Multilingual Scaling

Serve your customers, in any language

Customer experiences available in multiple languages require a unique content creation and design process.

“[Government must focus on] ensuring the accessibility of services for customers with limited English proficiency to advance equity.”

2021 Federal Executive Order on Customer Experience and Service Delivery

Insights + Recommendations

Write for a 6th grade reading level

Content should be written in English at a 6th grade reading level and then translated into supported languages.

Remove colloquial speach

Avoid phrases that are common to a singular language or culture. For example, “Let’s talk” would be a better option than “Let’s chat.”

Create UI patterns for RTL languages

Right-to-left languages sometimes require interface layouts to adjust. Plan for button positioning and text alignment to shift within your design system.

Format dates and content for multiple languages

Dates should be written with the full month spelled out, followed by the date and full four-digit year. This way, it always translates appropriately across languages. Any structured content should be considered in this way.

Establish strong visual branding cues

Many non-English speakers rely on visual information to orient them online. Strong visual branding reminds customers that they are in the right place and can trust the information provided.

Be mindful of character count

Languages use varying alphabets, character styles, and sentence syntax. What may appear like a short phrase in English may need to wrap several lines of text in another language.

Our Approach

Considering edge cases throughout the design process ensures we don’t miss an opportunity for better language scaling.

Language-accessible design elements, page titles, and instructional copy

Multilingual Usability Research and Testing

Language Audits and Analysis

Guidance on copy-writing and content / data structures for multilingual audiences

Flexible interface design for right-to-left languages

Related Work

Our work has shaped products, services, and tools used by millions of people every day.