Back to Top links - should these be translated for multi-language sites?!

13 Feb 2006 - 5:45pm
8 years ago
1 reply
1153 reads
Steve Baty
2009

Dear All,

Sorry to be asking such a basic question, but I don't have any research to
back up my belief so I throw myself on the collective wisdom of this list:

Should 'Back to top' - or equivalent - anchor links be translated into each
language of a multi-language site?

My instinctive reaction is 'yes': it would provide a consistent language
experience throughout the page and sitelet, and avoid any miscommunication
in something that should be a straight-forward navigation element. Also, if
you're going to translate thousands of words of content into four different
languages, why not translate an extra two or three words while you're at it.

However, the question I was asked was: "what is the internet protocol for
translation of the 'back to the top' or 'top' links - can they remain in
English?"

Appreciate your time and comments.

Steve Baty
Director, User Experience Strategy
Red Square

Comments

15 Feb 2006 - 1:26am
cfmdesigns
2004

Doc <stevebaty at gmail.com> writes:

>Sorry to be asking such a basic question, but I don't have any research to
>back up my belief so I throw myself on the collective wisdom of this list:
>
>Should 'Back to top' - or equivalent - anchor links be translated into each
>language of a multi-language site?

What are the reasons why you would want to *not* translate this? (1)
Because a crystal-clear icon is used rather than text. (2) Because
all users of the site are expected to be proficient enough in English
to be able to read that; it's the major content which needs to be in
their native language. (3) Because the text is embedded in graphics
and they don't want to have to create new ones for each language. (4)
Anyone, anyone?

I could see #2 being a decent argument, if there's a good handle on
the site's audience. #1 gets a "Yeah, sure, no one would ever wonder
what that icon means", and #3 gets a "In other words, you're cheap"
response. I can't readily think of other reasons/excuses that would
be used, and none other than #2 which are viable. But I may be
missing something.
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Jim Drew Seattle, WA cfmdesigns at earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rubberize/Weblog/index.html (Update: 2/7)
(Subject: Idling in Neutral in the Culture Wars)

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