I’ve worked on a few education sites in Wales and bilingualism is one of the major challenges for any public sector site.
A multilingual site isn’t so hard. Most content management systems offer language switching – being on a page in one language and hopping across to view the equivalent piece of content in another. The difficulty comes with entering the site or managing the landing page experience.
So, on your bilingual site, what do you put on your home page? Most content management systems are set up to use a default or primary language with others as secondary options. They’re not treated equally. In Wales we’re supposed to give both Welsh and English equal status.
At one point I toyed with the idea of having bilingual pages – a 2 column layout with the 2 versions side by side. This is common in print and it works pretty well. On web pages it’s not so easy. Space can be very limited, especially on mobile. Loading and displaying additional content that will not be consumed is not really practical. It halves the value of your site – that’s value in real monetary