Oct 28, 2009

Automatic Language Detection on Signup Forms

auto-translateWe just added automatic language detection to all signup forms.

When activated, it detects the preferred language setting in a visitor’s web browser, then automatically translates your signup form to match (plus your thank you screens, your welcome emails, forward-to-friend pages, etc).

This is an especially useful feature for companies with lots of international customers.

For example, say you’re a travel agency, and you build a signup form in English:

acme-english

In the upper right corner of that screen, click the "auto-translate" checkbox:

auto-translate

Then, if someone from Japan visits your signup form, we’ll automatically translate it to look like this:

acme-japanese

And if someone from Russia visits, it’ll change to this:

acme-russian

Notice there’s a link at the top that explains the page was auto-translated, so the visitor can click the link to view the original version.

Where the Translations Come From

We’ve got over 175,000 users on the system now. 30% of those users are outside the U.S. Our #1 city is London, then NYC, L.A., then Sydney. Whacky, huh? And we’re just 34 people in one little office in Atlanta. So we kinda have to be efficient with this whole internationalization thing. It’s not like we can call our office in Tokyo for help.

As you may already know, we worked with a professional translation service to provide a couple dozen different language options in our form designer (see: Does MailChimp Support My Language?). We also received some tweaks from a few kind MailChimp customers around the world with a few of the languages.

So if a visitor’s browser is set to one of the 29 languages that we already support, they’ll get that "human translated" version. But if the visitor’s browser is set to a language we never translated to, we’ll tap into the power of Google Translate. And of course if you customize any of our translated default text anywhere in the signup process, we’ll use Google Translate for that too.

See also: