site in two languages

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I will be making a site in German and English. I'm not
sure, what language should be default.

Pages like recognize my German Version
(Browser, Windows?) and suggest the download in German.

How do they do that?

Do you think it's a good idea for sites to check the
language of the user and give them their language as
default (with the option to change)? Disadvantages?

Thanks for your help.


Re: site in two languages


chlori wrote:
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Serverside - apache or a cgi script reads the users LANG setting and
acts accordingly

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Big disadvantage to it is say I move to Germany and speak blow all of
it. The server sees my locale is DE and everything is served up in German.

Much better idea is to have a multilingual site.





Re: site in two languages

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In principle, the language selected from the preferences that the user's
browser sends. (It's non-trivial, since there can be several languages in
those settings, with different q(uality) values, and they may need to be
compared with the q values of the versions on the server.)

In practice, English, unless you expect a definite majority of visitors to
have German as their native language. The point is that English is so
widespread on the Web that nobody gets too surprised.

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I don't know. At least doesn't do it the right way: I don't get
the German version even if I put German topmost in my preferences. They
might play some guessing game based on top level domain. That's a wrong way
of doing things, though not fatal, if each language version has explicit
links that point to the other versions.

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In principle yes. In practice, you need to be a bit enthusiastic to bother
doing so. For a bilingual sites, it is reasonable (but necessary) to have
explicit links that link the two sites together. More on this, and on
working with user's preferences, see /

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The main disadvantage is that the user's language preferences are often
wrong, typically just the language of the browser's user interface - and
even if it happens to be the user's first preference, it's hardly the only
one. Though, in fact, I have heard rumors that some people really know one
language only.

Yucca, /
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