Support multiple languages

Identify the languages users speak

Analyse user demographics data to determine the languages spoken by your users. This data can be obtained through user surveys, usage data analysis, or from market research. You may also find legislation for languages the government must support.

Read more about using data to make decisions.

Make a plan for multilingual support

Consider the feasibility and utility of providing multilingual support. This includes the translation of key content, interface elements, instructions, and forms into the most commonly spoken languages of your user base. Automated translation services can be a cost-effective starting point, but human review is essential to ensure cultural appropriateness and accuracy.

Use simple language

Even in the primary language of the service, avoid using complex jargon and technical terms. Use plain, simple language that can be easily understood by a broad audience. This will also facilitate more accurate translations.

Language Detection and Preferences

Implement language detection based on the user's browser or system settings and offer the option for users to manually set their language preferences.

Use the Accept-Language HTTP header to detect the language preferences set by the user in their browser or device settings. This can give you a default language to serve to the user initially.

Store the user's language preference (in cookies or user profiles) so that you can load the website or app in their preferred language in subsequent visits or sessions.

Clear Language switching options

Options to switch languages are clearly visible and easily accessible across all pages of the service. Users should not have to search or dig deep into settings to find this option. See the design pattern for switching languages.

Support for right-to-left (RTL) languages

If you're offering support for languages that are read right-to-left (like Arabic or Hebrew), make sure your user interface can handle that transition seamlessly. This is not just about text direction; UI elements and navigation should also mirror to offer a consistent RTL experience.

Read more about using frontend frameworks.

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