We're creating multilingual variants for certain content types in our site, as well as the home page and several other main landing pages.

However, we are not making (nor do we need) Spanish-translated versions of every page. If we were, I would want to put the "Spanish" language switcher button in the global nav, since that feels like the most intuitive place to find it. But we actually only need it on a certain subset of pages.

Any best practices for placement of language switchers on a node-by-node basis?

  • The subset of pages that don't have the spanish translation wouldn't have to button? – Alvaro Jan 9 '17 at 22:23
  • @rbaleksandar any ideas on how we can address these partially translated websites better? – Michael Lai Aug 23 '18 at 22:02
  • @MichaelLai Off the top of my head I can think of two options: 1)don't offer partially translated content or 2)change the content to something that is as independent from text interpretation as possible, or 3)integrate automatic translation. Point 1) is obvious. Don't sell a car as a whole one if it's missing the wheels. Point 2) is mostly applicable to navigation that is use images instead of text, which of course is not ideal but if you know your target group it can be done. Point 3) is not perfect but is available and automatic translation does improve as time goes by. – rbaleksandar Aug 24 '18 at 7:03

The trouble with using partial translations, for non-English speaking users (or really any language) is that as soon as they hit a page that's not in their language...they think "now what?" That's an obvious problem. There are ways to update your site content for various languages relatively cheaply too. However, there are alternatives.

If you do have language variants for certain pages, and you are using cookies or logins to determine whether that user is English or another language, then it would be relatively painless to integrate Google Translate so that those pages automatically translate to the described language. Then, for the sake of not clearly exploiting Google Translate instead of accommodating your viewers, I'd suggest including a basic text prompt at the top of the page that says something to the effect of "we're working on translating the entire site, mind our use of Google Translate".

In short, it's a very bad practice to have only select content work correctly on a website because it causes confusion and is annoying to users of that language. Best practice is to not do it at all.

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