4 Common Mistakes When Designing A Multilingual Website

In the era of technology and the digital world, creating a multilingual website is a must if entrepreneurs would like to expand the scale of potential customers and boost their profits.

With the maximum assistance of virtual design apps, companies can generate a multilingual website meeting the demands of international users. However, making mistakes in the process of building a multilingual website is inevitable.

Our article today will point out 4 common mistakes that designers encounter along with solutions for each mistake that we think may be of help to give the best user experience when accessing a company’s website.

Benefits of A Multilingual Website

Multilingual websites are websites that allow content to be displayed in many different languages. Users can choose the appropriate language they understand based on the country or region they are living in. In general, multilingual website design is an essential task to help companies attract more and more website visits from international customers. Understanding the significant benefits that a multilingual website can promote business profits, a lot of companies are investing in their multilingual website. So here is the list of 5 benefits of a multilingual website we would like to mention.

Designing A Multilingual Website

Reaching a large number of multinational clients

If you would like to purchase a product on a website but your mother tongue is not available on this web and you do not even see the language switch button, will you stay and continue to buy goods on this website? Maybe the answer is no because it can lead to a terrible shopping experience if you buy a product without understanding its features. Thus, a website designed in many languages will be able to help the company reach more customers not only the locals but also international shoppers.

Promoting company’s marketing campaign

A multilingual website design is considered an effective marketing tool, promoting a company’s marketing campaign. These days, the website is your company’s image in the online marketplace. It is a place where you can present your products and services to customers in a professional and attractive way. Online marketing is always cheaper than traditional marketing, but its effectiveness is much higher. Therefore, a professional multilingual website will bring you closer to your customers and at the same time increase the number of users who can understand your marketing messages.

Showing customers that you care

If you provide users with qualified content in their native language, they will respect your company more and prefer the company’s service over others. Accordingly, clients will visit your website very often and end up spending more money on purchasing your products or services. Customers will have a sense of satisfaction when experiencing a website that is available in their language.

Building trust between audiences and company

If your company owns a multilingual website, this makes local customers feel that your business is trustworthy, operating across multiple countries and they will appreciate the company’s credibility. The higher your business credibility is, the greater the purchasing potential and customer loyalty your company gains. According to a Google survey, up to 82% of consumers tend to purchase a product if its information is displayed in their native language.

Improving SEO ranking of your website

The website’s ability to rank high on search engines is one of the main factors contributing to the success of a business. As long as the multilingual website is properly set up, Google will rank it higher in the search results. It will be much better if your website is ranked high on the most popular search engines in the world, not only Google. Therefore, the multilingual website will optimize SEO in many different search engines, helping to improve the website’s ranking.

Common Mistakes When Designing A Multilingual Website

Using an automatic translation machine

This is one of the biggest mistakes in the process of building a multilingual website. With the purpose of minimizing translating cost when designing a website, companies will use automatic translation applications available on Google, such as Google Translate, Bing Translate and DeepL.

Automatic translation

This method will not ensure the accuracy of information the company wants to deliver to clients because Google Translate only translates correctly common words, not technical terms. A multilingual website heavily relying on machine translation leads to confusion as well as uncomfortably for users when accessing the website.

In order for a website to provide a great user experience, you should hire experienced freelance linguists or translation and localization services of a trusted agency whose team includes high-qualified translators with many years of professional experience. It can be said that they play a significant role in connecting multinational cultures. Therefore, don’t just focus on saving the initial cost but forget about the long-term benefits to get potential customers for your company.

Do not pay attention to the system of units and format of date and time

At present, most countries around the world have agreed to use the international system of units (SI), which is widely known as the metric system. Meanwhile, there are three countries in the world that still apply the imperial system in daily life, which are the US, Myanmar and Liberia. People in these countries are more familiar with ounces, inches, and feet than kg, cm and m of the rest of the world. As a result, this difference between the two measurement systems needs to be examined carefully before your company launches a multilingual website.

Metric and imperial

Apart from the system of units, web designers should not miss the stage of converting the format of date and time based on the language of target countries. This is because each country will have a different way of displaying chronological order. For example, the order date/month/year is the most popular form used in the world, from South America, most parts of Europe to most countries of Asia. However, in North America, dates are written in order month/date/year.

To avoid making mistakes in converting the system of units and format of date and time during the multilingual website design, it is necessary that you consult a team of experts specializing in web localization. They will help you generate a multilingual website with the standard format of each country.

Putting the language switcher in the inappropriate place

This switcher plays an important role in determining whether the company’s website is user-friendly or not since every time international customers visit your website, the first thing they do is find the language switcher. If your company’s site isn’t equipped with that feature or the button is placed out of sight, the user will probably leave immediately.

Language switcher

Therefore, when designing a multilingual website, you ought to find the right position to put the language selection box. The ideal position is in the upper right corner of the website because it is easy for users to recognize when accessing the website.

Besides, if the website uses English and Vietnamese, just put the name or the flag. For websites designed with more than 2 languages, using the drop-down menu will be the best option. In particular, in order to maximize efficiency, companies should create a browser that automatically locates visitors to provide the right language for them.

Language switcher

Using the same web layout for all countries

When designing a product, we always put the customer satisfaction at top priority. The same thing goes to multilingual website design. That is why designers are recommended to learn some basic human tendencies so they can understand the client’s behavior and motivation. Applying the only one web layout for all countries will lead to boredom for users because people from different countries don’t have the same web design preference.

Therefore, we list 3 factors included in the user’s aesthetic tastes that designers should pay attention to during the process of building the website.

01. Colors:

One of the first things that is easiest for designers to learn is about color and how it affects a person’s mood and behavior. The web with the right colors can get the user to perform exactly what you want. Each color has a special meaning and effect on each individual. Importantly, the meaning of color can change depending on the culture of the target audience. Thus, companies should have a thorough understanding of the culture of each country before designing the website in that country’s language. For example, while McDonald’s in Norway mainly apply yellow and green for the website because Norwegian care about the environment, mainstream colors of McDonald’s webs of other countries in the world are red and yellow.

McDonald’s in Norway
McDonald’s in Norway

McDonald’s in the US
McDonald’s in the US

02. Design preference:

In many parts of Asia, web design is more dense with content heavier on the first page with smaller images. People are used to consuming more information within a single screen. Take Japanese websites as a typical example. Japanese websites are full of words. Website interface filled with different content, and titles, along with small and low quality images. The Japanese always save space for displaying information. The reason is because Japanese people need more information about products and services so that they can make informed decisions before purchasing products rather than purchasing goods due to its vibrant images. Therefore, it is unnecessary for designers to decorate a website with the highest quality images and big banners. Instead, they should focus on putting more texts on the website for Japanese customers. On the other hand, the web design of Vietnam is decorated with vibrant large images and banners. Most of the site’s space is for images instead of text.

Starbucks Japan
Starbucks Japan Website

Starbucks Vietnam
Starbucks Vietnam Website

03. Text orientation:

Most countries in the world arrange their website content in the left-to-right flow, while countries where Arabic is the official language design their web with the right-to-left font of text.

United Nations Global
United Nations Global website

United Nations Arab
United Nations Arab website


We hope that these aforementioned common mistakes, along with tips will help your company build a multilingual website that can bring the best user experience for clients around the world.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for explaining common mistakes happened while designing a multilingual website!

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