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FIGS

FIGS is the acronym for French, Italian, German, and Spanish. By localizing your web site into these four languages, you effectively reach most of Western Europe. Yet the reach of these languages extends well beyond Europe. The challenge you faced with Spanish—that of selecting the right flavor of the language—also applies to French, German, and Italian. For example, the French used in Canada is quite different from the French used in France, and Swiss German is quite different from the German used in Germany.

Sometimes, you’ll need to localize a web site into multiple languages to effectively cover one country, such as Switzerland. Although a relatively small country, Switzerland certainly keeps translators busy; Switzerland has four official languages: French, Italian, German, and Romansch (a minority language that’s a variation of German). When localizing for Switzerland, what languages do you offer? It depends on your audience and budget. For example, the IKEA Switzerland web site (see Figure 3) is available in French, German, and Italian; the Siemens Switzerland web site (see Figure 4), however, is available in French, German, and English.


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