Offering content in several languages can add many new layers of complexity to web design. Translating articles is only the first hurdle; structuring a multilingual website can be pretty difficult. To help you get it right, I’m going to offer up some tips, and share some of our experiences at Tuts+ for going multilingual.
1. Get Translated
The first tip isn’t really related to web design, but it’s important nevertheless. When you offer content in several languages, it’s best not to rely on translation software. Don’t get me wrong, tools such as Google Translate are easy to use and constantly improving, but the accuracy of the translated text varies (we’ve even fallen foul of this at Tuts+ on occasion!)
Initiatives such as the Google Translate Community continually refine how translations are made
Initiatives such as the Google Translate Community do refine how translations are made
For this reason it’s a good idea to get a human translator. Either opt for a paid service like Fliplingo, or (depending on your project) use community-driven translation platforms like Native. Humans have a better knowledge of local vocabulary and the subtle nuances of language. At the time of writing, automated software hasn’t reached that point.