Today we have a guest post from Day Translations:
When you want to go global, one of the things you have to prepare is a multilingual website. It can be an overhauling of an existing website or completely developing and designing a new one. Whatever method is needed for a website, once a client wants to have a multilingual one, you must be ready for the challenge, because it surely is no ordinary task.
There are many challenges in the development process to come up with a good multilingual website. The design process is more difficult and the website maintenance more time consuming. There are also political and cultural issues to be considered aside from the complicated issues regarding design elements. Is having a multilingual website really worth it?
Do you really need one?
From the point of view of the developer/designer, it is a chance to do business and earn more. You have to think if it will really be worth it to have a multilingual website, as the time to do it and the cost involved would make you think twice.
Web developers will charge more to add several languages to your website. The web designer will be challenged by the creation of the web templates. The content has to be translated so you need to hire a translator.
It will cost you more to have a multilingual website
If you want to add more functionalities to an existing website or have a new one developed, it will cost you a great amount of money to make it multilingual. The features of the website will have to conform to the language mix, including postings for web articles. Each content to be added will have to be translated, and if content is added regularly, then it would mean having a translator on call all the time. If you have customer service, then you have to make sure that you have staff that can answer inquiries in different languages. This will make it too difficult and costly for you.
Difficulty in promotion
Your company’s products and your site’s promotions will also need additional work, since you will have to access language-specific social networks as well. If you have several languages, you have to be ready to address different cultural communities, speaking different languages. If you are targeting the Taiwanese market you need to be active in Plurk, where about 37% of traffic originates. If you want to be active in mainland China, you need to have someone speaking the language and penetrate Weibo, which has 30% share of Internet users, and registered users numbering about 503 million.
Language detection system
The question you need to answer would be whether you want to display just the default language or whether you want the website to have a language detection system, which will also require you to choose the system for detecting the language and decide the specific language depending on the browser language of the user.
The encoding will also be different although easier for the developer. The encoding to be used is UTF-8, which is a character set that works across several operating systems and software. It is a stable encoding system that makes sure that no part of the website encoding will disappear even if the site changes into another language.
Deciding on the default language
It is important when you have a multilingual website to decide which language you will use as your default so that the search engine will not get lost. There will also be some challenges to be faced on the length of words and font sizes as some characters require bigger space.
While no one is stopping you from having a multilingual website, this article just wants to emphasize the issues and challenges that creating one will entail.
About the author:
Day Translations is a translations and interpreting services provider with headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and offices worldwide. Our team of experienced and devoted translators and interpreters are available 24/7 and ready to deliver accurate, perfect and timely translations and interpretations in any language pair in the world.