Europa should provide users with the web content they need either in their own language or in a language they can understand.
Language coverage – what languages for what content?
Content should be published in all official EU languages:
- if users would be seriously disadvantaged by not having the content available in their language, e.g. unable to exercise basic rights, understand basic obligations
- if needed to ensure the right to participation – to enable the public to contribute to the policy-making process through consultations
- if publication in all languages is legally required
- for stable corporate content.
In other cases, the range of languages should be evidence-based and chosen according to:
- who will use the information and for what purposes
- which languages the users are likely to understand
- the availability of resources to translate and manage multilingual content.
Types of content
Content for a specialist audience may be in published in just a few languages, or even just one. This includes:
- technical information
- funding for research
- campaigns, fora, blogs
News and other urgent but short-lived content can be published in one language first (taking account of target audience) with other languages added later – provided it is still of interest.
Coherence – user needs and journeys
Think about which pages users are likely to land on as they look for the information they want. Make sure they can find all the information relevant to their needs in the same language.
Don’t use more than one language on a page except in very specific cases, e.g. news content available only in one language combined with static multilingual content.
Planning a new site
- Define a method for understanding and replying to incoming communication from the site (feedback or complaints), which may be in any language.
- Define navigation policy for languages (including splash page, if any).
- Describe the language choice in the “About this site” section, with a reference to the general language‑coverage page.
- In the design phase, keep in mind that adjustments might be necessary, depending on the language.
- Follow language-related IPG recommendations on URLs, file naming policy, site names, procedure for requesting a URL, etc.
- When choosing the templates for your site, keep in mind all the relevant multilingual elements: keywords, metadata, characters ALT, WAI, etc.
- When planning the promotion of the site, define all language aspects related to both the site itself and the promotional tools.