Multilingual minefield

When to translate your website? Whether to translate to one or several languages? Who should do the translating work? Which parts to translate?

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Multilingual websites are not a piece of cake to create. Most likely you will need a pretty darn good map to avoid the minefield of challenges and come through triumphant. Knowing altogether 9 different languages we’ve been trying out quite a few different tactics in various multilingual projects. These are some issues we encountered:   

To be or not to be? 

You have to decide whether or not to translate your website. In our projects it has usually been clear cut: if your business could be of interest to someone who doesn’t know the original language of the website – have at least an English translation. And a point you do not want to miss: either have everything translated or nothing, there is no halfway!

Briefly in English helps no one.

Lost in translation 

After deciding to start the translation process make sure to budget enough for a professional translation. Usually this means hiring someone who is close to native in both of the two languages. Specific terminology is almost impossible for someone non-native to translate perfectly.  

A close enough translation is never close enough.

Equal experience

So, you have a menu with company, contact, us, our work, and news in English but hesitate to include all of those to your German version of the website. Think again. If someone is interested in reading about your company in a different language, make sure you provide them with the same cool user experience regardless of the language. Differences between language versions usually only causes confusion and that’s not the feeling you want to leave anybody with.

Inequality shouldn’t be a goal, ever. 

Search to find

Having a search functionality on your website is a good thing. Another good thing is if it actually helps you to find the information you’re looking for. This gets more complicated when your website is in multiple languages. You don’t want someone looking for information in Italian to only get results in English. This is why investing time and money to build a well-functioning search functionality pays off. 

Su búsqueda no se encontró resultos – doesn’t really help you out at all.

Keep these tips in mind and your trip through multilingual website creation should be a breeze.

¡hasta luego!

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