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If you want to switch to english, for me, the label with only «English» is good, but I think that giving context is better: «English version».

What do you think? I have only two languages and I have the placeholder for it. I'm always searching for the best solution.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

This may be very subjective, but to me, the term "English version" suggests that the English version is actually somehow different from the other version - not just in the language, but probably in other things as well.

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I found in a last A/B that «Parlez-vous français?» or «Do you speak english?» is much appreciated and sometimes even cause a a smirk in the user test. Any thoughts? – Benoit Meunier Jul 30 '12 at 15:30

I don't think adding "version" really gains you much besides verbosity. I think just showing a list a languages is sufficient. Perhaps you can enforce the context explicitly by prefixing the language list with "View this page in:" or something along those lines.

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I would label it with the language itself. For starters, "version", like Vitaly said, suggests that the page is not only going to change in language, but also in content. I think there are some additional usability issues you can cover on language selection buttons with these things:

  • add a symbol to the left, either showing a small world or a flag of the currently selected language. I personally prefer the world symbol for these reasons. The reason for using a symbol is quite obvious: The user wants to change the language because the page is not currently in a language he understands, so he might not find the switch if it is just labeled with the language

  • Put all the languages in their own spelling: Français for French, English for English, Deutsch for German and so on. This reduces the probability that the user might fail to select his language because he does not understand the translation of it in the list

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