How web design multi language

Posted on 2009-02-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
How design a good mutli language website
Question by:smoketrain
1 Comment
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

Paranormastic earned 2000 total points
ID: 23795509
You can use javascript to detect the language of the browser, then redirect to the appropriate page for that language.  You can check for localized versions or just the main language - for example you can look for 'en' for English or 'en-us' for American dialect, 'en-uk' for British dialect, 'en-au' for Australian, etc.  Note that the occasional rare user may experience an issue if they mask the language of their browser by declaring no default language - my advice for this issue is to just move on an only worry about it if it is a real issue for some reason as it will take awhile to research.

Alternatively, you could have pictures of various flags prominently displayed on the home page, or the name of the language written in that language.  When you click on it, then it will redirect to the appropriate site for that language (e.g. www.domain.com is the primary language for your site, lets say german, then you could link to en.domain.com for english, fr.domain.com for french, ja.domain.com for japanese, ch.domain.com for chinese, ru.domain.com for russian, etc.).  Some companies will also check for a language cookie and if none will show a basic world map, click the continent, then click the country, then set the cookie.  Make sure you have an option available to change that setting as some people may like to find similar info in another language or area to send to others.

You can set up a quick replication of your site by using something like Google Tools: http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en
This will get you a basic interpretation for your site quickly while you wait for the real interpreters to redo the site.  12 people will give you 13 responses to this as to whether it is a good idea or not.  It gets the other sites out quickly, even if not perfect - which can be an advantage.  However, an oddly worded site can sometimes reduce customer confidence so they may not want to come back, making it not only a wasted visit but a negative experience.  You definately need to incorporate a review to make sure there are bad terms presented by accident in the interpretation making it either offensive or nonsensical (for example, in russian the word MIR can mean: earth, peace, the name of their first major spacestation).  However, the quick interpretation can be reviewed to make sure it isn't too far out there and make some minor changes to clean it up to get the first rollout quicker and make it 'professional enough' while you wait another month or two for the final results.

For Javascript, here is a good article:

A brief example would be:
var userLang = (navigator.language) ? navigator.language : navigator.userLanguage;
alert ("The language is: " + userLang);

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