Making Your Website Accessible in Multiple Languages
9 tips for designing a multi language website
Promote Brand Consistency
A consistent look, feel and voice should permeate across all language iterations of your site. When visitors toggle from English to French pages, the experience should feel familiar. Consistent branding and messaging conveys professionalism and helps establish trust in your company.
Leveraging a site builder like WordPress alongside a translation plugin like ConveyThis makes upholding brand unity simple. ConveyThis automatically localizes content while integrating seamlessly with your theme’s design elements and functionality. Visitors encounter a steady experience whether they’re on your homepage or product pages.
Direct Users to Language Options
The language selector serves as a critical navigational tool for users on a multilingual website. To maximize its effectiveness, it’s important to position it prominently in the header or footer where it is easily visible and accessible. Placing it in a consistent and recognizable location across all pages ensures a seamless user experience.
Using menu icons to represent each language choice can further enhance the usability of the language selector. These icons provide visual cues that help users quickly identify and distinguish between different language options.
When labeling the language options, it is best to prioritize clarity by using native language names. This approach helps users easily identify their preferred language without any confusion or ambiguity.
Allow Flexible Language Selection
It’s important not to limit users based on their geographic location when it comes to accessing content. Visitors may prefer to engage with content in their native language regardless of where they are physically located. To provide a seamless language experience, allow users to independently select their preferred site language regardless of regional settings.
By enabling users to choose their preferred language, you empower them to engage with your content in a way that is most comfortable and familiar to them. This flexibility accommodates the diverse linguistic preferences of your audience, creating a more inclusive and user-centric experience.
Remembering the chosen language for future visits is also crucial. By utilizing cookies or user accounts, you can optimize the user experience by automatically presenting the site in the preferred language upon subsequent visits. This eliminates the need for users to repeatedly select their language preference, enhancing convenience and encouraging return visits.
Accommodate Text Expansion
When translating content, it’s important to consider that text length can vary significantly from the original language. In some cases, translations can expand by as much as 30% or more. Different languages have their own linguistic characteristics, with some requiring more concise phrasing while others being naturally more verbose.
To accommodate these variations, it’s crucial to ensure that your website’s layout can fluidly adapt to longer or shorter passages. Employ flexible grids that can adjust dynamically to accommodate different text lengths. Use fonts and text sizes that are easily scalable to prevent text overflow or cramped layouts.
For non-Latin alphabets, consider the increased spacing requirements. Certain scripts may require additional room between characters to ensure legibility and avoid visual clutter.
By implementing these considerations, you create a website layout that is versatile and adaptable to the varying lengths of translated content. This helps maintain visual consistency, readability, and overall user experience across different languages.
Mind Cross-Cultural Design Choices
Color associations, imagery, and icons hold diverse meanings across cultures. It’s essential to recognize that what may symbolize passion or love in one culture, such as the color red in America, could represent danger or caution in other parts of the world, such as certain regions in Africa. To ensure effective communication and avoid misinterpretation or offense, it’s crucial to thoroughly vet visuals used in your content and branding.
When selecting colors, icons, and imagery, consider the cultural connotations associated with them in different regions. Icons that resonate well in one region may be confusing or unfamiliar to others. Aim for visual elements that transcend cultural boundaries and can be easily understood and appreciated by diverse audiences.
Furthermore, images used should not only reflect your brand’s identity and values but also exhibit cultural awareness. This means being mindful of cultural norms, sensitivities, and customs when choosing visuals. Take the time to research and understand the cultural context in which you are operating to ensure that your visual choices align with the expectations and preferences of your target audience.
Prioritize a Localized Experience
Execute Multilingual Sites with Ease
Choose Colors Thoughtfully
Color symbolism and associations can vary significantly across different cultures. While red may symbolize passion and love in America, it can represent danger or caution in certain parts of Africa. On the other hand, blue is generally considered tranquil and trustworthy globally.
When selecting colors for your branding or design, it’s crucial to conduct research on the cultural meanings and associations specific to your target locales. Understanding the local perceptions of colors helps you use them thoughtfully and avoid unintended reactions or misunderstandings.
By considering the cultural connotations associated with different colors, you can make informed decisions that align with the preferences and expectations of your target audience. This ensures that your choice of colors resonates positively and effectively communicates your intended message.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that color preferences can also be influenced by factors beyond cultural associations, such as personal experiences or individual perceptions. Conducting user testing or gathering feedback from your target audience can provide valuable insights into their color preferences and help refine your color choices.
By approaching color selection thoughtfully and with cultural sensitivity, you can create visual experiences that resonate with your audience, evoke the desired emotions, and foster positive connections with your brand.
Accommodate Right-to-Left Languages
Ready to get started?
Translation, far more than just knowing languages, is a complex process.
By following our tips and using ConveyThis, your translated pages will resonate with your audience, feeling native to the target language.
While it demands effort, the result is rewarding. If you’re translating a website, ConveyThis can save you hours with automated machine translation.
Try ConveyThis free for 7 days!