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Top 6 Strategies to Designing Multilingual User Interface

Research suggests that users spend 45 seconds browsing through websites. That time can shorten to 10-20 seconds if your website does not target audience interests. In that time, businesses can connect with users and market products. A multilingual user interface attracts new consumers and engages them with your content.

Creating a multilingual site is an essential aspect of UX design that globalizes your brand. You can tap into other markets and overcome the language barrier. However, you need to understand consumer interests, attitudes, and opinions. Here’s a case study on UX research to guide you in designing the user interface.

What is the purpose of a multilingual user interface?

According to statistics, 75% of customers prefer interacting with websites in their native language. In this article, we will discuss six strategies to design UI UX for a multilingual website. If your app has a global audience, it needs to connect with users from diverse backgrounds. And interaction with them successfully is only possible with in-depth UX research and knowledge of multilingual SEO.

For instance, if you have an English-only website, you can sell to 25.9% of the digital world. But if you add Chinese and Spanish to that, you can branch out to 27.2% users more. This jump in the number of users means there are guidelines for websites to do well on search engine rankings.

Six Design Strategies for Your Multilingual User Interface Site

Most websites continue to build on their audience despite a large majority of internet users being English speakers. And many sites are looking to anchor themselves by expanding on their target audience. Why? The idea behind this is to have a dynamic SEO strategy that makes your website attractive, accessible, and international. 

Your site may also get penalized if you duplicate content in the process of targeting multiple regions. So, here are six strategies that you should look for when developing a multilingual site:

  1. Offer Language Selection: enable various linguistic options for users. It helps them feel that your website represents their linguistic interests. For instance, American and British English are subtly different, and so are Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese in many ways. Your UI & UX design must address such issues from the get-go.
  2. Language Detection: if you have customers from different regions accessing your website, they would like to access your website in their native language immediately. 
  3. Get translated: this tip isn’t precisely web design, but it is essential nevertheless. Google Translate may offer quick translations of your website. But, the translations are not often accurate. And here is where you can stand as a great UI designer by addressing this issue. Here’s a blog on how you can become one of the best user interface designers of the future
  4. Offer Language Changes: a multilingual website should always have an option of changing languages, and it goes without saying. You may often find dropdown menus for selecting the language or switchers at the footers. IBM.com chose the latter approach to designing a language sidebar. 
  5. Use flags: many websites display the name of languages alongside the national flag. For instance, France will get displayed along with the flag of France, and so on. However, there may be some cases where it isn’t a good option for a multilingual user interface. Here’s why:
  1. A country can have more than one official language
  2. Different countries may speak the same language
  3. Visitors may not recognize the flag
  4. Redirecting: often when users change languages, they are redirected to the homepage. Make sure your users can stay on the same translated page when they switch languages.

What about Encoding and Fonts?

Take care of how you offer language preferences to different readers by observing the script they use. For instance, the Japanese use the Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji scripts. When you write the language option as Japanese, use the native spelling. In short, do not Anglicize the names of languages.

Also, to prevent corrupt text, UTF-8 encoding, fonts like Google Noto Sans, and Unicode help.


You can stay one step ahead of your competitors if your website targets more than just your city and move onto other countries. But, designing a multilingual user interface is not an easy process. It takes a lot of research. Your website has to generate tons of information to boost search engine rankings. There are many tools you need to have familiarity with to start making a multilingual site.

But, if you put in the effort, a multilingual site can help you:

  • Expand into new markets. 
  • Build trust with users.
  • Increase conversion rates.

You get to reach a larger audience. But, personalization requires tremendous effort because an unhealthy user experience will turn away users. What’s more, a poor app design or dysfunctional site is bound to push away potential customers anyway. Except with a multilingual site, personalization plays an increased role in enhancing the user experience.

Published by Isra Sawafi

Sr. UX Designer

Isra Sawafi Sr. UX Designer