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Regionalization is going too far for me, please give me a choice.

This post is about the Wolfram website (I couldn't find an appropriate tag for the thread, sorry), and it is really primarily aimed at the Wolfram team, but maybe someone else wants to add their thoughts as well. And maybe I'm just overreacting and no-one else has a problem with this (which is totally possible).

I realize that it makes perfect sense to regionalize certain content on websites, like the currency in prices, or shipping and contact information, or time zones. It also makes perfect sense to derive the default values from each user's geographic location. Provided that you can always manually change these settings.

To a certain point, I also recognize the charm (and sales opportunities) in offering a site like the Wolfram site in various different languages. Granted, I can't really see anyone using Mathematica without at least a basic knowledge of English, but that's quite beside the point. Maybe you're trying to expand support for different languages, maybe you just want people to feel more at home. Either way, I can certainly see that as a worthwhile endeavour. Again: Provided that you can always manually change these settings.

But please, don't force people to view pages in specific (non-English) languages! Recently I happened across the Wolfram products page and had to discover that I did not, in fact, have a choice: I'm in Germany, so I see the page in German, period. The same is true for some other pages. Now for me that's not technically a problem because German is my first language. But what if I were living, temporarily working, or even just vacationing somewhere (and accessing your site from there) and didn't speak the local language very well, or at all? Also... the German translation... well, let's just say it's awkward in places, but I'm sure you're aware of that and perhaps even working on it. Anyway, I would really appreciate having at least a little button to switch back to the original English version of a page, and I can't seem to find such a button. Am I blind and the button is really well-hidden, or is it actually missing? If it's truly not there, do you think implementing such a button would be feasible? Pretty please with raspberries on top?

This is obviously especially important if you expand on the translations and this starts affecting more pages, so in a sense my post here may be a bit of a preemptive measure. (And please, never do this inside any actual products - I hope that goes without saying.)

Thanks for reading, and for perhaps considering my request.

~ Bianca

POSTED BY: Bianca Eifert
3 Replies

A web developer told me,

But for now, we don't do the ip detection for our wolfram.com, only for certain pods. What language users see depends on the browser language setting. So that user might change the language setting in her browser. That's why she is seeing our pages in German.

POSTED BY: Bruce Miller

Thank you for your quick help, Bruce! Changing the browser language setting indeed works. However, I can see that becoming a problem when viewing other sites (which I may actually want to read in German), and having to switch browser settings all the time really isn't particularly comfortable, so I have to say I still believe that a selection menu or something along those lines would be helpful. I know I've seen language choice buttons on some of your pages (although I can't find an example right now) where I could have changed from English to Spanish or (I think) Chinese... Maybe I dreamt that though.

Anyway, your reply solves the immediate issue, and if the lack of choice is not intentional on your part, then I suppose that eases my general concerns as well.

POSTED BY: Bianca Eifert

Bianca,

Thank you.

I passed your suggestions to the web group. I have visited a lot of European web pages with a little language-choice pull-down or buttons in the upper-right corner.

Bruce

POSTED BY: Bruce Miller
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