Bilingual Content Strategy

Having a site that exists in two completely different languages can pose problems from a design perspective.  I think that the biggest challenge here is the fact that if you put all of your content on the same page in 2 different languages, you are effectively cutting in half the amount of room you have on the page to deliver information.  On the current paulreveresf.org web site we have a couple of different strategies for addressing bilingual content, but part of our revamped communications project will be to settle on a single strategy and implement it across the board.

It turns out that another feature of Google Sites is that you can set up your sites to be in a certain language, and the language you choose will be used in all of the "filler text" areas that Google is in charge of.  For example, the top of every page has a search box, with a button that says "Search this site."  This is text that is controlled by Google.  If you change the site language to Spanish, then the that button is rendered in Spanish.  Each site can have only one default language.  So, rather than cramming both languages into the same site, I am proposing that we set up 2 mirror sites, each with the same content hierarchy but one with English as the default language, and one with Spanish.  The URL for the English site is "en.paulreveresf.org" and for the Spanish site it is "es.paulreveresf.org".  The terms "en" and "es" are actually internet standard abbreviations for each language.  Visitors to www.paulreveresf.org will either be automatically redirected to their browser's default language (if I can figure out how to do that) or they will be presented with a splash page that will give them the ability to choose which page they want.  Additionally, all pages on the English site will have a link to a "view in Spanish" page which is the same page on the mirror site written in Spanish.  And the Spanish sites will have the same links back to the English.

This may seem like extra work, but I prefer to do it this way because it makes for a better end user experience in both languages.  You can flip over to the other language at any time, and once you are in a language you are completely immersed in a site that is ALL in that language.

Sounds great, but how are we going to do all of this translation work?
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