Are you considering to expand your business into new markets? There's no better way than presenting your products and services in the language your targeted audience understands best. In the digital world, this implies adapting your website to work in various languages. In this post, we're going to present 5 great examples of multilingual websites that can serve as useful guides and provide a solid foundation. Learn from their successful strategies and avoid common pitfalls. So, let's dive in!
Websites that support multiple languages provide numerous benefits, particularly for businesses that are targeting a global audience or aiming to penetrate a large number of markets. Let's explore these advantages in more detail:
Expanding global reach: Multilingual websites break language barriers, connecting with more diverse global audiences.
Boosting revenue: Multilingual websites reach a larger audience, which often results in increased sales and profits.
Enhancing SEO: Providing content in multiple languages can improve a website's search engine ranking, driving more organic traffic.
Improving user satisfaction: Users feel more comfortable interacting with a website in their native language, enhancing satisfaction and customer loyalty.
In the upcoming sections, we're going to showcase 5 worldwide companies that have successfully implemented multiple languages on their websites. If you're seeking inspiration or guidance on how to include various languages on your site, these examples could be beneficial.
Airbnb is an American company that operates online, serving as a bridge between those who want to rent their homes and individuals seeking lodging in the same area. Recognized and used by travelers around the globe, this platform caters to a global audience by supporting more than 50 languages.
The website uses the user's preferred language configuration from the browser to determine the initial language. In other words, if your preferred language is set to English in the browser, the Airbnb website will default to the English version of the website as well. If it's French, the website will redirect to the French version of the website.
To adjust the language or currency settings on the website, you need to click on the 'globe' icon that is located in the top-right corner and in the footer. These switchers are always on display, so you can make adjustments whenever needed. The list of available languages is clearly presented, with country and language names displayed in their native form.
When you select Japanese (Japan) as the language, you will be redirected to a website with a 'ja' domain. This website is entirely in Japanese, and all prices are displayed in Japanese yen by default.
Selecting the Chinese (China) language option will redirect you to the Airbnb website with a 'cn' domain. The same applies here: content and currency are localized to suit the selected language.
Canva is an online design platform that enables people to effortlessly craft various types of visual content. It enjoys worldwide popularity, with users hailing from every corner of the globe. As for language support, the platform currently accommodates over 50 languages.
The default language displayed on the Canva website is determined from the user's preferred language setting. If English is set as the user's preferred language in the browser, the site will show content in English. Similarly, if French is the user's preferred language, the website content will be in French.
The Canva website features a language switcher in the footer, marked with a 'globe' icon and the language currently in use. When clicked, it opens a pop-up displaying all supported languages, along with a search option to make the finding process more efficient.
Clicking on 'Español (España)' in the language options will redirect you to the Spanish (Spain) version of the page. Correspondingly, the webpage URL will reflect this change by showing '/es_es/'.
The same process occurs if you choose 'Français (Canada)'. You'll be taken to the Canadian French version of the page, and the URL will also reflect this change.
The American sportswear company, Nike, serves as a great model for multilingual websites. Their website supports more than 20 languages and is customized for over 80 countries. Given its widespread popularity and global operations, it's not surprising that the company has made their site accessible in such a diverse range of languages.
The first time you access the Nike website, a helpful pop-up appears. It prompts you to pick your location and language. These options are well organized by regions, with localized country and language names for easy selection.
By opting for 'United States (English)', the content you see will be tailored specifically for that country and will be in English.
Similarly, selecting 'Canada (Français)' will redirect you to specifically designed page for Canada that is in French. The change in your selection will also be evident in the URL, which will contain '/ca/fr/' in path.
To change your location and language settings in the future, you can click on the link located in the footer. This will prompt the same initial pop-up, where you can select new preferences. Notably, this link is placed in the footer, a common area for users to seek such options. It's marked with a 'location' icon for easy identification, showing the currently selected location name.
