually tucked away within React and Angular frameworks, JSON or XML code-is practically impossible for in-house linguists. Nearly all third-party vendors can't make sense of these technologies, either.

The end result:

  • Special phrases in programming code are mistakenly translated, disabling the application
  • Not all translatable content is detected, resulting in a partially-translated UX

Neither outcome is acceptable.

3 Ways to Overcome Portal Translation Challenges

Choosing the right translation partner isn't as hard as it sounds, if your goal is to eliminate effort for your internal teams. Great vendors do this without sacrificing translation quality, speed, flexibility or cost savings.

1: Choose a Solution that Minimises Complexity

Look for a portal translation approach that delivers a world-class experience for your multilingual customers without overtaxing your in-house team.

Proxy-based translation solutions can do that. They operate independently of your portal platform, making translation and operation effort-free for you. The best solutions are fully compatible with your tech stack, even if your portal was built with in-house resources or leverages content stored in legacy (or obsolete) frameworks.

2: Turn-Key Approaches Dramatically Reduce Effort and Costs

The best vendors offer turn-key proxy-based solutions that:

  • Fully manage the task of detecting new portal content, translating it and publishing it in about one business day
  • Leverage technologies that efficiently reduce your project’s word count, which reduces translation costs
  • Offer fair per-word translation rates that include editorial revision, on-page QA and more

3: Supports All On-Site Content

Fully turn-key solutions with superior content-parsing technologies can handle all of the under-the-hood complexities that make portal translation such a burden for IT teams. The aforementioned issues about web applications and dynamic, personalised content are great examples of this.

Great turn-key proxy solutions can parse translatable text from these applications while preserving their framework logic. After translation, they elegantly reintegrate the localised content back into the applications, too.

They can also translate content that “lives” on third-party services or servers, or in multimedia files (such as images, PDFs and videos), all with no customer-side effort required.


It’s critical to choose a great vendor whose solution sidesteps the common pitfalls of portal translation, and embodies its best practices. The best vendors eliminate effort for you, and deliver seamlessly localised portal experiences for your customers-no matter where they live, or what language they speak.

Last updated on February 12, 2020
Reagan Evans's avatar

About Reagan Evans

Reagan Evans is MotionPoint's SVP of Sales. He has a strong background in sales and data management and has nearly 10 years of executive level experience in the field. He uses his expertise in global sales, new business development, sales production, and data organisation to drive MotionPoint's market expansion and new client acquisition. Evans leverages MotionPoint's industry-leading technology to drive sales and ensure higher customer satisfaction.

Reagan Evans's avatar
Reagan Evans

SVP, Head of Sales


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