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A recent article that I read alluded to the fact that regulatory bodies are struggling to keep their websites updated, which could lead to misinformation or a lack of information for consumers and companies interested in a country’s regulations and policies. The story specifically pointed to the English and Korean versions of South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s (MFDS) website. While the website in Korean was up-to-date, the English version was not nearly as well maintained.
A few visits to other regulatory agency websites in other countries led me to find that most countries, especially less wealthy ones, offer information only in their official languages. Some wealthier nations, like South Korea, did provide their website in multiple languages; typically those that are more frequently spoken among their constituents. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers their website in English and Spanish. Health Canada offers theirs in English and French, and Israel’s Ministry of Health offers theirs in Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Less wealthy countries, like Columbia, offer information in a single language, like Spanish.
Maintaining a website can be a big undertaking, let alone multiple versions in different languages. However, if you’re a government agency or a life sciences company looking to operate in a global environment, and you decide to take the leap and operate a multilingual website, it’s critical to make sure it’s maintained with accurate information – otherwise, it becomes a disservice. Bad information is often worse than no information.
From a technology standpoint, there are plenty of solutions (e.g., Sitecore, Liferay, Adobe Experience Manager, etc.) available to help create and manage large, multilingual websites. There are also a handful of APIs, like Google’s Translate API, that you can plug into your website, largely eliminating the need to maintain multiple versions (although, Google’s API isn’t always accurate).
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