jazzy-software - The Blog

jazzy-software Monday, 30. October 2023

Updated Friday, 29. March 2024

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Multilingual websites

Would you like to address people or win customers in several language areas with your website? Then you need a multilingual website.

Multilingualism is not a unique selling point. A number of plugins are already available for Wordpress that can be used to implement multilingualism on a Wordpress website. Even website builders like Wix offer multilingual functionality. But it is necessary to pay attention to the details. It is not enough to simply publish in another language. The free versions of translation tools are often very limited.

We offer multilingualism for our pages. We carry out the translation using Linux on-board tools and, as standard, with Google Translate in the background. This already leads to surprisingly good results and is not limited in scope.

Depending on the requirements of the translation, the result can be improved. But first about the structure of a multilingual site.

The structure of a multilingual website

We have four ways to structure multilingual websites:

1. The easiest - and also worst - option is to use call parameters:

www.beispiel.com?lang=de

This is not necessarily recognized correctly by search engines and leads to a lower ranking of the pages due to “duplicate content”. This approach is simply wrong.

2. The most complex option is to set up country-specific domains:

www.beispiel.de, www.beispiel.es

This domain strategy is particularly suitable for large companies. We need a separate domain for each language version, and of course it must be available. In this case, it is recommended to develop a separate page for each country, which can also address cultural peculiarities.

3. We can set up the language versions as a subdomain:

es.beispiel.com, de.beispiel.com

A subdomain can be set up free of charge, but there is more effort involved in setting up and managing the subdomains. Here, too, these are separate websites for the search engines, and developing a separate page for each may be a better alternative.

4. The fourth and simplest strategy is to set it up as a subdirectory:

www.beispiel.com/de, www.beispiel.com/es

This is the best choice if the content of the pages is similar or the same and automatic translation is used. The search engines recognize the website as a page with different language versions. If it's done right.

Multilingualism on a website is not limited to text translation. We want search engines to index our pages, and there are a number of pitfalls. We must ensure that the language versions of our site are not penalized as duplicate content. And we don't want any loss in the loading speed of our pages.

So we need to correctly define the language versions in the page. We need a sitemap. The sitemap quickly becomes so extensive with language declarations that manual creation is out of the question. It must be generated automatically.

Our features for multilingual websites

1. Translation of page elements (buttons, menus, information texts...)

2. Translation of page content (text) in the background

3. Generating page links from the translated heading

4. Possibility of post-editing all translations

5. Option to set the language on the pages

6. Generation of the foreign language meta tags and the HTML language declaration.

7. Generation of the sitemap for submission to the Google Search Console

8. If there is a comment function, optional automatic translation of user comments

9. When implementing a chat function, optional real-time translation of the chat between participants in different languages.

Is machine translation sufficient?

That depends on the goals and possibilities. A car company that wants to gain a foothold in a country certainly has different requirements and options than a small Internet retailer that wants to expand its market. The car company will also want to respond to the cultural characteristics of a country and design its own website for this country.

Other companies will translate automatically, but have a professional translator look over the translations. Automatic translations are getting better, but they are not perfect.

For others it will be enough if the pages are understandable for the visitor. This is what automatic translation does today.

A multilingual website can offer a number of benefits

1. Increased global reach: A website that is available in multiple languages can reach a wider audience, including those who speak different languages. This can lead to more traffic and sales.

2. Improved User Experience: A website that is available in multiple languages can provide a more user-friendly experience for users who speak different languages. This can lead to greater engagement and retention.

3. Increased customer base: A website that is available in multiple languages can attract customers from different regions and cultures. This can lead to higher sales and earnings.

4. Improved Search Engine Optimization: A website that is available in multiple languages can improve search engine optimization (SEO) by providing more relevant content in different languages. This can lead to increased visibility and traffic to the website.

5. Improved customer service: A website that is available in multiple languages can provide more accessible and convenient customer service to customers who speak different languages. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall, a multilingual website can provide a competitive advantage in the market by reaching a wider audience, providing a more user-friendly experience, attracting customers from different regions and cultures, improving search engine optimization, providing a more accessible website, and enabling convenient customer service experiences.

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