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Posted By P & L Blog



Visitors to websites written in Korean, Chinese, Arabic and other non-ASCII characters will no longer have to type URLs in English.  International domain names (IDN) are being tested on 11 pilot sites in these languages as well as Japanese and Greek.  The testing could be concluded by the end of this year.


The IDNs will make the internet easier to use for visitors to non-ASCII sites.  Right now, visitors have to type the website and email addresses in English, even if the website appears in Cyrillic.  Russian sites will be able to have their URL displayed in both English and Cyrillic.  Only http:// will be displayed in English because it is automatically added by browsers.

Posted By P & L Blog


Our friends at are researchers whose mission is "to discover what really works in optimization".    They offer the following tips for optimizing Spanish-language websites:


  • Make sure your landing page answers the following questions for your visitors:

              Where am I?  What can I do here? Why should I do it?

  • Your headline should confirm the value of your site and let them know they came to the right place
  • Try to quantify the benefit for the visitors: "Save 50% on your calls to El Salvador".
  • Are there any cultural elements that will connect with them, such as having a famous Mexican actress endorse a beauty product?
  • Test Google ads in Spanish and emphasize value in your ads.
  • The entire experience should be in Spanish, including the shopping cart, to avoid losing visitors right before check-out.
  • A dedicated Spanish-language site is better than a sub-domain because it communicates more effectively.  It can also improve the site's results in Google searches.


Last but not least, steer clear of online translators such as Google Translate because the poor quality of these translations "undermines your site's credibility, causing anxiety to your visitors...and it becomes insulting".


Photo by marciookabe. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Posted By P & L Blog

Organizations - both public and private - receiving funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Title VI prohibits discrimination based on national origin, "including language access for limited English proficient persons".  State and local governments also receive federal funds so they must follow the federal statute.


"Limited English proficient persons" (LEP) are defined as "individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English".  The 2000 LEP Executive Order requires both Federal agencies and recipients of federal funding to provide access to services to their LEP beneficiaries.


Although AIG has a Spanish website, many municipal governments and departments do not.  A random search of shows that the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority has information on Fair Housing in Spanish, Somali, and Lao.  Spanish-speakers can learn how to recycle, take the Civil Service exam, or become a police officer, but if they need information from the Health Department, they're out of luck. only has a link to the Spanish content at the Centers for Disease Control. 



Photo by Steve Wampler. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Posted By P & L Blog


Rooftops of St. Petersburg



Business software buyers in 8 non-English speaking countries reported they are more likely to buy products that have been translated and localized for their markets.  Despite the commonly held belief that proficient English speakers do not have a preference, Common Sense Advisory's study shows that purchase intent  increases when the local language is used.  Another key finding is the correlation between having marketing materials translated and sales:  "More than 80 percent said they wouldn’t give full consideration to a product that did not have localized marketing materials."



More information on the study can be found here:





Photo by Anya Quinn. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Posted By P & L Blog


Arabic Typewriter

Facebook is set to take off in the Arabic-speaking world now that it is available in Arabic.  More than 900,000 Egyptians were members of the site before the new version was introduced and that number is expected to grow.  Fifty million Arabic speakers are online, although only 5% of global web content is Arabic.


Because Arabic is written from right to left, Facebook also had to change page layouts, labels, buttons, etc.  To see what your Facebook page looks like in Arabic, scroll down to the bottom of your home page and change your language option.


Young Egyptians have used Facebook to organize political groups and mobilize, often against a government that restricts freedom of speech and the right to assemble.   Facebook was already the third most popular website in Egypt before the Arabic version was developed.   It will be interesting to see if  young Arabs will use social networks to create political movements.



Photo by Ross Day. Licensed under Creative Commons.



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