The 26 September of each year is the European Day of Languages. It's organised jointly by the European Union and the Council of Europe.

What's this got to do with Tribal, and with websites? Let me explain.

I'm a bit of a language freak myself (I speak small bits of about ten languages, but none of them fluently), so I find this celebration of plurilingualism is a great idea.

This year, it is the last year that the UK is in the European Union (or at least that's the current plan!), so should we in Blighty be ignoring this Day, this time around?

Certainly not! The UK needs to get more serious about trade and export in particular. Our greatest export is in services, which necessitates personal interaction, so I think languages are more important than ever.

When looking at websites in languages other than your own, there is always Google Translate. This can be a life-saver but can produce sillies; try translating "China" into Danish and you'll get "porcelæn"! I don't think they have that one quite right.

So when you run a website, if you're considering addressing an overseas audience, you really need to get the message right, and not leave things to chance like that. If you do, you're losing customers and making your site look foolish. Get a proper translator, simple.

My interest in languages is one of the reasons we at Tribal created Zenario, probably the world's best CMS for websites with multiple languages. It can automatically detect the language of the visitor, and serve the right page for them.

Europe has enjoy a rich diversity of language and cultures with 200 languages, 24 Official EU languages and many more regional languages and dialects. Of course, some such as Spanish and Portuguese (and English!) have travelled far wider around the world. As the balance of power tilts Eastwards, perhaps we should be having a Worldwide Day of Languages, and actually Chinese and some of the other Eastern languages should be on the list for everyone to learn a few words and customs in.

Let's see what languages we will be speaking next year.

 
 
 

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