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I've been asked to do some research on multilingualism for our site, part of which involves search engines. I should point out that I'm a translator and have little to do with the technical web side of things, although I do have some web design knowledge, having built a few sites of my own (standards-compliant HTML and CSS). And being as I'm the resident 'guru' on the technical side of translation with an interest in IT, I guess they thought I was the right man for the job!
Our site is a digital library hosted on a .lu (Luxembourg) domain but is soon to be switched to .eu. The library contains multimedia documents on the history of the EU and is Flash based. Each document has an HTML showing keywords and a synopsis of what the document is about. Google picks these up pretty well, but I'm not sure about the multilingual side of things. The site contains documents in pretty much all the EU languages and Russian, many of which are available in several languages (original and translations). I've been asked to look into how we could ensure that search engines show multilingual results. For example, if one were to do a search for London, results would show London, Londres, etc. The plan is to integrate such a search engine into the site.
I will be collaborating with the techies on this project and will learn more about how it works in our specific case as I go along, however I'd like to get some preliminary work done on the multilingual aspects so that we will at least be talking the same language when the collaboration begins.
I'd appreciate any hints, tips and pointers that you think would be useful for my research.
As far as your question goes, are you looking just to get your content spidered and indexed or are you intending to rank well with it, or for specific sections of it?
I'm not quite sure anyway what you are asking on the multilingual side of things...
You say that you have synopses of all documents in all languages - are these not in the search engines? (If you don't know, do an advanced search on each engine in the specific language and restricted to your domain.)
If they are not, it is probably a problem with your site navigation which a sitemap may fix.
Then you seem to have a second part to your question which is talking about an internal multilingual site search, which I'll leave to someone else for their recommendations. Possibly think about tagging?
As far as the search engines online are concerned, I think the spidering and submissions is taken care of, as is the optimisation. Is it permitted to post links to examples here? I think it would help if I could show examples of what Google brings up in terms of synopses and site links.
I've been asked to look into how we could ensure that search engines show multilingual results. For example, if one were to do a search for London, results would show London, Londres, etc
If a user searches for London on Google, for example, he won't find your "Londres" page unless the word London is also in the text or in links pointing to the page.
Not sure if that's the answer you wanted though. Or if I've got the question right :)