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Supporting multiple languages #99

govuk-design-system opened this issue Jan 15, 2018 · 10 comments

Supporting multiple languages #99

govuk-design-system opened this issue Jan 15, 2018 · 10 comments


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@govuk-design-system govuk-design-system commented Jan 15, 2018


  • how to make your service work in multiple languages
  • the law regarding multiple language support
  • how to let users switch the language of your service


Welsh language support is a legal requirement for many government services, so we should provide design guidance for this.

Anything else

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@mikeash82 mikeash82 commented Nov 27, 2018

@stevenaproctor commented on 1 Aug

This will help Welsh language users when content is not available in Welsh.


In English, this means "This page is only available in English at the moment." The link lets you close the banner and means "Do not show this again".


In English, this means "Some of our pages have yet to be translated into Welsh." This more general version is used in the personal tax account as a disclaimer for the whole account.

This information will need to be used in all services that are not completely translated in to Welsh. The blue banner is an alert that is not part of the GOV.UK Design System or HMRC Design System yet.

Research on this pattern

The content has been agreed with and translated by the Welsh Language Unit.

The blue banner is in older versions of assets frontend as an attorney banner and an alert-info notification.

I do not have any research but the banner is usually above the h1 and is often missed or ignored.

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@kr8n3r kr8n3r commented Feb 11, 2019

Useful resource for javascript components

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@torydunn-hmrc torydunn-hmrc commented Jun 26, 2019

@timpaul are there any updates on progress for language support? Asking on behalf of our Welsh Language Unit. Thanks

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@vickytnz vickytnz commented Oct 9, 2019

HMRC has a consistent toggle for English and Cymraeg

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@terrysimpson99 terrysimpson99 commented Dec 6, 2019

The guidance for components contains examples in english. It would be great if examples were also in welsh.

For instance, somebody recently asked on Slack what the welsh for the skip link was. Answers came back as ''Mynd i'r prif gynnwys' and 'Neidio i'r prif gynnwys'. The HMRC welsh translation team told me to use 'Ewch yn syth i’r prif gynnwys'. A lot of skip links are in english even when the toggle is set to welsh. My hypothesis is that compliance would increase if a welsh example is given. It would also reduce duplicated effort.

I propose the welsh translation team is asked to provide examples for components. What do others think?

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@36degrees 36degrees commented Feb 10, 2020

I propose the welsh translation team is asked to provide examples for components. What do others think?

It's something that we're hoping to explore in the next 12 months, but we need to work out how to implement it consistently and in a sustainable way. For example, we need to understand how:

  • we would present the Welsh examples as part of the existing guidance
  • it would impact our ability for our team and for other contributors to add new components, make changes to guidance, etc going forward
  • we deal with support questions that relate to the Welsh translations
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@nschonni nschonni commented Feb 11, 2020

Canada is reworking the design system too
Next iteration may be moving into more Web Components, but we've had a bunch of experience with the multilingual docs with

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@abbott567 abbott567 commented Dec 11, 2020

I know we've not had much traction on this pattern, but one of the things I'm seeing come up quite a lot is a fail for 3.1.2 Language of parts due to not having a common component and the lack of understanding around it.

The issue is that people put a link in which reads: Cymraeg, but they're not giving it the attribute lang="cy". Because Cymraeg is literally written in another language, it needs to be tagged as such or a screenreader may pronounce it incorrectly.

It would be good, if this pattern is not going to be developed for a while, to at least add some guidance around it to the design system as a stop-gap so people at least know that they need to add the lang attribute in order for it to meet WCAG 2.1.

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@Turi-CO Turi-CO commented Mar 5, 2021

To add another voice to the mix, the 'Check an HGV' service is translated into 8 languages (walked back from the original 17 requested) because we need to reach a variety of users both in and out of the UK. The link off of the start page is difficult to see in the midst of all the other information, so having a vetted component/pattern that can accommodate changing to multiple languages throughout the service would be brilliant, and probably useful to a variety of services across government.

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