I have an e-commerce website available in French and English. All the pages are translated (homepage, about, shop, terms, etc.) excepted for the Blog which is only available in French for the moment.

I was thinking of putting a language switcher in the footer. What are the best practices to deal with content that is untranslated?


Display a banner at the top of the blog that indicates a published translation for this section is not yet available, but still show the original language.

If you display the original language, a user can do with it what they wish. Often times, browsers can automatically detect the foreign language and offer to translate automatically. Alternatively, this also enables users to copy and paste into other translation tools. Obviously this won't lead to a perfect translation, but may be satisfactory in the interim.

If you want to go above and beyond, you could allow the user to request to be notified when the page is published in their preferred language. This has an added benefit of providing you with metrics indicating for which pages translations are most desired and you could prioritize accordingly.

Lastly, do not hide the language switcher based on translation availability. Removing it based on whether or not a translation is available will lead to additional friction that adds no real benefit.

  • Great answer. Suggest word last paragraph as "do not hide the language switcher based on translation availability" as it took me a while to understand that "do not show..." actually means "do show", in this case.
    – qoba
    Apr 2 '19 at 5:19
  • "Often times, browsers can automatically detect the foreign language and offer to translate automatically." - maybe this possibility should be mentioned explicitly in the banner ("Your browser may have provided an automated translation of the original page content for you."). The problem is that these automatic translations often border on being incomprehensible, or at the very least end up with quite ungrammatical and garbled language. Therefore, you want to make abundantly clear to users that this is an automated, possible erroneous function that you, as the website owner, has no control ... Apr 2 '19 at 8:22
  • ... over, lest users assume the website is run by total morons. Apr 2 '19 at 8:23

In that case maybe is better to wait until the whole content will be translated before you put the language switcher, because otherwise the users will get disappointed and will still use google translate. It will look really unprofessional form the website. The language switcher button means that once you press it everything get translated.

  • I could remove the language switcher on pages which are not translated?
    – Aliz
    Apr 1 '19 at 16:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.