October 24-26, 2007
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Paper: Multilingual Needs Of Cultural Heritage Web Site Visitors: A Case Study Of Tate Online

Jennifer Marlow, and Paul Clough, University of Sheffield; Katie Dance, Tate Gallery, United Kingdom


As the Internet extends its global reach, language can remain a barrier preventing people from being able to fully explore material of interest. Tate Online, the Web site for Britain’s Tate art galleries, serves as a good case study for exploring the issue of meeting international site visitors’ multilingual needs. The site contains a great deal of material that is of international interest; however, much of this is currently accessible only in English. The present study used a variety of methods to gather a set of requirements and recommendations for providing enhanced multilingual content on Tate Online. These included a competitor analysis, on-line survey of 457 Tate Online visitors, log file analysis, machine translation resource evaluation, and basic user test. Findings from this preliminary study provided information about users’ main activities on Tate Online. They indicate that many individuals would appreciate having more content available in their own language, either due to necessity or out of preference. However, the best means of providing this content depends on a variety of factors, including the pragmatic consideration of resources available for translation. Insights gathered here can also apply to other cultural heritage organizations looking to expand the amount of multilingual material on their own Web sites. The means by which this is accomplished may involve striking a balance between that which fulfills site user needs and that which is feasible for the organisation to implement.

Keywords: cultural heritage Web sites, multilingualism, localisation, user needs, translation, Tate Online


Many international organisations with a web presence recognise the need to offer multilingual content in order to reach a wider and more diverse audience. For cultural heritage Web sites in particular, “the audience for the material goes beyond linguistic and national boundaries,” so the greater the audience reached, the greater the value of the site (Minerva Project, 2005).

The World Wide Web is a useful tool for the dissemination of cultural heritage-related material because it frees users from the constraints of physical location, allowing them to access information from all over the world. However, associated with this wide range of sources are language barriers which may prevent people from being able to access or understand the desired information.

To help address this issue, the MultiMatch project aims to create a vertical search engine focused on the cultural heritage domain that will, among other things, provide automatic query translation and cross-language retrieval tools to help users search for and access content across language boundaries. However, little is currently known about the multilingual abilities and needs of individuals who are likely to access cultural heritage Web sites.

Tate Online provides an excellent case study for expanding knowledge on this topic because, as the official Web site for the UK’s Tate art galleries, it is a popular and heavily-visited on-line resource with global appeal. However, most of the site’s content is only available in English, thus potentially excluding part of its would-be audience.

The aim of this study was to gather a set of requirements for increasing multilingual access to Tate Online. Expanding the multilingual content available on this (or any cultural heritage organisation’s) Web site has the potential to benefit both site visitors and the organisation itself. By considering both of these parties’ needs and desires, an effective and mutually acceptable strategy for enhancing multilingual access may be developed.

Languages and the Internet

Although the World Wide Web and the Internet can theoretically be accessed by any person from any location at any time, in reality the number of Internet users (and the languages spoken by these users) is not equally distributed across the globe. This is a continuously evolving area: for example, in 2000, 51% of all Internet users spoke English as a first language (Graddol, 2006), but by 2007 this figure had decreased to 29% (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm).

Whether or not an individual possesses functional English language abilities, research indicates that they will still prefer to operate within their native language if the opportunity is available (Cleary, 2000.) Therefore, it is increasingly evident that web users prefer to be addressed in their native language (Eurescom Project, 2000), either because it is necessary or because it is more comfortable.

With regards to language content of cultural heritage sites in particular, a 2006 EU survey found that 97% of cultural Web sites in the UK were monolingual English sites (Minerva Project, 2006). Therefore, any organisation that offers multilingual content can differentiate itself and thus obtain competitive advantage.

Translation Tools

Making multilingual content available on Tate Online will inherently involve translation. However, the nature of the content to be translated will determine the approach taken. There are a variety of tools and resources that the Tate could use for its translation needs.

In general, it is widely accepted that trained human translators should be responsible for translating permanent content that will appear on the top-level pages (Eurescom, 2000) because permanently displaying a flawed machine translation could detract from the overall prestige and image of a site (Guyon, 2003). However, machine translation can be employed in instances where it is considered acceptable for the reader to get the main idea of the text, or for frequently-changing and updated content. Machine translation may also be used for translating queries in a cross-language information retrieval situation. Furthermore, it must be employed in cases where pages are dynamically generated.

