4 points to consider when developing multilingual apps & websites
When it comes to developing or updating a multilingual application or website, it is crucial to consider several points to ensure the success of the project for both the company as well as the end-user.
What Defines a Multilingual Application or Website?
A multilingual website or application is a digital service or product available in several languages serving an international audience. Everything from content to images changes according to the end-users country or language preferences, which could be determined using geolocation data, an IP address, web browser settings, and more.
Regardless of how the language of a website or application is determined, there are certain considerations to take into account when it comes to national specifics:
Translations and special characters
Geographical data (date, time, currency)
National laws and business environment
Differences in digital cultures
Specific performance contexts
Configurations used to access the website or application
Multilingual Apps & Websites: 4 Points to Consider
1) Translation & Special Characters
The best multilingual websites and applications provide the same quality user experience regardless of the laguage being used by the end-user. However, when switching from one language to the next, the text on the site or application must change accordingly. It is essential to make sure that the language niceties, spelling rules, and translations do not result in any UI bugs or anomalies (deformed paragraphs, lack of accents, special punctuation marks). Let us recall that the number and length of words are different across languages. English, for instance, uses a lot fewer words than German or French to express the same idea.
To better understand the problem associated with special characters, it is important to understand that accents like punctuation provide information that can change the meaning of a word or sentence.
For French or Spanish users, a text that is missing accents would not inspire confidence or desire to buy the product presented! Similarly, poorly formatted translations could result in less than elegant bugs where text refuses to stay within its assigned boundaries. This could leave the end-user with the impression that the publisher completely forgot about the translation!
Given that the website or app is available in several countries, it is important to make sure that all the national specifications are taken care of. The product should be able to offer an identical experience, the user's environment or local specifics notwithstanding.
Several focus points are related to geolocalization:
Dependent on the digital cultural practices of both the publishers and the consumers. Every market develops differently but major national trends can be identified: development methods, design, graphic and ergonomic trends, content layout preferences, payment methods, etc. Thus, it is important to visualize your final product in relation to your target populations and make sure that the content will be suitable for the target countries.
In relation to specific regulatory practices: the legal framework for online sales as well as disclosure of information regarding consumers' rights is unique to every country. It is important to note that in different cultures, the content of images and videos can be received differently. Therefore, it is crucial to have alternative options to best fit each culture or market.
The notion of performance is important for product use optimization. Connection speed, network coverage, available DATA flat rates, etc. Each country has its own level of digital maturity whether through the development of the domestic market (operators, subscriptions) or distribution networks, WiFi access, connections (3G, 4G, 5G). Therefore, it is important to find out about national digital maturity to ensure websites and applications function properly based on each country's network conditions.
4) Multiple Devices
In every market, users will access your website or application using multiple devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers that each use different operating systems, browsers, screen sizes, and more. This diversity in configurations, also known as fragmentation, must be taken into account when developing any application or website. It is also very crucial to take national trends into consideration, such as bestseller smartphones, consumers' digital practices, to make sure that the product is suitable for its target users.
If you are planning to launch a multilingual website or application, get in touch with our experts for advice.