International Vegetarian Union
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Local Veg Group Websites
2 - Mind Your Language


If your group is in an English speaking part of the world you will probably put your website online in English, without really thinking about it much. But maybe you should think about it.

If your local language is anything other than English you are more likely to consider which language to use - but may not be able to use any other language well enough to put it online.

In the first article about local group websites - 'Before you begin' - there were descriptions of three categories of readers. The first two, your own members and local non-members, probably speak the same language that you do. The third group, the rest of the planet, mostly do not - even if you speak English or Chinese you are still in a global minority.

But even your local people may not be very proficient in your language, they may be immigrants, or working in the area or just visiting. If you know of a significant local community that uses a different language maybe you should try to cater for them. You might find one of them willing to do the translations.

On a global scale it's more complicated, even the IVU website is not in every language on the planet! If you want to provide information for people around the world who might be visiting then you do need to consider more than one language - and if you have some of those inevitable articles about 'why everyone should go veggie', then the more languages the better...

The global language of the Internet is English, partly for technical reasons, and most 'net users can make some sense of English if you keep it fairly simple, so that has to be the obvious choice if it's not your local language. If you start in English then the choice of other languages may be down to who you can find to translate for you, and where you think your readers are most likely to come from.

All languages use 'character sets', and the bottom half of each character set is English. The top half can be one language, such as Japanese, or a group of languages such as Western European.

Whatever language you're starting in, this technical aspect can make a difference. As all Western European languages use the same character set, it would be much easier to translate a French site into Spanish than into Chinese - but it's easier to display a Chinese site in English than in Japanese.

For further ideas see the link to 'Translations and Fonts' at: www.ivu.org/trans

That has a link to 'Notes for translators' which lists all the IVU translation co-ordinators. They might not have time to be directly involved with your site, but if you are interested in a particular language they might be able to offer some general advice.