How to create a multilingual website: Tips & examples

Chris Tsolakis
April 26, 2024
9 min read

Chances are, you’ve come across websites that offer different language and country options to choose from before you start browsing. These types of websites are also known as multilingual websites!

The key to creating a successful multilingual website is maintaining consistent brand identity and messaging across all translated languages. How do you achieve that, you ask?

In this article, we share all the tips on building an engaging multilingual website that attracts international customers and drives conversions. Let’s dive in!

What is a multilingual website?

A multilingual website is a website available in two or more languages. That means the website’s content, including main pages, case studies, videos, etc, is translated into multiple languages. As a result, users have access to content in their preferred language.

Why do you need a multilingual website?

A multilingual website is an inseparable part of every transnational strategy. It helps businesses effectively reach global audiences and establish a strong presence in foreign markets.

If your target audience doesn’t speak the same language as you, the only way to connect with them is to speak their native language. This way, potential customers will feel more connected to your brand, as their needs will be met. That’s the key to international success!

Do you want to expand globally, yet creating an effective multilingual website sounds daunting? No need to worry, we’ll walk you through every step!

How can you build a multilingual website?

Creating a multilingual website requires time, resources, and a well-planned strategy. Here are some tips and practices that will help you build a successful, user-friendly, and SEO-optimized website in multiple languages:

#1 Translate your website

First and foremost, you should translate your website’s content to the different languages your target audience speaks. This may sound simple, but in reality, it is not!

Every culture and language has its own unique grammatical and semantic nuances that must be considered when translating content. While Google Translate may be a quick solution, you probably don’t want to bet your business on its accuracy. If you’re looking for culturally adapted translations that maintain your unique voice and message, then you might want to consider more advanced Machine Translation(MT) Tools, such as DeepL or an AI-powered localization hub like Transifex, to translate your website.

Transifex allows you to utilize all popular MTs, as well as the platform’s own proprietary AI technology, to create human-quality content tailored to your unique needs. All you need to do is connect your CMS or WordPress site, upload your brand style guides and glossaries, and let Transifex AI do the rest. This way, you can ensure that your website stays always updated automatically with your brand-specific and culturally authentic content.

It’s important to give attention to all parts of the website, including the menu, calls to action, and blog. Try to translate what’s needed in a culturally appropriate way to improve user experience and increase conversions.

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#2 Present the available language options in a user-friendly way

Translating your website is just a part of the process! It should also be easy for customers to see the available language options and choose the one they prefer.

They shouldn’t search for long to find what they’re looking for; otherwise, they are more likely to leave your website.

A drop-down menu presenting all the available languages at the top of the homepage is a great way to show users you speak their language and give them access to localized content!

#3 Translate and adjust the visuals of your website

Your site’s content doesn’t only include text. It also includes visual elements that should be translated. So, you should adjust the images, icons, and banners to match the texts’ language and your audience’s cultural identity. You can also translate the subtitles of your videos using subtitling tools.

What makes sense to English-speaking users may not make sense to Spanish-speaking users, so make the appropriate adjustments!

#4 Consider changing the formatting

Most languages have a left-to-right formatting, but some languages, like Arabic and Hebrew, have a right-to-left formatting. 

So, if you want to translate your website into one of those languages, adjust your page layout to match your audience’s writing style.

#5 Make the appropriate adjustments in SEO

Optimizing multilingual sites to match the SEO requirements for every language can be helpful. If done right, it will help your website rank high in search engines’ organic results in every country you target. 

Conduct thorough keyword research, adjust your content in every language accordingly, and write new meta titles and descriptions for every translated page. These practices will make it easier for foreign users to find your website in their native language!

If international SEO sounds too complicated, consider creating SEO-optimized translations for global audiences with Transifex AI to automate the process.

#6 Use outbound links in the language your audience speaks

Besides the content of your website, you should also adjust the outbound links you use to match your target audience’s local preferences. Make sure that the web pages you link to are in the same language as your translated content and provide valuable information to your international audience in different languages.

