How to design a multilingual website
4 minute(s) read
Published on: Oct 14, 2020
Updated on: Dec 14, 2021
Creating content in many different languages could add new complexities to your website. The translation of articles is the only hurdle in building a multilingual site and making it difficult. To get rid of it, this is how you design a multilingual website.
1. Translate Your Content
While you are not directly related to building or designing sites, the most important step you will have to take is to start translating your content.
Whether you have got various pages on your site or hundreds and thousands of product descriptions and pages to handle, translating the content will be the most time-consuming task, so you will have to start doing it straight away.
So, your first step will be to translate all of your web content into the language you need your website to be in.
Localize Your Content Too
But translation is not enough. You have to localize your content too. But wait. Before starting the website localization process, you have to conduct market research first and get to know your target audience so that your website localization will be truly effective. While translation involves replacing words from the source language into the target language, localization is converting text, images, and even the color scheme of your website while considering the cultural, societal, and political elements of the target market.
For example, you are an American company targeting the South Korean market. The first thing you would do is convert your copy and content into the Korean language. But when creating the check-out process of your website, you have to replace the currency from $ to ₩. Not only that, but you also have to change the measurement system from imperial (inches, feet, pound) to metric (meter, kilogram, liter). Even little details such as changing the date format from mm-dd-yy into yyyy-mm-dd matters to avoid confusing your South Korean audience.
Decide on Your Multilingual Format
There are two major ways to approach designing a multilingual site. You may either:
- Have one web domain, where you will get your website's one domain name and add subfolders that have the translated pages.
- You could use different domains to host a multilingual version of the website.
Implement a Language Selection Menu
The overall user browsing experience and functionality need to be at the core while making any decision. If you have any website already which you are going to convert, then you will have to start seeing where your newly designed features will adjust to the current theme. But if you are going to create a new site, you will have to simply commence from the start.
Format the Language Selection Menu
When you have decided on a feature or a design that perfectly fits the site's theme, you could start it by creating the menu itself. First, you will need to start by listing up all the number of languages you will offer.
After that, you will have to consider how you list them up on your site's menu. There are mainly two ways that most businesses use this approach, i-e, using text or flags.
Check Your Typography Having the typography of the website in multi-languages is a vital detail that to overlook while you are busy designing your website. You should make sure that you are checking your web content to ensure it is readable in all the languages that you are offering to your users.
Tell Google about localized versions of your page.
Use sitemaps or hreflang for multilingual languages or all the regional-specific pages.
In case you have many versions of a page for different regions or languages, do tell about all these variations to Google as doing this will help users a lot in Google search points to take up the most appropriate version of your website page by region or language.
One thing you should notice is that even without taking any action, Google can still find alternative versions of your website or page. Still, it is generally best for you to explicitly indicate your region on our language-specific pages.