I'm looking into building a multilingual website, and I'm looking for hints and tips, do's and don'ts, for the best way to organise/structure a site such that it will be as easy as possible to add additional languages in the future. I'm not looking for programming tips (so I might not be in the best forum) - I'm after fundamental, generic stuff.
My broad approach right now is to break a website down into its main structutural elements that will require alternative content based on language, and then to work out how best to structure that content.
Examples of main structural elements that are affected by language:
1. Menu system
2. Hidden content (eg. meta tags, title tags, etc.)
3. Help text
4. Form field names
5. Error reporting
6. Auto-generated email messages
... so now I've got to consider where best to source the language-sensitive content, eg.
1. Database table
2. Pre-defined (php) global variables
2. Included text files
- If possible I will ensure that no text is contained in any graphic, therefore images will never require changing based on language selection.
- From a visual maintenance point of view, I'm working on the assumption that this general idea:
is preferable to:
Any hints and tips (or pointers to other articles discussing this challenge) would be gratefully received :-)