How to create a multilingual website

How to create a multilingual website

The expertise of web developers are not enough to address the challenges of a multilingual site, a website with many languages can cause problems if not configured correctly.

Adding several layers of languages to a website might seem like a complicated idea initially for web developers because structuring a multilingual site can be pretty tricky. Here are some useful tips to create a multilingual website so that people can benefit from them in the long run.

  1. Get Translated

This first tip is not related to web development techniques directly but can help the web community for developing a multilingual website. When you offer content in several languages, it’s best not to rely on translation software. There are several translation tools including Google translate which is not so difficult to use in a professional environment, but the accuracy of translated content may vary. That is the reason a human translator is a better option for people because humans have a better vocabulary base than a software.

  1. Presenting Language Options

A multilingual website is not so useful unless it is capable of changing so many languages; most of the times a drop-down options found in multilingual sites placed at the top right of the page. There might also be switched in the footer; whatever the pattern you follow here, make the dropdown easy to access to avoid problems.

  1. Flags

To indicate the language, flags are often used. But using flags is not an appropriate way to develop the multilingual websites. The reasons for not using the flags are that they represent the countries, not their languages. A country may have one or more than one official flag; visitors might not recognize a flag. Referring a language in its own language is better for example, mention German as Deutsch. If you order the languages in alphabetical order, that will also help a lot.

  1. Redirecting

Certain websites are able to redirect the users to homepages when they switch languages. This task can become a complex one and confuse the users. Some users may have to find the page again; therefore a better plan to keep the website visitors happy is to make sure that they are presented with the same page.

  1. Encoding and Fonts

To make sure that the page is readable with the right font, the character encoding at the head of the page must be correct. When considering the actual fonts is a good idea which must be compatible with the number of languages you want to support. The font that is used should have all the characters that are used commonly. There are hundreds of characters in many different languages including English and Japanese that could make the font file incredibly heavy as well.

  1. Right to Left and Left to Right

The languages do not have a proper direction that is one that is hard to understand while developing a multilingual website. For example, the Azeri language can use the Cyrillic and Latin scripts; it can also be written in Arabic script which is read and written from left to right. Therefore your entire layout must be configured appropriately including the navigation, buttons, sidebars, and dropdowns.

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