SharePoint 2013 brings in Machine Translation Services, which provides automatic content translation or packages up content in a standard format for human translation. For the automated translation, it uses a cloud-based translation service, sending content to the web to a Microsoft translation service and then bringing back the translated material. If you have to follow regulations which prevent the passing of content to the cloud, there is an option to buy the translator service to run on-premise.
You also have the option to create files for manual translation. As part of the service, the system creates XLIFF files, which is the standard used by translation vendors. If you don’t want to make use of the automated translation, you can take these files to be translated by human beings.
The Machine Translation Services makes it much easier to have global variations. When you create or change sites, you can use Machine Translation Services to automatically translate the pages and content to provide local-language versions of files on the variation site. When creating variations, the use of automated translation is an opt-in selection. It also includes translation of managed metadata terms, so you can use your managed taxonomy but still give people terms in their own language.
Once again, Bill Baer has a nice blog post on the subject.