Creating Internationally Friendly Forms

Category: Translation Services

It’s officially the end (la fin), according to The New York Times: the title of “Mademoiselle”, in France, is no longer en vogue. While the decision was made largely due to political reasons, the story highlights a point that touches the localization world as well: it’s important to address your users accurately in each market you plan to enter.

And it’s not just all about titles. Below is a slide from a presentation we put together about localizing your website forms:

international form slide(1)
As you can see, some independent research on naming conventions (this is something your localization agency can also help you with) will go a long way to making sure your global users are present and accounted for. Other tips include accepting various top-level and second-level domains, including a country field and, if applicable, regional fields. Above all, be aware that only Americans call it a “ZIP” code (the acronym stands for Zone Improvement Plan, according to Wikipedia, but doesn’t stretch beyond our borders). Use “postal code” for a more internationally-friendly option.

Also, don’t assume that your users enter their contact information as address + city + state + postal code. Many areas switch it up, putting the postal code before the city name (for example). Another global form boo-boo is not allowed for alphanumeric postal code fields.

So while the French begin scrubbing the late “Mademoiselle” from their title registry, why not take a look at your own global forms and see if they’re up to snuff? Your international users will thank you for it.

Photo attribution: fliegender