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Multilingual Web site
What all to take care while creating Multilingual web site

 9:44 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Dear Webmaster Experts,

I am Adarsh from India. I am writing you because I need little help from you.

Actualy I need to create Chinese/French/Itallian versions of my existing website(in english).

I wanted to know from you, what all I should take care while doing the converion. Some tips from your experiance. How to show page to user not having say chinese font installed on his machine(will it create any problem or not, do I need to include downloadable fonts).

Some similar points I should take care?




 7:06 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Get your copy translated and then copy-written by native speakers (not just translated). You would be surprised of all the nuances that a simple translation misses.

Put your different language sites on local domains. e.g., mysite.cn for Chinese, mysite.it for Italian, etc.

Don't bother with downloadable fonts and things. Your Italian speaking users probably can't read Chinese anyway, so just have some links to the other available versions.

Each site needs to be developed and marketed separately even if the content is the same. Marketing tactics that work in the West don't necessarily translate to the East (and vice versa). Just make sure to give unique attention to each market area and don't assume that what works on one site will work on the others.

troels nybo nielsen

 8:26 am on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld, Adarsh

Try to get GOOD copywriters who really know how to deal with their language. Yes, I know that it is difficult to judge the quality of writers in languages that you don't understand yourself, but it is important. So extremely many websites in my own native language (Danish) are written by people with a very limited vocabulary and very limited abilities to express themselves. And that goes for large commercial websites too. And I guess that this problem also exists in Chinese, French and Italian.

Good luck with your project.


 12:21 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, specify the language of your HTML document using the lang attribute set to the desired language, if you are using XHTML, use also the xml:lang attribute:

<html lang="zh"> for the chinese version.

Also, you may want to make a relationship between your pages, so you could use:

<link rel="alternate" href="yourchinesepage.html">

So that other user agents know that both pages are related.

Hope it helps


 11:41 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I was born French; I guess I am quite fluent :)

let me know if you need help in French




 7:26 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot all of experts.

henry0 thanks to extend your help for French language.

Do I need to embad downloadable fonts in my site for people don't have particular language font on their


 7:31 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Do I need to embad downloadable fonts in my site...
no. Not unless your site is about downloadable fonts...

 9:25 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

French and Italian should be easy. Coding the page in ISO-8859-1 which is essentially Latin abc ~=(ASCII+a bit), should cover all French and Italian characters. That is to suggest you don't need to do anything extra-ordinary.

The best way to code pages is in UTF-8 = Unicode = unambiguous encoding. This then ensures that the characters your visitors see are exactly the characters as you see them, rather than being confused with other characters as can sometimes happen when you don't have the fonts. There's plenty of resources to find on Unicode.

However, as I understand it, Chinese is still the exception, in that, mainland China may still be using GB or BIG-5 encoding more often than Unicode. There's been threads on WebmasterWorld so you might want to look into that before commiting to Unicode.


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