Tag Archives: internet non-english

Internet for non-English speakers

After a little ranting about the state of the internet in France, it occurred to me that English-speakers online need to try just a little bit harder to make life easier for non-English speakers.

I came up with a short list of ideas for things we can all do to help non-English speakers online:

  • Get more non-English people to create stuff online.
  • Try to convince more people to add translations (or at least translator buttons) to their sites.
  • Teach more non-English speakers generally about Google Translate, so they can use the English pages they find.
  • Teach SEO skills to more non-English speakers so that things can be found!
  • Make websites more intuitive and less dependent on text found in pictures (which don’t get translated).
  • Ensure kids get computer training, either at school, in clubs or at home.

The website design is easy: add translation and try not to use images where text would be best. The basic computer education of kids has to fall with people locally. So, the question then becomes how to teach SEO to non-English people?

How do you teach someone who doesn’t necessarily understand the concept of SEO (let alone understand the acronym) that it’s something they should think of? At least in the basic sense of ensuring the keywords that people search for appear in the documents they want those people to find. Should we try to convince bilingual people to write basic SEO guides? Probably. And we should probably also encourage those writers to use a keyphrase of the local words for “Why doesn’t anyone find my website?” so that the right people find it.

Seriously, if you’re bilingual give it a go. It could really help non-English speakers a lot. And the more the better!

Image Credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes