Which Languages Do You Need?

Adding additional languages to your website comes at a cost to translate content (the service I use starts at $0.09 per word so additional content soon adds up ) and at a resource cost on your website in memory and database usage.

I always advise only to add the languages you really need to keep cost and performance optimal.

How Do  You Know Which Languages You Need?

How can you find out definitely what languges you need to support?

You may feel you need to support Chinese but if no-one from China is visiting, then the investment is an unecessary one.

Enter The Analytics Package

Digging into your analytics will tell you exactly where your site visitors are coming from and what languages you need to support.  My preferred analytics package is Google Analytics.

Browser Language

The first analytic I look at is browser language, this is the language your site visitor set for their browser and it tells you exactly which language they are most comfortable browsing in.

Here is an extract from my WPDude.com site.

Click for full size image
Click for full size image


Here is a link to a list of browser country codes to help you translate which code matches which language.

Location Of Visitors

The second metric I like to focus on is the geographical location of your site visitors.   Stats packages are able to take the IP address of your site visitor and match it to a country.

Taken to the next level you can match to particular cities or provinces.  This could be very useful in certain location for example Canada where certain areas have higher French Canadian populations.

Again here are the stats from WPDude.com

Click for a full size image
Click for a full size image


Don’t translate Everything

Use the stats but feel free to dismiss them too. Use knowledge of your business along with the stats to make your descision.

You may think that I would want to support a foreign translation for site visitors from India as this is my third most common country of origin, but I would reject this for a couple of reasons

  1. India is huge and has a huge number of languages and dialects, so many in fact their lingua Franca of business in English.
  2. I’ve never successfully sold any services into India from WPDude.com,  This is not a market I’m interested in.

Matching business knowledge and the stats I would say I need to support the western European languages of French, German and Spanish, all countries I have been able to sell services to.

Wrap Up

Supporting additional languages can be resource and monetarily expensive, do some research and only support the languages you really need.

Take into account business experience and build your supported language list from there.

Photo Credit: alexanderdrachmann via Compfight cc