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Webmasters – formatting for translated content

Some recommendations for working with multilingual websites:


Creating a multilingual website

  1. Leave plenty of white space. Translations out of English are often longer than the original.
  2. Use relative table, cell and box sizes. Wherever possible, avoid absolute sizes not to cut off translations that are longer than the original.
  3. Where possible use styles and avoid hard encoded formatting information. This not only keeps your file size down but makes it much easier for the translator to concentrate on the text without having to bother with its formatting.
  4. Prefer plain text to images with text. But if you do use images with text:
    • create a separate image for each language, with the correct extension (_da.gif, _de.gif)
      and use the very same text as the "alt" description you can copy-paste it into the image afterwards;
    • be generous with the image size, since more space might be needed for the target language.
  5. Links and language icons. When you have to link to a page with content in a different language, insert the relevant language icon next to the link, so the user knows what to expect.
  6. The language selection tool must be available on every page. It is the only way of horizontal navigation between languages. It also provides an indication of which language versions exist.
  7. Multilingual templates. The translations in the templates are mandatory.

DG Translation

Email DGT or call them on +32 229-55566 for advice on for advice on multilingual publishing.