Go-Live Checklist – part 1: Site Ownership Verification

We have seen how to initially create the localization project. We may have customized the machine translations with our own terminology (User dictionaries), and pre-translated some material in translation memories. We may have replaced some external resources such as images and links with others, specific to each target language. And we may even have defined page-specific rules to prevent translation of detailed content.  This and a lot more is covered in other tutorials and the user guide as well as the videos.

Now it’s time to go live. What are the last and possibly final steps to make the localized websites (which SYSTRANLinks has created and is hosting in the cloud) visible to the entire world, including your future new visitors and customers, but also to the search engine robots?

Here are the key remaining steps, of which only the first one is truly required, either because the others have adequate default settings that will generally suffice, or because the options described are not always needed:

  1. Website Verification: Can you prove to SYSTRANLinks that you are the legitimate webmaster of the source’s main site?
  2. Live status:  Is each of your localized site set to go live?  (default setting is usually adequate)
  3. Publishing Mode: Are your validated sentences actually going public? (default setting is usually adequate)
  4. Language Selector: How will visitors to your main site’s pages be able to switch between language(s)? (default may be adequate but you have to upload it on your source website)
  5. Domain Strategy: Do you want the localized site(s) that were created by SYSTRANLinks to be served through your own custom domain to make it consistent with you web strategy, fully SEO friendly and easier to remember? This is an area that deserves special consideration and attention too.

Here is a brief overview of the 5 steps:

The first point in the above list, Website Verification, is indeed always required. In other words, you must act upon it. Without verification, only you will be able to see the results of your project’s  modified content, reviews, post-editing and other activities, and only as long as you are logged in under your SYSTRANLinks account. Others may have experimented with localizing their own sites, under their accounts, but they may also have experimented with the same site as you did. Each will have their own localized versions, and nobody else but them will see theirs. In order for  the rest of the world to see the localized pages, you must show that you can write to the source website. This is the Verification process.

The Live status is also very important, but it is enabled by default. You only need to re-activate it if for some reason it was previously turned off. We’ll see how and where to do this.

Publishing Mode is an option that controls whether the sentences that you review and validate are going public immediately or not until later. By default, this option is set to continuously make validated sentences go public: if all other conditions are met, including successful site verification and Live status enabled, your validated edits are immediately published and automatically visible to visitors coming to your localized site(s). There are other options, namely manual or synchronized publishing, i.e. publishing upon request and automatic publishing upon completion of a task. We’ll explore these in some details in another tutorial. If you did not change the publishing mode in your project, you should not have to worry about this option.

The Language selector, is also optional. Not everyone will want one. In some cases, you might have an original English site, and a localized French or Spanish site, but no need (or desire) to let the visitors from one site find their way to the other site. It’s rare but it is imaginable. Perhaps you want them to come to a global portal page where the initial language selection is done, but again no need to offer switching across the sites once they’re in one or the other site. What’s also possible is that the option to switch from one language to another may either be offered in each and every page visited throughout the site, or it may be limited to just some of the pages, like the home page. You may want to use SYSTRANLinks snippet or to design your own. It is highly customizable, and will be covered in detail in another tutorial.

Finally, the Custom domain serving feature is also an optional one. You might not want to let your visitors see that the localized sites are hosted as a subdomain under …systranlinks.net. You may want to use your own domain to comply with your corporate strategy and enhance SEA. Or you might not care but still want to make the url shorter and easier to remember. To that effect, you can specify a custom domain that you own, to be used instead, for serving your localized sites. This also has implications if the site is a secure site (SSL), because we will want to install the certificates of the site’s url that will be served indeed. Once again, we’ll cover this optional feature in another tutorial.

In this tutorial, therefore, we’ll discuss the first point: the Verification Process and the second, Go Live status.

1.   Website Verification

Simply go to the Configuration panel, and click the Verify button to start the verification process:

Golive1 001

Notice that at this point, the Verification Status shows that the Website is not yet verified. You’re about to change that.

 

Important Note – If your site uses SSL:

If your site uses SSL, i.e. if the domain was specified with https:// for the secure communication, you will be asked to contact SYSTRAN and send the certificate info of your site, so that it can be installed on your localized sites too.  Click the Verify button and follow the instructions. The verification process in that case is not automatic.

