Of course, the question to have a multi-language website depends upon a few key decisions. Stop to consider the community of people attracted to or interested in your services, products or goals. Do they all speak English? Do they only speak another language? Perhaps their first language is Spanish and they speak some English.
For the sake of discussion, let’s say that portions of your audience fit into each of these situations and call them your multi-language audience. Before discussing how you might accommodate them, look at your resources. Do you have full-time, multi-lingual staff? Are there English speakers and those that speak French? If your staff reflects your multi-language audience, that’s great!
What are you going to do if that’s not the case? You may need to pay for a translator (not a piece of software that translates). Software translators are great in a pinch, where the resources to do a human translation are not possible, but they are not nearly as accurate. So what can you do? I believe it all depends upon your audience and your budget. With a multi-lingual staff you can have them build the different language versions of your site. One thing I recommend is to occasionally have an independent person check the accuracy of the translation. Think of it as a quality check.
You might even consider using different phone numbers (or a phone menu) to bring callers with different language needs to the right people on your staff. When you have a website with a multi-language audience, you face a few decisions:
- Do you build a separate site (domain) for each language? This approach may be confusing to your audience and expensive to maintain two domains.
- Do you build a site with separate areas (sub-domains) for each language? A bit of extra work but a possibility.
- Do you build just one, where each page has a separate language version? Not as much extra work to bring in a