What are i18n and l10n standards?
I18n and l10n are internationally recognised standards for writing websites and software that are compatible with multiple languages and localisations.
I18n applies to Internationalisation, allowing menus, content etc. to be translated into different languages.
l10n applies to Localisation, allowing dates, currencies etc. to be converted to a local format.
Both of these together allow for a website to feel natural and familiar to an international audience.
What are the benefits of a Multi-Lingual Website?
The golden rule of sales and marketing is to 'remove friction'
The more a person has to think about a product or service, the more likely they are to not make a purchase / enquiry.
Native Languages are easier to read
Imagine trying to read a website written in Klingon (made-up language from Star Trek) or Dothraki (made-up language from GoT), you would soon get bored and move on.
The same goes for non-English speaking people who visit your site.
Even if they are familiar with English, they are likely converting everything they read to their native language for understanding.
By allowing people the option of reading your site in their own language it makes life much simpler for them and the site easier to read.
Confusion is Reduced
American dates confuse us Brits!
This is because they write dates in the format Month/Day/Year
In Italy they would write 294,967,295.26 as 294.967.295,26 - they use commas and full-stops the opposite way to the UK.
By formatting numbers, dates, addresses etc. according to local customs your website becomes easier to understand and use.
Your website is actually usable.
Even if translation software was perfect (which it definitely is not!) there are other things to consider.
Some languages are read from Right to Left!
Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu etc. are all nearly impossible to read on a website designed for Left to Right reading.
Anyone trying to read your website in one of these languages will soon give up if they don't have the option of a Right to Left version of the site.
How can We Help you build an international website?
We are experts in internationalisation practices.
We consider all of the points made earlier when designing a site and make sure that your design:
- Works for Left to Right and Right to Left languages equally well.
- Is designed to accommodate longer words in menus etc. (for example German words tend to be much longer)
- Is designed to convert dates, currencies, numbers etc. into local formats.
- Can accept simple file formats for translations so the translations can be out-sourced.
- Allows for different fonts to display languages that use a different character set (i.e. Chinese)
Call: 01772 339 502