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ANALYSIS

Web localization isn’t always about expanding beyond borders. Increasingly, American organizations are localizing their web sites for Americans, and the U.S. government is no exception. Although many governmental departments have been painfully slow to supply information in multiple languages, the SSA has made an aggressive effort to reach as many Americans as possible. The SSA doesn’t have an enormous translation budget, but it still manages to provide information in 14 languages. Necessity breeds creativity, which in turn breeds PDFs.

The advantage of PDFs is that they can serve multiple purposes. They can be posted on a web site for download or can be printed for distribution at regional offices (see Figure 3). This strategy can save the SSA a great deal of money because it can update the PDFs periodically without having to worry about maintaining hundreds of web pages. Budgetary constraints aside, PDFs may in fact be necessary when you need to give the audience higher-resolution documents, such as forms or illustrations.


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