Over the years, we’ve designed, developed and created content for many client websites. Some are targeted locally, most are national, but a few are aimed internationally by virtue of the client’s business reach.

Yet despite that, our most recent web development project has a truly international dimension with the need for multiple languages.

Our client Speedprint Technology has a global reach. Its hi-tech screen printer products are used in the manufacturing process of electronic circuit boards. And that industry spans the globe, as does Speedprint’s customer base.

Designing a website is always the initial challenge. Developing it to function the way the design dictates, and that the client needs, is the next. These are normal challenges and rarely daunting, given our expertise. As a content-driven agency, we also create all the words. Not many web development businesses do that – they expect the client to provide the words. We don’t. It’s all part of the Swordfish service.

Naturally, we create the content (words) in English, because we’re English. And that was the case with Speedprint. The next challenge was to accommodate other languages – in this case, French, German and Italian.

To get to a workable position quickly, we used an online translation tool to provide passable text for the local Speedprint guys to translate. So it’s in their language, sort of, and just needs editing. (With the site now live, that’s happening as I write this blog).

A bigger challenge for Swordfish Creative Director Ollie was developing a structure that would accommodate the languages effectively while allowing selective editing by Speedprint’s native language speakers in France, Germany and Italy. That structure added an extra level of complexity to the website. Unsurprisingly, “it basically quadrupled the size of the website and the amount of content,” says Ollie.

The outcome is great. And the client is delighted. The deadline to complete the website before the industry’s largest trade exhibition in Munich next month (Productronica in November) has been achieved. Overseas web visitors who fire up the new Speedprint site just click on the country flag in the menu bar. As a user experience (UX in the industry vernacular) it’s simple but effective – and it belies what hides behind the scenes to make that so. Job done!

Well almost. There’s a little more work to do but that’s the thing with websites – they are never finished, which is the way it should be if you resolve to keep the content fresh (and Google likes that).