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English Has Its Limits

We live in a world of many languages, many cultures, and many countries, yet we all share one Internet. Initially, English dominated the Internet because English speakers dominated the Internet. Today, more than half of all Internet users are not native-English speakers.

Want to increase your potential online audience by 200 million people? Create French, Italian, German, and Spanish web sites. Add Japanese and Chinese, and you’ll gain another 200 million—without opening a single international office. Web globalization will open your organization to virtually unlimited opportunities, but also many risks. This book offers guidelines and suggestions for bridging the borders between languages, cultures, countries, and, ultimately, people.

Many people want to reach a global market but don’t know the best way to get there. Web globalization is complex and constantly evolving, and the languages themselves can be highly intimidating. Although a few mistakes are unavoidable, they need not be inevitable. The field of web globalization is still very much in its infancy. There are few books on the subject, and fewer still that combine high-level thinking with hands-on strategies. This book will save you countless hours of trial and error and help you build sites that put you ahead of your competition.

Who This Book Is For

This book is for the people who create global business strategies and the people who implement those strategies:

  • Web developers who want hands-on techniques for taking their sites global

  • Marketers who want high-level strategies, from taking brands global to multilingual domain names to maximizing global search engines

  • Translators who want to upgrade their skills to include web pages

  • Designers who want to know what cultural and technical issues are involved when designing for new countries and languages

  • Writers who want to create text that’s easily translatable and globally effective

  • Executives who may want to outsource everything but need to know what’s involved and how much it will cost

How To Use This Book

This book covers a lot of ground—literally. From Japanese web site development to European customer support, the book covers a wide spectrum of web globalization issues. This book is divided into seven parts, encompassing 17 chapters and 6 appendixes that take you through the entire process of developing a multilingual, multi-country web site—from research and strategy to implementation and support. Along the way, you’ll hear from many of the leading experts in the field.

  • Part I, “Thinking Globally.” Are you ready to go global? You’ll learn the basics of web globalization—the lingo and key concepts—and get a taste for navigating the multilingual Internet.

  • Part II, “Preparation.” Before you begin globalization, you’ll see some of the common mistakes that companies make when taking their web sites global. You’ll assess your organization’s global readiness so that you can avoid repeating these mistakes.

  • Part III, “Implementation.” It’s time to get started. You’ll learn the web globalization workflow, the key participants, and the costs (and hidden costs) as well as the foundations of globalization: internationalization and localization.

  • Part IV, “Text and Translation.” Managing translation is an art as well as a science. You’ll learn how to select and manage translators or a translation agency and how to maintain quality throughout the process. Copywriters will learn how to tailor and edit text for a global audience.

  • Part V, “Design, Development, and Management.” Designing for one country is a lot easier than designing for many countries. You’ll learn the many details of creating and managing multilingual content and see how cultural and technical obstacles affect web design.

  • Part VI, “Beyond the Web Site.” To ensure the success of your global web site, you need to promote it one country at a time. You’ll learn all about multilingual search engines, portals, and domain names.

  • Part VII, “Appendixes.” Finally, this book includes an in-depth glossary and reference section. Comprehensive listings of country codes, language codes, and character sets are included. Also included is a chart that lists the significance of colors around the world.

Throughout the book, you’ll also find the following elements for trying out localization techniques and examining case studies of companies with global web sites:

  • Six “Hands-On” chapters show you, step by step, how to translate a web site from English into eight different languages. Files are also available for download so that you can follow along on your own. By the end of the book, you will have created a web page with a potential reach of more than two billion people.

  • Seven “Spotlights” present real-world case studies of organizations both large and small. You’ll learn how organizations such as FedEx, L.L. Bean, Monster.com, and the World Cup developed their web sites and the challenges they faced along the way.

Conventions Used in This Book

A couple of typographic conventions have been used in this book:

  • A bold font is used for computer terms and code, such as HTML markup text.

  • Italics are used to introduce new terms or for emphasis.

You’ll also notice several sidebar elements that have been used in various ways:


“FYI” tips are included throughout the chapters to suggest additional resources or to point you to web sites for more in-depth information.


Note boxes have been used to highlight interesting background information or to offer brief explanations of terms and concepts you may not be familiar with.


Sidebars offer real-world examples as well as explanations on how to use some of the techniques and tools mentioned in the text.


Don’t speak a dozen languages? Don’t worry. Although proficiency in other languages is a plus, it’s not a necessity. You don’t need to be multilingual to build a multilingual web site. Web globalization is a team effort. This book will show you how to build and manage teams of translators, editors, web developers, and marketers.

You don’t need to be a technical genius, either. Some chapters do require a basic understanding of HTML and web development, but this book assumes that you have no previous web globalization experience. The following software tools are used for the Hands-On chapters: Macromedia Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. Although it will help to have a familiarity with these tools, you should have no trouble following along without it. Finally, because most global corporations rely on Windows operating systems, so too does much of this book. The Macintosh operating system and software is addressed when possible, although the Hands-On chapters are entirely Windows based. Nevertheless, virtually all techniques demonstrated on Windows software can be duplicated on Macintosh software.

The World Awaits

Languages, cultures, countries, and currencies: They are what separate local web sites from becoming global web sites. This book will help you and your organization develop a web site that embraces the world and allows the world to embrace your organization. A world of people is out there, waiting. All you have to do is meet them halfway. Web globalization is the final step toward creating an Internet without borders.

Stay in Touch

I will be posting corrections, feedback, and additional resources at www.bytelevel.com/beyondborders. Also, please contact me with any questions or feedback at jyunker@bytelevel.com.

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