Only 17% of the world's population speak English, and even in the largely anglophone USA, only 80% of the population have English as a first language. Because of this, it is vital that museums learn the techniques of communicating in a polyglot world.
In this presentation, I will explore a range of bilingual and multilingual projects and discuss some of the challenges of developing digital systems in this way. For example, recent bilingual Arabic/English projects for Qatar Museums and for the British Library demonstrate that bilingual sites do not have to compromise in terms of aesthetics and usability. And a bilingual Chinese/English interactive installation at the Tate Modern allowed artist Ai Weiwei to interact with his audience in both languages.
Many of our multilingual projects have been in Drupal. I will talk about the choices for approaching multilingualism in Drupal 7 and how it will change in Drupal 8.I will also discuss how an effective translation workflow enables digital services to be continually provided in a range of languages, on a range of platforms and devices, and mention the strangest multilingual brief we have ever worked with: to provide animated Welsh-speaking singing aliens for the BBC.