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DON'T Language Guess from IP

by dingus (Friar)
on Dec 05, 2002 at 13:38 UTC ( #217758=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Language Guess from IP

Don't do it this way

You will do better to check on the ACCEPT_LANGUAGE HTTP header which is produced as standard by all browsers. Otherwise you will annoy people like me who are English but work in Germany. Not to mention people working in multinational entities with an IP address range shared between multiple countries


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Re: DON'T Language Guess from IP
by adrianh (Chancellor) on Dec 05, 2002 at 14:09 UTC

    <Adrian puts on his usability hat>

    I second that, don't do it via IP address. It only annoys people. As well as people who work in one country, but come from another you also have people who prefer to use a particular language that may not be their native one. People also make these decisions on a site-by-site basis depending on the information the site provides, and the strength of its support for other languages.

    In fact, I'd go further and say that you shouldn't automate it at all. At least, don't do it unless the user can override it on the web site.

    I've done user testing on a few international sites and every single time some users have wanted to change the default language.

    Use ACCEPT_LANGUAGE to set the default, but allow the user to override it, or I guarantee some people will send you nasty feedback and you'll have to do it later :-)

    <Adrian goes away and tries to remember where he put his perl hat>

      In fact, I'd go further and say that you shouldn't automate it at all.

      Amen brother. That is one of the most annoying things I know - it actually bugs me more than popup ads do. I seem to recall that SourceForge and Debian are among the offenders, and thereby sites I rather avoid. Especially Debian really sucks, because even if I choose a new language (English, as it were), it forgets this as soon as I click a link.

      I want an opt-in solution for this kind of things, and preferable English as the main language. I am Swedish, but I don't usually appreciate translations, even if they are good, lots of context is lost in translations. And technical stuff is rarely suitable for translation at all, IMHO. Since so much of the technical lingo is English or derived directly from it, "thinking" in one language at the time is enough, thank you very much.

      Yeah, this is only how I feel about it. But I do so strongly. :)

      And yes, I never buy translated books either, not for fiction, nor for fact.

      You have moved into a dark place.
      It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
        well i'm not a debian developper, but debians translation team has a good quality reputation.

        i personally never touched their language option and many times quite heavily relied on their documentation, but never saw something else than english!! :-))
        even if i'm half french and austrian, i enjoy english as programming language and would feel bothered of your site, if i had to change the language, because of the range of my viennese ip!

      Here's a simple receipt on Doing It Right: return the site in the default language - usually English. Put a link to change to the guessed language and one to go to a language menu on the page; or put a language select dropdown on the page, and default it to the guessed language.

      That way, the viewer's own language is just one click away if it's guessed correctly and they want it.

      Makeshifts last the longest.

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