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How to Translate PO Files Online [2024]

Translating PO files (Portable Object file format) is standard in the software localization process. And if you learn how to translate PO files online the correct way, your productivity will increase exponentially. That being said, we’re here to tell you how to achieve the most efficient PO file translation process for your organization.

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Quick Overview

As you might already know, this text-based object file format (.po) is referenced by Java programs, GNU gettext, or other software programs. PO files contain strings of language translations for user interface text. 

For an easier and faster way to translate a PO file into another language, we recommend using enterprise translation software optimized for PO files. In particular, one that will auto-translate PO file text.

Read this list of the top 11 features to look for in a PO translation tool online. We’ll then recommend a solution at the end of this post.

Top 11 Software Features for Translating PO Files

1. Machine Translation

Want to translate PO files while you minimize human translation efforts? Utilize AI-powered machine translation, which nowadays will produce an initial draft translation of decent or better quality. 

Many CAT tools (computer-assisted translation) now incorporate machine translation to assist human translators. Just make sure to choose one that supports PO files.

Optimally, your preferred software will also include multiple options for machine translation engines (e.g. Amazon, Google, Microsoft).

2. Batch PO File Translation

Some online PO translation tools only allow translation of PO files one at a time. If you produce large amounts of localized user interface text, this is enough of a reason to learn how to translate PO files in a more efficient manner.

That being said, PO translators that translate files in batches are by far the best way to translate a PO file while saving time. This capability is commonly referred to as “batch translation.”

3. Terminology Management

Software localization requires consistency across many languages. Therefore, it’s important to maintain consistent terminology when you translate PO files into another language. To do this as efficiently as possible, only use a  PO translator tool with a high-quality Terminology Management component.

If you haven’t already, first, create a termbase. The next step is to import it into your translation management system. Not only will it streamline the human translation workflow, but it will also drastically improve the quality and consistency of translations.

4. Translation Memory & Dynamic Machine Learning

The best way to translate PO files online with repetitive text is to leverage translation memory and Dynamic Machine Learning. This is the AI component of your translation software.

Translation Memories can deliver nearly-instant quality improvements and reduce translation costs and effort, especially for PO files. Translate once and never translate the same online content again.

Watch the 2-minute video below to get a better understanding of translation memory and Dynamic Machine Learning.

5. PO Translation Editing

The PO translation software you choose must include a translation editor. A high-quality translation editor will save you hours and hours of time. This way, you can improve machine-translated segments that require quality improvements. At the same time, you store them in a translation memory. 

As a result, when those segments appear in future PO files, the highest-quality translation is automatically inserted.

Using this methodology means you will always present the highest quality multilingual content to your users, employees, students and/or customers. 

When you leverage the power of translation editing along with Dynamic Machine Learning, your productivity improves even more. For example, you can automatically find and replace all repetitions of a low-quality translation across a file when you edit just one instance of it.

You can produce custom translations with just a glossary and use your translation memory for on-the-fly machine translation training.

In effect, you train your translation engine over time to deliver continuous quality improvements. Plus, you produce custom translations the way you like them.

6. Translates PO Files Online (Always)

Want to work most productively and with ease? Use translation software with web-based access.

Desktop-based programs can present many obstacles including down time, excessive bugs, compatibility issues and limitations for collaboration or other features. 

These problems can arise whether you need to download the program, or you’re using software that offers a desktop-first hybrid. That’s why we highly recommend you choose an online translation solution for PO file translation. 

We’ll recommend a web-first solution at the end of this post.

7. Encrypted Cloud Storage

Encrypted cloud storage is an important part of efficiently and securely translating PO files online. 

Storing translated files in the cloud means zero confusion over which file version is the most current. It also will provide centralized access for your team (those who are authorized).

8. Translates More than PO Files

If your company also translates non-PO files, find PO translator software that also performs file translation for other formats. This way, you don’t need separate solutions for different types of files. 

Consequently, you’ll also build and leverage a larger translation memory in one place.

9. Collaboration

Does your team collaborate on PO translation? Does someone review and approve translations, while another person translates? If so, you’ll benefit from collaborative features that help your team work together efficiently. 

Look for a PO file translator with functionality such as instant messaging, translation history, file sharing, bookmarking and user permission controls.

10. Compatible with 100+ Languages

It’s one thing to just translate a PO file to English from Spanish, for instance. It’s another thing to translate a PO file to multiple languages. 

Therefore, it’s important to use a translator tool that has all the language pairs your company needs now and will need in the future.

11. Robust API

Want to connect your applications to an API that auto-translates PO files online? Look for a robust API that delivers more than just raw translation. 

You want one that offers multiple API calls and pulls from your translation memory to deliver high-quality translations.

Recommended PO File Translator Tool Online

Now that you know the best way to translate PO files online, are you wondering how to find the best PO translation software with all these capabilities? 

Try Pairaphrase. It’s the AI-powered translation management system for teams who value safer, smarter and faster translation.

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Schedule a demo or share this article with a colleague.

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Related: 5 Tips for eLearning Localization

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