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Here’s a piece of news: only about 20% of the world’s population speaks English (about 30% or so of web users). And guess how the remaining whooping 70% of web users would be able to read your content? Web translators!

Those useful little tools use the same technology to traverse through web content as some of the accessibility software out there. They can’t read content in Flash, they can’t read Obtrusive JavaScript delivering unique content after page load, and they naturally won’t read text in images.

Google has a popular and easy to use translator build into its web tool bar. Two other popular ones are www.worldlingo.com, and babelfish.altavista.com . Try them out!

Accessibility has been hard to sell, because as it seems 10% of web users being visually disabled does not phase most corporate web publishers. It could require revamping of millions of dollars in old web infrastructure, and the market is so small… yada, yada. Unless it becomes a legal issue (which most are just now waking up to) web content is not supposed to be “open” to everyone.

Maybe the potential access from equally neglected international audience could change that perspective. And yes, most web publishers with money will spend the “dime” it takes to translate for their most popular markets. But what about continuous streams of content from regular bloggers, or news publishing sites, or even small businesses with a marketable product or service….

Make your sites Accessible and Translatable!

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Posted by: Diana Zink on Saturday, 10th May, 2008

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