What follows below applies only without SSL.

How do you prove to SYSTRANLinks that you are the legitimate webmaster? You need show that you can write to the website. You show that you can either place additiona content into the home page, or that you can deposit a file into the top (home) directory.

SYSTRANLinks lets you choose either method. In either case, a unique token will be handed to you that identifies your project. Your mission is to write the unique token into the home page or the home directory, as a file upload.

The default screen shows the method in which you don’t have to edit the home page. You simply need to download the unique token file, and upload it into your website’s home directory.

Note: you cannot do this just temporarily and later remove it. The unique token must remain on your website’s top directory. This is for various reasons, including security. If your site was hacked and hijacked, you could later recover it, and prevent the localized sites (that the hacker might have created) from staying live.

Golive1 002

As you can tell, first you download the token that SYSTRANLinks offers you.  Save it. Then upload the saved file to your website’s home directory. Depending on what tools you use and how you access your website, you might actually do all this in one click, a right-click to be specific, in which you select “Save Target as…” and download & save the file directly into the directory of your website.

Whatever technique you use, once the file is safely deposited in the top directory of the website, you should be able to see it by clicking on the link shown in step #3. If the link is not good, then you were not able to deposite the file there.

The last step to complete the verification process  is for you to tell SYSTRANLinks that it’s done and ready for checking: Click the Check button, and SYSTRANLinks will attempt to read the file and compare it with the unique token that was handed to you. If it matches, it’s good. The project goes live, and any of the target language sites that are currently enabled are immediately live.

 

Reminder: it is still possible for some validated translations not to appear immediately as expected, if the publishing mode prevents it. To learn more about Publishing mode for reviewed and validated sentences, look for the tooltips in the Translation Settings panel and in the User Guide.

 

 

Alternate Method

Last but not least, here’s the alternate method:

Golive1 003

In this case, you must edit the homepage and place the unique token as a meta tag into the page’s <head> section, between <html> and <body>. After You’ve updated the home page in this manner, click on the Check button, for SYSTRANLinks to verify that it can identify the token, proving that you are the webmaster with write permissions. Again, keep the tag in the page.

 

After Verification

This completes the Verification process. At this point, you or anyone else should be able to open a web browser, including a different one, different  from the one on which you are logged in to your account, in order to view the localized site(s). That is, provided that the localized sites are set to ‘Live’, which by default they are. For example, if your site is

mysite.com

then there will be a site named as a subdomain to systranlinks.net:

mysite.com.systranlinks.net

or similarly (perhaps with the addition of an additional id before the systranlinks.net part) for the same language as the source original. For example, your original site in English. Additionally, for each target language that you selected, there will be a site named like this:

xx.mysite.com.systranlinks.net or xx.mysite.coma123.systranlinks.net

Where ‘xx’ is the language code. For example:

For Spanish: es.mysite.com.systranlinks.net
For French: fr. mysite.com.systranlinks.net
For German: de.mysite.com.systranlinks.net

At this point, you’ll be able to access and navigate these localized sites from anywhere a web browser can point to the world wide web.

 

2.   Live Status – How to Verify & Re-enable it

We did mention at the start of this tutorial that on occasion, you may need to re-enable the Live status. This is enabled by default, but you may have preferred to disable it at one point in time. If this is the case, or if you don’t know if someone else in your team may have disabled it, this is how you can check and set it:

  • Go to the Settings -> Configuration  panel, and
  • Look for each of your target languages to make sure that their Live status is set to ON

If a site is showing the Live status as set to OFF, it will not be accessible to your visitors, even if you have the general website verification process completed as described above.  In order for the localized site to become accessible to the world, it must be set to LIVE = ON. To make it so, simply click the switch to toggle it to the ON position, and click Apply.

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In the example above, we have the Spanish ready and set to go live. We also have added French, but that project is not quite ready yet, so we have turned the Live status off for French.

 

What’s next?

Of course, you may want to offer a simpler url for the localized sites, something easier for your visitors to recognized or to remember. To that effect, you can configure custom domain serving. We’ll cover this in another tutorial. It is not required, but certainly is often desired, and an important part of finishing up and going live. We’ll also discuss how to let the visitors choose the language. There are many options to consider.