I am working on a site and some but not all of the content is being translated into French. The content that is being translated is the long description and summaries of the content items (which are mostly videos).

I'm wondering what the best way to provide a user the option for the french version would be. I feel like a universal toggle would seem broken since it would only translate certain things, but I feel it would also seem annoying to me to have to toggle to french on each specific page, plus the summaries will show up on many pages in smaller chunks.

What would be an intuitive way to present this functionality.

(obviously in a perfect world there would be translations for everything, but this is what we have to work with.)

2 Answers 2


How about adding a little French flag (or some other signifier) next to the portions of the site that can be translated and when the user clicks on those the are presented with a popup of the translation.

Outline UI for translation

A tooltip/title on the flag would say something like "Click for translation".

  • -1 Lacks freehand circles! ;-)
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 13, 2011 at 5:37

One way would be to determine the users language preference (via settings, GeoIP, browser-accept) and show the French texts by default to the people who have French as their preference.

Added to that I think a notice next to the text (top or bottom) saying that this text is translated into another language., a bit like ChrisF answered.

Along side with such a notice, you could also provide a text when there is no such translation yet, and offer users the ability to write a translation for the text. In this way you can build up more and more texts in French (or other languages). And maybe even ask users to translate the main user interface.

(One thing to think about is if you want to present an interface in which some parts are in French and some in English.)

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