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Thursday, August 30, 2012
Language translation functions on websites, the UX perspective.
Clientsfromhell.net is one website I visit to have a good laugh at all the client (im)possibilities. Reading other web developers’ frustrations may generate a laugh but dealing with clients first-hand may not reveal the same outcome. Sometimes you get the most ridiculous requests or a request to make seemingly unreasonable changes to layouts or methods. Many of these requests may eventually seem beneficial to the client- but really who knows the business better than the project owner?
In my few months functioning as a User Experience Analyst, I have poured myself into books and trainings, online materials and forums where the challenges between the role of the user and the project owner are detailed. I have even thought of writing a book called Kill The Client, Users Are Now King.
I started a recent project using UX methodologies. One of the most successful projects I will be handling(at least from the looks). I was blown away when in between the project the project owners asked that a language translator be added to the site. It became an issue of discussion between my project manager and I.
You know it’s easy to integrate this function on any website. Just pull one or two plugins or extensions and you are good to go. But the question I kept asking myself is ‘Does this bring us to a positive outcome? ‘. The reason for the client’s inclusion of the Language Translation tool was because it is an international organization and users from other parts of the world visit the site.
I believe that irrespective of the fact that users visit from around the world, creating an automated script that translates the site content doesn’t increase the usability scores. Automatic language translations are never perfect(from my experience). I believe they can hamper true user experience. Usability where locale is involved may require separate website sections custom created to serve the individual languages.
As I develop myself and mature in the UX field, my opinion may change. So I will be coming back to this space.