Translation Services – Translating Content using an API

What Situations Best Suit Using a Translation API

The first questions most people ask when they go through our site is “What is a translation API” which is quickly followed by “Why would I use it” and lastly “What does it Cost”. 

At its simplest level a Translation  API is a way to pass content between two computer systems (content that needs to be translated and the content that has been translated), however as the demand for translation services has evolved (with the evolution of mobile, apps, websites etc) so to has the functionality being built into translation API’s. As a result there are now numerous scenarios were using an API to manage your translation process makes a lot of sense. Below we will explore a few of them but first I wanted to outline a few of the reasons translation companies love clients using their API

Structured Formats.

The nightmare for any translation company is differing file formats. There is an endless array of structures and formats that content is stored in (as an example docx, xslx, xml, yaml, .po, resx, xlf, html, pdf, powerpoint and on it goes). Each format has its own specific issues/requirements and it becomes extremely time consuming to get content into a specific form that can then be put into translation platforms for access by translators. If it does nothing else an API allows for content to be supplied in a consistent and repeatable format – effectively automating the process of getting content into a translation platform and back out again.

Workflow Automation

A workflow refers to the various options selected by a translation project manager to determine how the submitted content should be treated (what language pairs, who is the translator assigned, any glossaries to work with, reserved terms etc). Within Straker Translations RAY platform the project team can setup prebuilt workflows that any submitted job automatically inherits. This means the content is out and being worked on by the translators within a few minutes of it being submitted.

Supplying Content

Deadlines are important and the translation is usually needed back as soon as possible. The benefit of the API is two fold around content supply. Firstly every segment is available as soon as its completed so there is no need to either wait for the whole translation project to finish or alternatively for the translation agency to resupply the content in completed batches (increasing time through manual handling), and secondly ensuring the translated content doesn’t get corrupted (i.e. encoding issues occur usually when you are moving content between systems using something like word or excel.

Taking into consideration the benefits of an API there are a number of translation scenarios that an API is particularly suited to:

Ecommerce Translation (think Demandware, Magento etc)

With small blocks of text that get created/added to frequently (i.e. product descriptions) an APi is well suited to this sort of content workflow. Small blocks of text can be sent in at any time with minimal effort, translated and returned with minimal human involvement (aside from the translation). This enables fast turnaround on jobs and when coupled with our unique per hour pricing platform can result in significant savings.


Running a multilingual website is complex for a number of various reasons (managing multilingual websites). However an API makes it far easier to get content out of the website CMS and the translated content back in. An API allows CMS users to push content for translation whilst also setting parameters like (priority, due date, language pair and more). Context is also an important component of web translations – with an API the translator cannot translate directly into the webpage however by grouping content together inside a “batch” the translator can work on content that appears on the same page and/or is related.

Game Localisation 

Games tends to be short strings of content (short narrative, descriptions, place names etc) but with significant volume. By adding in elements like character limits (number of characters a translator has to work with for buttons, call out boxes etc), URL paths to screenshots and content grouping translators can efficiently manage the game translation process without the need for supplying content across multiple different

Customer Support Platform

Any business operating in foreign language markets will understand the unique challenges of cost effectively managing customer communications (either outbound sales activity) or inbound customer support (support emails, messages etc). Using an API the flow of communications can be fully automated and cost effectively managed without the need to human interaction.

The last question that usually comes up relates to cost – generally using an API is free. Most platforms that have a Translation API have developed it to drive costs out of their business (so they can pass those savings on) and the only costs associated with using the API relate to ordering the translation services related to them.

Want to know more about how our API works – just contact your local office
Have developer skills – you can try out the API here