Building a multi-lingual website entails a lot. This includes page layout, web server configuration, sorting domain names among others. A multi-lingual website is a website that has been written in more than one language.
When working on a multi-lingual website one of the basic considerations is the codes. One should make sure that the language used is identifiable in the codes. For assistive technologies like screen readers may pick up the correct language used from the text alone but the language can be identified from the codes. This will assist the technologies adopt that language immediately it is spotted in the coding.
One has to set the primary language for your pages. This entails the language that most of the content in the website is written in for instance English. Here the task is adopting the right code for the language. The code may be a four letter word or otherwise a two letter word. For instance the two letter code for English is ‘en’ whereas the four letter code for British English is ‘en-GB’ and that of American English is ‘en-US’. After identifying the codes now apply the code to the page for instance when working with HTML use the ‘lang‘attribute at the beginning of the page. See below
Note that if you use the wrong language code it will not be possible for people using screen reader or braille to read the content on the page. Another important thing to consider under this is the language direction. Some languages are read from right to left as opposed to some like English read from left to right. Therefore it is prudent to ensure that the language direction is clearly identifiable in the coding
Another aspect to consider when developing a multilingual language website is links. One has to give clearly the links to the different languages version available on your site. An attribute that would assist you here is the ‘hreflang’ attribute.
In relation to good SEO strategy, it is good to consider the case with Google. Unlike other screen readers the search engine does not recognize the ‘lang’ attribute. It is advisable therefore to use only one language per page for easier identification by the search engines. One should also put into consideration the length of words and font sizes since different languages have very different aspects of word in relation to the length and format.