Why the Government Community Should Follow Digital.gov’s Best Practices for Multilingual Websites 

Thank you, Laura Godfrey, Fedora Braverman, Lina Younes, and Leilani Martinez for your great inputs and for allowing Avantpage to share this information with our clients and partners. 

Digital.gov is a cross-functional team of writers, editors, strategists, technologists, and designers who all work at the Technology Transformation Services (TTS) at the General Services Administration (GSA). Their mission is to help the government community deliver better digital services by providing professionals in the federal government with the tools, methods, practices, and policy guidance they need to deliver effective and accessible digital services. 

At Avantpage, we help our clients create a linguistic bridge that connects people, cultures, and communities through mutual understanding. We are committed to providing exceptional translation, localization and interpretation services in more than 150 languages to clients primarily in the government, election and education sectors, among many others.  

With over 25 years of tenure in the field of language services and the digitalization of information, we are proud to endorse the recommendations from the team at Digital.gov: 

  1. Language — Digital communications must address the users’ language preferences. The use of machine or automatic translations as a sole solution is strongly discouraged even if a disclaimer is added. If government agencies decide to use translation software, they should have the translation reviewed by a qualified language professional before posting it to the website to ensure that the translation correctly communicates the message in a culturally relevant manner.

  2. Culture — Agencies should conduct usability tests to understand the cultural considerations of their target audience. Regardless of the language used, the online experience must be culturally relevant to achieve an emotional connection with the audience. 

  3. Access to Multilingual Information — Enable users to find your multilingual website via prominent access to the English site. Access to multilingual websites should be made available on the global navigation on the top right of every English page. 

  4. URL Strategy — Use a stand-alone, dedicated URL for marketing and search engine optimization purposes. That URL can then re-direct to another one more in line with your agency URL convention. 

  5. Comparability and Maintenance — Ensure that your multilingual website provides a comparable user experience to your English site. 

  6. Users’ Expectations — Manage users’ expectations by indicating when a user is going to navigate to an English-only area, external website, or will require a special program or software to view an application. 

  7. Toggle — Enable users to toggle between comparable content or features on the English and multilingual websites if available. Users can go back and forth between the English and localized pages without having to go through the home page. 

  8. Digital Features and Functionality — Provide similar digital features and functionality on multilingual websites as available on the English site. 

  9. Integrated Operations — Integrate your multilingual website initiatives with your internal infrastructure, overall operations, and online-offline strategy. 

  10. Marketing and Outreach — Develop and execute a targeted multilingual marketing and outreach program that includes branding, social media and email marketing strategies, and KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure success. 

Avantpage has a team of localization experts, both on the translation and digital content publishing for Multilingual Websites. To find out more about how we can streamline your next localization project, call us at 530-750-2040, or request a free quote today.