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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?
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.
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.
<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
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.