This will enhance user experience, boost your SEO, and increase your audience’s trust in your brand in different markets!

#7 Change the layout of your website if needed

In some languages, the translated text will be longer than the text in the default language. That means you may have to change the layout and design details of certain pages of your website to match the length of the text.

This will help you ensure that users have a consistent experience on every page of your website!

#8 Adjust dates, times, currencies, and measurements

While you are in the process of translating your website, you shouldn’t overlook details like dates, times, measurements, and currencies, especially if you have an e-commerce website.  

A successfully localized multi-language website should have an updated format for dates and times in every language. Adjusted measurements and currencies are also crucial for seamless navigation in online stores!

Multilingual website examples

Numerous companies across the globe have translated their website to attract customers from foreign countries and increase global sales. Here are some multilingual website examples!

#1 Airbnb

airbnb multilingual website

Airbnb has translated its website into more than 50 languages to serve travelers and hosts around the world! 

The users who enter the website can choose their preferred language by clicking on the globe icon. They will then be redirected to a localized domain, browse in their language, and see prices in the currency they use.

#2 Nielsen

nielsen multilingual website

Nielsen is a company specializing in data analysis and audience measurements. It has a localized multilingual site translated into more than 10 languages, from Polish to Indonesian. 

The variety in Nielsen’s website languages represents the company’s aim to target diverse audiences and make its services available globally.

#3 Coca-Cola

coca cola multilingual website

Coca-Cola’s website is translated into many languages and offers different language options for each region. For example, it has several language options for the Africa cluster, including Swahili, French, Amharic, Portuguese, and English. 

Consistent with its brand voice and messaging, the company has adjusted its formatting to match different languages, using right-to-left formatting for Arabic.

#4 Canva

canva multilingual website

The popular online design platform has localized its website, translating it into over 50 languages. Upon entering the website, users can select their preferred language by clicking on the globe icon in the footer and see the entire website’s content in that language.

That makes navigation easier and more efficient, enhancing user experience and engagement with diverse audiences worldwide!

#5 Trello

trello multilingual website

Trello, a globally recognized list-making website and application, created a multilingual website using Transifex’s AI-powered hub to engage customers in their native language.

Taking the translation process a step further, Trello received feedback from a team of 500 international users to ensure that translated website content matched the needs of every culture.

At the same time, the website’s in-platform glossary tool checked translations across different languages were consistent. That made users part of the process, ensuring they navigated the website seamlessly!

How can Transifex help you create a multilingual website?

translation hub

The key to a successful multilingual website is human-quality translations that resonate with different cultures!

Voted as the best localization software in North America by G2, Transifex offers an AI-powered localization hub for all your content that you can easily plug into your existing tech stack and immediately start your journey to global success.

Sign up for a free trial today and engage the world with the power of AI.

FAQs

How can I make my website multilingual?

To make your website multilingual, you need to translate your content and visuals into your target languages, modify it to meet the SEO requirements of every language and adjust your formatting accordingly.

How can I add a language switcher to my website?

If you have a WordPress website, you can add a language switcher using the Polylang plugin. Once you have installed the plugin in WordPress, you can choose the languages you want from the dropdown menu and add them to your website.

How do websites use multiple languages?

Websites can use multiple languages by translating their content to match the user’s origin. Besides the text of the web pages, multilingual content translation also includes visuals and design adjustments for each language version. 

What is an example of a multilingual website?

There are numerous multilingual website examples, including Airbnb, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Netflix, Hubspot, Apple, and Nike.

How to do SEO for a multilingual website?

To create an SEO-optimized multilingual site that ranks high in search engines, you should use dedicated URLs for different language versions, translate your website’s metadata, and apply hreflang tags.

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Chris Tsolakis
Chris is a B2B & B2C Digital Content Manager and versatile copywriter. Based in Amsterdam, he has helped Tech companies shape and implement multichannel marketing campaigns across earned and owned media.
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