Coming from a developed country, I take the internet for granted. For good or bad my life basically depends upon it. The lifestyle and profession I have chosen rely heavily on the internet and the connectivity it provides. I do my banking online, I chat with friends, I watch videos, listen to music, shop… and the list goes on.
It amazes me that it’s estimated over half of the world either do not have or do not use the internet.
Despite this, global internet connectivity is slowly rising. Developing countries are putting more resources into the infrastructure required for internet connectivity. Each day more of the world’s population is getting the opportunity to access similar content to what I do.
However, there is one looming issue that comes with the spread of internet connectivity: the language barrier.
It is estimated that over half of the web’s content is in English. When you compare this to the estimated 5% of English-speaking people in the world this is quite an alarming statistic. It means that there is a significant amount of internet users that cannot read the web content they are connected to.
Imagine the difficulties you would face if your online banking or music services were only available in a language you couldn’t read or understand. This is true for a large proportion of web users, and their experience is highly impacted.
Thankfully we have the ability to develop multilingual websites. Of course developing a multilingual website is dependent on a number of factors (time, budget and other considerations) but for any website with diverse audience groups it would be highly encouraged.
In recent years Humaan have had the pleasure to work with some amazing international clients. Their multilingual website projects have given us the opportunity to be exposed to diverse language and culture and exposed a number of items to consider when building a multilingual website which include the technical, cultural and content-related aspects.
These projects weren’t without their challenges, and given our experience we thought we’d share a few things we’ve learnt a long the way.