In a previous post, we explored how to best apply a multi-tiered content strategy to your websites. With this approach, certain content may be translated selectively or in a targeted fashion, thereby causing language gaps and inconsistencies that can confuse visitors. In this post, we’ll look at two common scenarios and outline our recommended strategy for bridging these gaps to give visitors a more seamless experience.
Scenario 1: Non-Translated Page
While certain pages may be outside the scope of translation for a particular language, you may decide to keep links to those pages accessible anyway. For example, destination content that is not key to the language market, such as Borocay, Philippines for French speakers (vs. Chinese speakers).
In these cases, it is crucial to warn the user that they will be switching languages. Not doing so will confuse, frustrate, and/or give the impression the site is broken. (Imagine browsing a Chinese company’s website in English and suddenly getting a page in Chinese.) Ideally, the links would be visually tagged, but that can be challenging for a variety of reasons, including technical limitations and page layout.
Scenario 2: Mixed Dynamic Results
Certain pages may be dynamically pulling content from other areas of the site that are out of scope, leaving you with gaps or sections where a different language appears (usually the source language).
For example, while your branded content, site UI, and booking path may be translated into all languages, you may opt to selectively translate property information for key language markets. As such, when visitors search for properties that fall outside the most popular destinations for their market, they may notice that not all of the properties are translated into their language.
Unlike the first scenario, you would not be able to inform the user before reaching the page.
In addition to optimizing navigation, it is helpful to account for secondary language preference. While English is the global lingua franca, it is not necessarily the preferred fallback when the customer’s first choice is unavailable. A native Spanish-speaker, for example, may be more comfortable with French as a secondary language than with English. Therefore, if both English and French are available, it provides a better user experience when they are given a choice instead of mandating English.
In both examples, instead of automatically switching languages and showing the source language, we recommend providing an in-language message—either in place of the dynamic content or in the form of a pop-up—that includes:
- Dynamic text links to the individual language pages available for each property
- All contact options, such as:
- Contact page
- Chat link
- Geo targeted phone number