De'Longhi is a renowned Italian brand, specialized in the manufacture and sale of home appliances. They've earned a good reputation for their well-designed products, particularly their outstanding espresso machines. Aside from Italy, De'Longhi products enjoy wide recognition globally. Reflecting this international appeal, their website caters to a diverse audience, supporting over 30 languages and countries.
When you visit their website, you'll see the international version with content presented in English.
To view the website version tailored for a specific country and language, scroll to the bottom of the page and open the pop-up menu from the footer to select your desired country and language. In this pop-up, you'll see a list of countries and languages, organized by regions. Each country is represented with its flag, and next to it, there's a language code you can select. Moreover, the names of the countries are localized in the respective languages, making it easier to locate the one you're looking for.
Accessing the website's Italian version will present you with content in Italian. Correspondingly, the URL of the page will reflect this change as well, showing '/it-it' in the path.
In the same manner, when you view the Swiss version of the website in German, the content changes accordingly. The URL becomes '/de-ch', indicating this transition.
Ikea is a Swedish company that specializes in designing and retailing ready-to-assemble furniture, home accessories, and various other items. As one of the world's largest furniture retailers, it has a significant global presence with numerous stores worldwide. Their online platform is also very accessible, supporting over 20 languages and customized to cater to customers from more than 50 countries.
When you access their website from your browser, the content will be displayed in English by default. You will also see a link to the online store for your country, which is most likely detected from your location and IP address.
In simpler terms, if you're visiting the Ikea website from the Netherlands, an option to open the Netherlands' online store in English will be readily available.
In the same way, if you access the Ikea website from Puerto Rico, it will preselect the relevant online store for you. Moreover, if the preselected online store doesn't meet your expectations, you can easily switch it using a straightforward searchable select input field.
Accessing the English variant of the Netherlands' online store presents English content and adjusts the URL to '/nl/en/'.
When you access the Puerto Rico (Spanish) version of the online store, the website will adjust its language to Spanish. It will also display products and promotions applicable to Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the URL will update to correspond to this specific regional online store.
To update your country and language settings, you can either click on the top menu or scroll to the bottom of the page. You will easily spot the inputs in both locations to make your changes, as they are properly marked and designed for ease of use.
It's apparent from looking at many multilingual websites that there's no 'one strategy fits all' approach that will assure success. Several elements, like your target audience, your company's aims, your budget, etc., play a role in the development of a multilingual website. To hit your target, it's crucial to understand your unique needs and study how successful businesses solve similar issues - there's much to be learned. Nonetheless, there are a few aspects of multilingual website development that are universally relevant:
Language selection: Support only languages that can benefit your operations.
Technology choice: Pick programming languages, frameworks, CMSs, and libraries that best cater to your needs, particularly in localization. For instance, if you frequently use ICU syntax in your localization messages, choose a localization library that has great support for it.
Organization of localized pages: Go with a structure that works best for you, be it organizing localized pages under domains, subdomains, or language-specific URLs.
Page linking: Make sure all links work properly across languages, as paths may vary.
Consider adding hreflang tags: Use hreflang tags to help search engines better understand page variations and relations between them.
Space considerations: Some languages take up more space than others, potentially affecting your layout. Always test localized pages before going live.
In this post, we've examined various examples of multilingual websites and delved into the benefits of incorporating multiple languages on your website, a crucial strategy for reaching a diverse, global audience. Furthermore, we've also explained the key factors to consider when developing a multilingual site.
While website localization aspects like picking an appropriate localization library, planning page routing, and maintaining connections between localized pages are not too complex, managing translation tasks can be quite a challenge. This involves working with translators and synchronizing code with translations. Luckily, there's Localizely. Localizely simplifies localization tasks, tracks translation history, facilitates team collaboration, offers professional translation services, and much more. Try Localizely for free and see all the benefits it can bring.
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Zoran is a Software Engineer at Localizely. His primary interest is web development, but he also has a solid background in other technologies. For the last few years, he has been involved in the development of software localization tools.
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