Website Localisation tips

Date
Apr
11
20140411

Many of our clients understand the value of translating their website content to cater for the rapidly expanding population of non-English speaking internet users. A question we are often asked by clients embarking on translation of their website is whether to use flags to indicate languages or whether to use the language names.

As a general rule, we recommend that this is best done through listing the languages in their respective foreign language (e.g. German = ‘Deutsch’, Spanish = ‘Español’). While country flags can look attractive on a website, they don’t always account for regional variations of a language. For example if you want to display that your website is available in Traditional Chinese, would you use the Hong Kong or Taiwanese flag? The same goes for Spanish – if you were to use the “Spanish” flag, what flag would be used to depict South America?

However, using flags on your website will not cause issues when it is aimed at specific target audiences, such as Japan, where the national flag clearly refers to the Japanese language as spoken in Japan.