Cross-language information retrieval is a means by which an individual can retrieve information in a language other than that which is used to conduct the search. It incorporates both elements of machine translation and traditional monolingual information retrieval techniques (Clough & Sanderson, 2006), and there are a variety of processes by which it may be implemented.

The Tate Galleries, Tate Online, and Multilingualism: Background and Context

Tate Online is designed to entice people to physically visit the galleries but it is also becoming an on-line destination in its own right. In 2005, more people visited Tate Online than visited all four of the offline galleries combined (Rellie, 2006).

Two primary goals for UK museums on-line in 2006 were increasing audiences and improving access (ibid). One important way of achieving this is to make Web site content available in many languages. The benefits of doing so would extend to the Web site visitor but also to the Tate, as “the localization of products and services based on an awareness of and response to linguistic, cultural and technical differences is seen to bring a substantial return on investment” (Parry & Arbach, 2005).

In its present state, Tate Online offers basic information about planning a visit to each of its offline galleries in 12 different languages. This information includes opening hours, directions to the galleries, and other details that would be useful for prospective visitors to know.

As the Tate aims to increase the scope of its multilingual content, the Collection section of the site has been identified by Tate staff as the area of greatest interest for translation. It is composed of various subsections: those which are most often used include Artist A-Z (an alphabetical listing of all artists in the Collection along with biographical information) and an illustrated glossary of art terms. Not only does it represent the core of the galleries (the artworks), but it receives roughly one-third of all site traffic.

Additionally, the Collection site offers the possibility of searching Tate’s collection of artworks using either a controlled vocabulary (“Subject search”) or a free text search for artist name, artwork title, or subject.

Analysis of Multilingual Functionality of Tate Online and Similar Sites

Tate Online is unique in that it is the only site dedicated solely to providing information about the Tate galleries and their collections. However, there are similar sites that can be classified into three groups: other museums and galleries in London, other popular modern art museums worldwide, and general art and culture-related sites. A summary of their language offerings and multilingual functionalities can be seen in Appendix A.

As a brief analysis reveals, there is a fair amount of heterogeneity between the localisation approaches taken by the various sites. Tate Online is similar to many of its London museum counterparts in terms of structure and degree of multilingual content offered. However, the question is whether it can or should expand upon this basic offering. One of Tate’s distinguishing characteristics is the breadth of languages covered. However, it will be burdensome to add an equal amount of new translated content: completeness comes at the cost of linguistic diversity. Therefore, some languages should be identified as priorities, and these will most likely relate to the demographics of visitors that access the site most frequently.

Assessing Needs and Requirements for Multilingual Access to Tate Online – Study Methodology

Given that users of Tate Online who speak languages other than English will be the audience that stands to benefit from increased multilingual content, it was therefore logical to consider their needs and involve them in the planning process. As a result, a user-centred design approach was employed, which involved consulting actual site visitors and using their input to evaluate a series of prototypes (Petrelli et al., 2006). This approach can help create a design for an efficient, effective multilingual Web site that is satisfying to use.

Different data collection techniques were used at each stage to gather both qualitative and quantitative data. This approach, known as triangulation, is advantageous because it enables one to build a holistic view of the myriad issues at hand. Each technique yields information from a certain perspective which can help to corroborate findings (Preece et al., 2002).

Therefore, the first step in the process was to assess user and usage needs or requirements. This was achieved through analysing responses to an on-line questionnaire. Tate log file analysis also helped to give an idea of the types of basic tasks and searches carried out on Tate Online. An evaluation of machine translation resources was conducted with bilingual individuals.

The results of these three investigations provided information on users, their behaviours and their requirements. This information influenced preliminary design ideas, following which a basic usability study was conducted with native and non-native English speakers. This was all that was possible to accomplish in the time available; however, results and observations from all stages influenced and were incorporated into the final recommendations for future design and testing.

Gathering User Requirements – User Questionnaire

In order to ascertain user needs and requirements regarding multilingual access to Tate Online, it was important to consult actual end-users of the Web site. Areas of particular interest for investigation were:

  • User characteristics (where are international visitors located and what languages do they prefer to use when surfing the Internet?)
  • Task analysis (why do these visitors currently use the Collection site, and what do they do there?)
  • Requirements (what type of increased multilingual functionalities do the site users need or want?)

