As you may have learned recently on Seth's blog, we have been working lately on creating translated landing pages on mozilla.com for all of the locales that are not already supported on an official regional portal (that is those not on Mozilla Europe/China/Japan).
Now that I have a bit of time I can blog a bit about how this project is going.
We have created this week landing pages on mozilla.com for 7 of our locales (Afrikaans, Frisian, Irish, Indonesian, Georgian, Slovene, Swedish) which is a good start given that we (Laura and me) plan to have all of the 37 locales we are targeting done by the end of the year. By the way, the list of targeted locales is on the Web Dashboard, if your language is on the list of languages we are targeting, don't hesitate to come and help with the translation!
So what does it change for let's say a Slovene user compared to the previous situation? Until one week ago, a user with Internet Explorer in Slovene going to getfirefox.com or mozilla.com was redirected to mozilla.com/en-US/ and was offered a link to download Firefox in Slovene but the page was all written in English. This is good enough for people speaking English as a second language, but our target audience is no longer the computer and English savvy advanced users. We were certainly losing potential users for one of these reasons:
- The user gets to an English page and concludes that Firefox is not localized into his language.
- The user just doesn't understand what the page is about and leaves.
- We misdetect the visitor's locale and he downloads Firefox in the wrong language.
It is very clear to me that translating a whole portal like mozilla.com and keeping it up to date is not scalable. Maintaining a reduced version of a portal like we do on Mozilla Europe for 22 languages is already a very big task and could be seen as an ideal solution, but many of the locales we are speaking about have little human resources to keep and, more importantly, maintain an entire web site.
Another drawback of a multilingual portal is that any technical change in the reference language (English) may have an impact on localized pages. This is particularily true for stylesheet changes, I have already seen minor visual fixes on an English page impacting negatively the same page for other languages. So as to avoid that, updates on the English version have to be very carefully done and planned and lots of QA of localized pages has to be done when some files are updated in English. Definitely, this is not scalable or would be possible for a handful of languages only.
The solution chosen is one single landing page to propose the download of Firefox, give a few informations (among which a link to the locale's community portal) and also a link to Thunderbird pages in English. We have a separate stylesheet for that and we only share a cut-down version of the mozilla.com template. Our Hebrew localizer is also working on a Right-To-Left stylesheet, thanks Tomer for that!
Additionally, offering the right locale in a page written into the right language is not the only good news about it. This is also going to help promoting localized versions of Firefox more easily with a short url such as www.mozilla.com/af for Afrikaans. Great for printed material, banners or simply to give the url of the site verbally to a friend. This will also allow us to do real Search Engine Optimization in the user's language (as we did in the past on mozilla-europe.org) and one of the next things to do will be to evaluate the wording of this page for better result, I'll open bugs about it and we will work with our communities on optimizing the language for better search results. By the way, these pages are in Google results since this morning, which is a good start :)
One other good news is that we promote on this page community portals, which means that this will give more visibility to these portals and hopefully new contributors will join the Mozilla project.
Here is the list of current languages done (in the visitor's language so as to give it a small SEO boost ;) ):
- Firefox in Swedish / Firefox på svenska
- Firefox in Indonesian / Dapatkan Firefox Bahasa Indonesia
- Firefox in Irish / Firefox as Gaeilge
- Firefox in Georgian / Firefox ბრაუზერი ქართულად
- Firefox in Slovene / Firefox v slovenščini
- Firefox in Frisian / Firefox yn it Frysk
- Firefox in Afrikaans / Firefox in Afrikaans
One more locale done today, Galician: