Developer Introduction

This chapter is written for developers who want to add translation capabilities to content management systems, software applications, SaaS solutions, databases, code repositories, etc. Whether you cope with a small or a large volume of content, articles, products, code files or web pages, then translation quickly becomes a challenge. You likely have the impression that adding translation is expensive, inefficient, or difficult to put in place, technically. It does not need to be so: With Beebox we propose a simple, effective way to make your web site, shop, mobile app or software multi-lingual. Built by developers for developers, Beebox delivers an exceptional toolbox to fulfill your multilingual needs.

To work with Beebox you do not need to become a translation expert or waste your time learning about translation tools or the like! No. During integration you simply opt for a pseudo- or machine-translation workflow. And, once all is in place, turn on the "real" workflows involving translation teams. For this step ask your inhouse translation team or external translation provider for help.


How it works

Translating with the Beebox is as simple as it can get. You start with creating a Beebox project. Each project exposes two regular file directories:

  • The "in" directory is where you copy all files you want to have translated.
  • The "out" directory is where the Beebox will save the translated files when ready.

Alternatively you can send and receive content using the Beebox Web API.


File formats

The Beebox translates almost any file format starting with Word, Excel, Xml, Json, .Net, Html, Indesign: See the list of formats.

Translated files will have the exact same format as the original. For example, if you send an English Word file to “in”, a translated Word file will be placed in the “out” directory. Beebox is capable of identifying what content needs to be translated. It further protects HTML, JavaScript, server, or other format-specific data and ensures that translators cannot alter this information.

How text content is extracted from files can be customized: You may want to exclude red colored text in Word files. You may want to specify the translatable nodes in your XML files etc.

Reuse translations

Each Beebox project remembers translations done in the past and reuses them for future translation work. This reduces translation cost and delays. Imagine you had translated a long Word file. Tomorrow you copy a new version of the file, maybe there is a new paragraph added and another one changed. The Beebox project will automatically isolate those two changes and only kick off the translation for those only. Efficient and cost optimized.

Translation process

Beebox ensures that your files get translated and according to your requirements. It can use any or a combination of machine translation, pseudo translation, human translation. All operations, including reception of source files, communication with human teams, delivery of translations can be fully automated. In most production environments, a Beebox project runs unattended, much like a blackbox that just does the work. Read all about the process steps

Pseudo, Machine and Human translation

How do you want your text translated? Pseudo translation is often used in localization teams and simply "translates" by transforming original text to uppercase, letter shifting etc. Machine translation uses systems such as Google Translate or Microsoft Translator. Human translation connects the Beebox project to a translation team or a translation management system (TMS). All three strategies can be combined: For example, pretranslate content by machine and only then send to a human team for revision.

Integrating with Dropbox, Google Drive and other file sharing solutions

The Beebox IN and OUT directories can be pointed to any directory on your PC or Server. For example, by pointing IN/OUT to a Dropbox directory you can have the Beebox automatically translate any files deposited by your customers to Dropbox.

Projects and languages

One Beebox installation can manage any number of Beebox projects in any languages. Each project is for one specific source language, which is the language in which content to translate is written. A project can have one or more target languages, which are the languages into which content shall be translated. If your original content is for multiple source languages, simply create as many projects as needed to manage the current number of source languages. Languages are managed with their ISO two letter (sometimes three letter) codes.

From test to production

Sending source files and receiving translations is simple and, best of all, independent of the actual translation process that runs inside the Beebox. 

During tests you may activate a pure machine translation process. In production you simply reconfigure the project to link up with a human translation team. You can also use two separate projects, one for testing, one for production. By the way, you can create an unlimited number of projects.


Translating texts contained in a database

Let us imagine that you have a database storing product descriptions in HTML format. Your database is already designed to store texts in each of your required languages; however, the translations are missing!

To solve this problem, you can write a tool or script that dumps the database to an XML file (CSV, Excel, or any other format). The XML might contain one node per product and an attribute containing the product id. First, copy the file to Beebox. As soon as the content has been translated, you can download the translated files, one per target language.  The final step is to store the translations back into your database (i.e. The product id mentioned earlier lets you locate where to insert each product).

Since Beebox remembers every completed machine or human translation, you are able to send a full dump as many times as needed without having to pay for translation again. Beebox locates the new or updated texts without requiring input from the user so that only the identified texts will go into a translation workflow. Of course, it is not necessary to dump the entire database. If you track which products are changed, it may be faster to extract only changed or added products to a single file, or one file per product.

Translating software strings, code files or HTML

Copy your HTML, PHP, ASPX, or other files to Beebox and it  will again reuse previously completed translations to ensure that only the latest changes are translated. The resulting translated HTML files perfectly reconstitute markup, JavaScript code, or server code.

You can customize Beebox to extract translatable JavaScript strings or server code strings next to the basic HTML contents.


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