Multilingual Web Sites in Global Electronic Commerce

Multilingual Web Sites in Global Electronic Commerce

Shaoyi He (California State University, San Marcos, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch132
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The World Wide Web (the Web), a distributed hypermedia information system that provides global access to the Internet, has been most widely used for exchanging information, providing services, and doing business across national boundaries. It is difficult to find out exactly when the first multilingual Web site was up and running on the Internet, but as early as January 1, 1993, EuroNews, the first multilingual Web site in Europe, was launched to simultaneously cover world news from a European perspective in seven languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. (EuroNews, 2005). In North America, Web site multilinguality has become an important aspect of electronic commerce (e-commerce) as more and more Fortune 500 companies rely on the Internet and the Web to reach out to millions of customers and clients. Having a successful multilingual Web site goes beyond just translating the original Web content into different languages for different locales. Besides the language issue, there are other important issues involved in Web site multilinguality: culture, technology, content, design, accessibility, usability, and management (Bingi, Mir, & Khamalah, 2000; Dempsey, 1999; Hillier, 2003; Lindenberg, 2003; MacLeod, 2000). This article will briefly address the issues related to: (1) language that is one of the many elements conforming culture, (2) culture that greatly affects the functionality and communication of multilingual Web sites, and (3) technology that enables the multilingual support of e-commerce Web sites, focusing on the challenges and strategies of Web site multilinguality in global e-commerce.

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