You Are Here: Home > Articles > Site Development > Article

 

10 Major Tips To Develop A Multilingual Website To Work

by Mahmood Bashaash

If you are living in a country that its native language is something rather than English language, then you may like to develop your website to offer content in the language of your own country.

There are millions of websites on the Internet that are all in English language but there are billions of people on the earth that speak in a different language and are not familiar with English language.

However, most of the Internet users are basically familiar with English language and could use the Internet but there are many subjects that are hard to understand for those people whom their language is not English.

One example is websites related to pharmaceutics. There are tons of very difficult to understand phrases in the content. The other example is educational websites that basically should provide content in the local language not English language.

You may have many clients and business partners that wish to read your sales copy and product information in their own language.

So, having a website that provides the content in a language rather than English language is necessary for you. Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Dutch, France and many other languages are general samples of most used languages on the Internet. For you to start a multilingual website, it is vital to consider some tips before starting to design and develop your websites:

1 - The Code Page

The best code page that you should choose for your web pages is Unicode. Unicode is a kind of numeric presentation of characters that is two bytes and so can contain up to 65535 characters to show. Until now, there have been no human languages in the universe that have had more than these much characters. So, by using Unicode, you are able to show all characters of your language.

2 - Tools For Development

For creating web pages in Unicode format, you should have a tool to be able to type in your language. One of the tools that are widely used by web developers is Microsoft FrontPage.

If this tool is installed on Windows XP then you have the most powerful set of software to create Unicode documents. FrontPage is a WYSIWYG tool for creating web pages and you can easily choose the language of your web page in options of the page and appropriate HTML tags would be automatically inserted in the code.

3 - Nature of the Language

If your language is Right-To-Left like many of Asian and Middle East languages, for example, Arabic, Persian and Hebrew, you should tune your operating system to be able to switch from Left-To-Right to Right-To-Left typing method to be able to type from Right and from Left. If you are a Microsoft Windows user, you can configure your system for multiple languages and keyboards, each of them having different kind of input methods. For example, you can add Farsi as the second language of your Windows and then switch from English to Farsi by pressing a combination of keys and start typing in Farsi. Also switching from RTL to LTR would be possible by another key combination.

4 - Navigation and Design Considerations

Some languages force to apply some changes in the design and navigation of your website. For example, if you have a vertical menu bar, you may put it in the left of your pages for English pages and in the right for Arabic pages because Arabic is a RTL language and people are used to start reading pages from right to left. However this is not a rule, but it is better to consider it in designing pages.

Other issue is the entrance page. If your website is in two languages, you may add an entrance page that makes client choose the navigation language of your website. This page could be a very nice graphical page with two options for choosing desired language and then enters the website in that language. In some cases, you may consider one language as the base and eliminate entrance page. In this case, you assume most of the visitors may use a language that is dominant and they enter automatically the web pages of your website that are in that language. However, visitors would see a small icon in web pages that lets them switch to the other language.

Other method is to use IP2Country services that can find the country of the visitor from its IP address and by adding some simple dynamic code to your pages, you would be able to switch to the language of the visitor. However, this method is not %100 accurate and you should consider some percent of fault in recognizing the country of the visitor.

5 - Font Face Considerations

When you are creating your web pages in a language rather than English, you would be limited in using font faces. There are a few font faces in windows that are installed automatically and can show multilingual characters. If you like your visitors view your pages correct without any need to install fonts, you have to use those minor number of multilingual fonts. One of the best font faces is Tahoma that is somehow easy to read and contains all Unicode characters also is included in Windows.

6 - Database-Driven Websites

If your website is a database driven and you have forms that clients may fill and be posted to database, there would be lots of very technical issues that you should consider to be able to collect and retrieve data in different languages. This part is beyond the aims of this article.

7 - Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a major issue for multilingual websites and you should be aware that not necessarily all major search engines and directories handle multilingual web pages perfectly and your website may not be listed in many of them. Google is a search engine that indexes multilingual web pages too. However there are some issues and difficulties but it works well enough for your website to be indexed in your language.

8 - Domain Name

No matter in which language is your website, the domain name of your website should be in English because at this time, having a domain name in other language is not a very easy thing to have and multilingual domain names are a new issue and is under development. There are some solutions but are not yet set perfectly. So, I suggest you forget those solutions and choose an English name for your website.

9 - Web Server And Hosting

However major web servers, like Microsoft IIS and Apache both support multilingual web pages, but I strongly recommend you to ask the hosting company for this issue and make yourself sure that there wont be problems for your web pages to be served by the hosting company.

10 - Name Website Files

Never use Unicode characters in the name of your web pages. However your operating system, like Windows, lets your choose the file names in Unicode characters but be %100 sure that theses web pages would have serious difficulties both server side and client side.

In many cases, you won't be able even to upload your web pages to your host space and client's browsers also won't be able to recognize the name of page and would generate error. This is true for name of images, flash files, scripts and other pages. Just use English names.

However I have tried to cover major issues in developing multilingual websites but this issue is something that needs experience and you should yourself discover many of new issues that are not included in this article.

Mahmood Bashaash is the owner of SGNetway.

 

Share this article:

TwitCount Button


comments powered by Disqus

Get free news, updates, strategies and special offers from Internet Mastery Center delivered to your inbox. Simply fill in your name and e-mail address to download your FREE e-book in the right sidebar. It only takes a MINUTE!   For top stories in Internet Marketing, follow us on Twitter at @webmastery.

Recommendations

Passive Profit Breakthrough

Passive Profit Breakthrough

Discover how to make your first $10,000 dollars per month and beyond with list building, e-mail marketing and affiliate marketing.

Speed Wealth

Speed Wealth

Discover the secret hacks and tricks used to generate no-cost laser-targeted traffic and generate $100+/day in ANY NICHE!

Latest Blog Posts

For more Internet Marketing updates >>

 

Monday, 18 Dec 2017 09:29 AM

Loading

Download your FREE report on social networking/bookmarking.

Monetizing Secrets Of Going Web-SocialInside this 92-page report is a social media marketing blueprint proven to generate more traffic and leads with the latest Web 2.0 strategies. It focuses on 2 hot aspects of Web 2.0: social networking and content propagation. It also suggests resource links to Web 2.0 scripts and tools and how you can employ Internet Marketing techniques to convert visitors from social networking sites.

Subscribe Now...It's FREE!

Connect With Nelson At:

          

Blog Profits Blueprint

Hosted By Web Hosting by iPage

Submit Your Links


Internet Mastery Center has been providing Internet Marketing expertise since December 2003. Its mission is to ensure every aspiring marketer is well equipped with all the necessary Internet Marketing know-how and programs.
Copyright © Internet Mastery Center. All rights reserved.   
Anti-Spam Policy | Terms Of Use | Privacy Policy | Affiliate Agreement | Site Map