The scenario I have is that a hotel would send emails to their guests inviting them to fill in a survey. Now the text in the email would be in different languages depending on one of these cases:

  • Guest language known: use guest language
  • Guest language unknown, nationality known: use country's main official language
  • Guest language unknown, nationality unknown: use hotel default languages

For this last case, I was thinking of having English as a mandatory default language but I would also be interested in finding out:

  1. How many languages should the hotel send the email in?
  2. What would be the appropriate order in which the languages should be displayed?

Example: A hotel from France would send the email in English and French, but a hotel from Indonesia could sent the email in Bahasa, French, Japanese, English. Are there too many languages here? Is this the best order in which to show them? Here is where my concerns would be.

  • Is your plan to have all translations in the same email?
    – dennislees
    Nov 7, 2014 at 13:09
  • This is the current setup, yes. Nov 7, 2014 at 13:59
  • You have the survey translated to all these languages, too? And what about other emails from the hotel where the guest language is unknown (i.e, reserveration confirmation)?
    – unor
    Nov 7, 2014 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


Display one language, but provide links for other translations. Given that HTML email is the norm, you need not treat it like a static document. Use the same interface that websites do, providing small links to switch to other languages.

This will be much more visually pleasing than a single email with multiple translations in it.

It will also give a better experience for all users. If you have the user's language preference or infer it based on nationality, you can show that as the default, but links to other translations will allow them to change the language if you guessed wrongly.

  • Ok, this is interesting. You mean something like a language switcher that simply changes the language within the email or one that links to the external HTML translated in said language? Nov 7, 2014 at 14:01
  • I expect that @dan1111 would send a mail in the language the hotel conducts business in with Wikipedia style "links to translations". I'd like to add that unless your system knows the primary language of the guest you will guess wrong (e.g. Switzerland with four different languages). In some cases, guessing my language incorrectly can be quite offensive to me.
    – msw
    Nov 8, 2014 at 2:27

Another option would be to go with multiple translations in a single email and linking to internal anchors.

In this case, users who aren't reading in the default (first) language have the experience of clicking on a link to see the content they want (as in @dan1111's suggestion), but you avoid having to create and make available all the different translations.


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