Multilingual Website Development
If you are living in a country where its native language is something other than English language, then you may want 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 the English language. Still, billions of people speak a different language and are unfamiliar with the English language.
However, most Internet users are familiar with the English language. They could use the Internet, but many subjects are hard to understand for those people whose language is not English.
So, having a website that provides content in a language rather than English is necessary for you. Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Dutch, French, and other languages are general samples of the most used online languages.
Some tips before starting to design and develop your websites:
1. The Code Page
Unicode is The best code page you should choose for your web pages. Unicode is a kind of numeric presentation of characters that is two bytes and can contain up to 65535 characters.
Until now, no human languages in the universe have had more than these many characters. So, by using Unicode, you can show all the characters of your language.
To represent your web page as a Unicode page, add the below line of code in the head part of your page:
2. Tools For Development
You should have a tool to type in your language for creating web pages in Unicode format. One of the tools that web developers widely use is Microsoft Fronsurfacesthis. This tool is installed on Windows XP, and you have the most powerful 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 the options on the page. Appropriate HTML tags would be automatically inserted in the code.
3. Nature of the Language
Suppose your language is Right-To-Left like many Most robust Middle Eastern languages, for example, Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew. In that case, you should tune your operating system to switch from the Left-To-Right to Right-To-Left typing method to type from Right to Left.
If you are a Microsoft Windows user, you can configure your system for multiple languages and keyboards, each having different 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 typing in Farsi. Also, switching from RTL to LTR would be possible by another key combination.
4. Navigation and Design Considerations
Some languages force you to apply some changes in the design and navigation of your website. For example, suppose you have a vertical menu bar. In that case, you may put it on the left of your pages for English and the right for Arabic because Arabic is an RTL language, and people are used to reading pages from right to left. However, this is not a rule, but it is better to consider it in designing pages.
Another issue is the entrance page. If your website is in two languages, you may add an entrance page that makes the client choose the navigation language of your website. This page could be a graphical page with two options for selecting the desired language and entering the website in that language.
5. Font Face Considerations
When creating your web pages in a language other than English, you would be limited in using font faces. A few font faces in Windows are installed automatically and can show multilingual characters.
If you want your visitors to view your pages correctly without installing fonts, you have to use those minor numbers of multilingual fonts. One of the best font faces is Tahoma, which is somehow easy to read, contains all Unicode characters, and is also included in Windows.
6. Database Driven Web Sites
If your website is database-driven and you have forms that clients may fill out and post to the database, there would be lots of 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 significant issue for multilingual websites, and you should be aware that not all major search engines and directories handle multilingual web pages correctly. 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 index in your language.
8. Domain Name
No matter in which language your website is, the domain name of your website should be in English because, at this time, having a domain name in another language is not very easy, and multilingual domain names are a new issue and are under development.
There are some solutions, but they are not yet set correctly. So, I suggest you forget those solutions and choose an English name for your website.
9. Web Server And Hosting
However, primary web servers, like Microsoft IIS and Apache, support multilingual web pages. Still, I strongly recommend you ask the hosting company about this issue and ensure there won’t be problems for your web pages to be served by the hosting company.
Multilingual Web Development
Do you own a site with potential customers throughout the world?
Can you attract more customers with multiple languages on your website?
Then, you can create a multilingual website that offers the website in multiple languages. Maintaining the website in various languages is a bit of a challenging task. Start from the word go; the work will be heavy for the website designers and the SEO optimizer.
What is a multilingual website?
A multilingual website means representing content in more than one language for the convenience of the customers. The content display challenge would be the same in different languages, with some exceptions.
If you want your site to shine in multiple regions, then you can plan to go with various languages. A bright example is if you want to go with an e-commerce site in China and the USA. Here are some of the tips to build a functional multilingual website:
• Language code:
When building a multilingual website, the code should be there for every language on the page. So, the screen readers can access the code and interpret the correct language on display.
Do not forget to set the primary language. If you create your website with English as the default language, that won’t affect much. Then, find the language code and insert it in the HTML.
Use the correct language code. If you use the wrong code and it is an English site, it finally displays another language other than English, throwing the area into a gutter.
• URL Structure:
There is no specific need for creating multiple URLs. However, the language should be displayed in the URL for the customer’s convenience. Generally, the number of links would increase with several languages. Typically, a single page contains the content in one language—the usage of ‘hrefs’ helps screen readers recognize the wording.
• Google and Language Recognition:
Google won’t recognize languages like screen readers or assertive technologies. Google recommends one language per page for easy identification.
• Direction of Languages:
The languages of the US and ARAB will be in opposite directions. You have set the code correctly according to the regional language.
• Font sizes and length of the words:
When it comes to the font size, it is not universal; the size of the character will change for different languages. Likewise, when it comes to the length of the word, the distance would vary for other languages. Be careful with the coding part of the size and length of the terms.
Doing SEO for a multilingual site is also a difficult task. The URL structures will have slight changes for different languages, and content recognition will also be a problem for the crawlers. So, go ahead with a planned strategy. otherBuild a Multilingual website to expand your business to multiple countries and languages.
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