HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. Yes, it is a language. Computer programmers use this language to create HTML documents, or webpages, which make up a website.

Language of the web

Like any language, HTML consists of words; but these words are called tags and plain text. They both make HTML elements. The simplest example of an HTML element is the paragraph:

<p>text text text…</p>.

This element consists of an opening tag, <p> (‘p’ stands for ‘paragraph’), normal text, and a closing tag </p>. Note that the slash ‘/’ in front of the tag name closes the element opened by the first tag. Most HTML elements need the closing tag in order to be valid, but there are, of course, some exceptions.

HTML attributes are added inside the opening tag and they never need a closing attribute. They vary according to the tag they’re in. Source, width, height, alignment, are all examples of attributes. An image tag might have them all, but a paragraph tag could use just the alignment attribute or even no attributes whatsoever.

Let’s sum up:

  • HTML documents are made up of elements (tags and plain text).
  • Tags describe the content of the documents.
  • Attributes describe tags.

Translation of HTML

Over 100 million people access the internet in a language other than English. Studies have shown that visitors are more likely to purchase from websites in their own language, and therefore website translation is a must for international businesses.

After creating and establishing a brand in one language, its reputation could easily be damaged by it being poorly translated into other target languages. Google Translate, or other solutions of automated translation, do recognise HTML elements and maintain its structure; however the translation quality via such automation, especially for marketing text, could be questionable.

Expert translation companies bridge this gap. They are able to fully maintain HTML structure in each localised version, whilst providing excellent quality translations by using subject matter-expert linguists tailored to each market. This gives the final product a truly local and native feel.

Localisation engineers identify the text between tags that require translation, whilst preserving the tag structure fully. This content is then translated by professional, human translators. Post translation, the localisation engineer reintegrates the translated text back into the HTML format, before completing a final QA to ensure that the tags are perfectly maintained and fully functional.

This process results in a multilingual website which will look professional both in the eyes of users and search engines.