Multilingual Website Design
We have used our marketing and website design expertise to build websites in many different languages, including:
- French, German, Dutch
- Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
- Russian, Turkish, Greek
- Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Korean
Some of these websites are maintained by the client using our multi-lingual CMS (content management system).
We can also provide Internet Marketing (search engine optimisation and paid search) in these languages.
Issues to consider when designing websites in other languages
The issues fall into three main areas.
- Language translation and character set issues
- Cultural translation
- Search engines
Language issues for International websites
Firstly there is the obvious issue of needing to translate the text into the other language. This should be done by a native speaker to get the best translation, and the context is important too. For example, translating the English "home" into the French "maison" may work in a holiday brochure, but not for the homepage of a website which the French call "reception".
Different languages use different alphabets. Many Western European languages are based on the Latin Alphabet, but there are differences in letters used and especially accents. Other languages are based on different scripts, for example Cyrillic. These all require different character sets to be used within the website.
Text Direction for International websites
Most languages in the world are written left to right. The most common exceptions are Arabic and Hebrew which are written right to left. And Chinese and Japanese which may be written top to bottom. Most Arabic websites will have text running right to left, For Japanese and Chinese this is more variable, and can even be mixed on one website. Japanese is either left to right or it is in blocks going top to bottom and right to left.
Cultural translation or localisation issues
Formatting of numbers, dates and currency
Different countries use different formats for dates, numbers and currency. Of course many countries with the same language also have differences here. For example the US and UK format dates differently and use different currencies. Other items to consider include telephone numbers and weights and measures.
The most popular local websites look very different in distinct areas of the world. This is influenced by local media, and cultural values. When translating websites from one culture to another it may be necessary to change visual appearance to match. As an example Chinese websites look very different to Western European ones in terms of amount of content on a page and colours used.