However, it must also be noted that the end-users are not the only ones whose needs must be considered throughout the requirement-gathering process: “the concept of ‘user’ should be defined to include everybody whose work is affected by the product in some way” (Nielsen, 1993). Therefore, the Tate’s needs should also be taken into consideration, and an important initial step in doing so was to assess:

  • Demand and feasibility (is there really a need for more multilingual content on Tate Online, or do most users possess adequate English-language skills to satisfactorily navigate the site?)
  • To provide insight into these and other questions, a questionnaire was designed to gather information regarding languages spoken by Tate Online users and to assess their preferences in order to prioritise the aspects and areas of the Collection site that could potentially be translated.

Questionnaire Results

A total of 457 people responded to the questionnaire, which was made available through two links on the Tate Web site. Based on IP address, 31.2% of respondents were located outside of the UK, in 40 different countries.

Language skills

When users were asked which language they preferred to use when searching and browsing the Internet, the top ten results were as follows:

Language Percent
Spanish 34.4
English 26.4
Italian 18.2
French 13.1
Portuguese 2.7
Dutch 1.3
German 0.9
Japanese 0.7
Turkish 0.4
Welsh 0.4

Table 1 – Preferred language

The predominance of Spanish, English, Italian, and French is not surprising, given that these were the languages in which the survey was available. Regarding self-reported secondary language skills, the percentages of people who said they could perform at an intermediate level or above in a foreign language were:

Language Skill Percentage
English Reading 39.6
Writing 33.7
French Reading 21.0
Writing 17.9
Spanish Reading 11.8
Writing 9.2
Italian Reading 10.9
Writing 8.5

Table 2 – Respondents’ foreign language skills

The relatively high proportion of respondents with intermediate or higher English language skills is not surprising, given that Tate Online’s content is predominantly in English. What is unknown is the number of people who would like to visit Tate Online but have been hindered from doing so by a lack of English ability.

Uses of Collection Site

53% of respondents had visited the Collection site before. Of these, 69% had done so out of personal interest, while 27% were motivated by academic or research-related objectives.

Regarding primary objectives for using the Collection site, roughly 60% of respondents used the site to browse the Tate’s holdings without looking for something specific, or to prepare for a visit. The relative frequencies of all tasks were:

Task Percentage
To browse what the gallery has (without looking for something specific) 33.8
To prepare for a visit 26.2
To view or download an image of a work of art 10.0
To look for information on a specific artist 8.6
To look for information on a specific work of art that you knew the name of 8.6
To look for information on a specific work of art that you DIDN’T know the name of 5.2
Other 4.3
To look up the definition of an art-related term (glossary) 3.3

Table 3 – Primary objectives on Collection site

Respondents whose preferred language was not English rated the amount of content currently available on Tate Online in their preferred language as follows:

Response Percentage
Fair (more would be helpful) 40.3
Adequate (no need for more) 27.1
Poor (more is definitely necessary) 21.4
Not sure 8.8
Too much 2.4

Table 4 – Rating of amount of non-English content

Overall, 76.4% of those who did not prefer to view Web sites in English stated that they would be more likely to visit the Collection site if it were translated into their preferred language.

Areas of priority for translation

Area Percentage
Artist Biographies 35.9
General instructions (i.e., how to use the subject search) 22.4
Search (the ability to enter search terms in a language besides English) 22.1
Glossary 18.1
Titles of artworks 15.1
Categories (in subject search) 12.4
Artist names 7.6

Table 5 – Most important aspects of Collection site to be translated

Most of the above areas (besides “Search” are static content and thus could be translated manually; however, the problem is the vast amount of potential content.)

Other revealing attitudes were expressed in the section for general comments and suggestions. In general, people praised the English version of Tate Online, while indicating they would appreciate the ability to view the pages in different languages.

Justification for Translation

The results of the initial survey suggest that providing more multilingual content would be appreciated by international users, some of whom already expect such provisions from an institution of the Tate’s caliber. Furthermore, it appears as though offering enhanced multilingual content would attract more visitors to the Collection site and presumably to Tate Online in general. Therefore, the value of doing so is reinforced; however, the specifics of how and what to translate must be ascertained in order to guide the design phase.

Quality of Translation Needs

The high degree to which the Collection site is used out of personal interest suggests that professionally-done translation may not be necessary; users may be satisfied with machine translations that allow them to get the gist of the information.

However, one issue to consider regarding reported use of the Collection site is the time period in which the data was collected (during school summer holidays.) It is possible that this affected the results, as presumably fewer people would be using the site for academic purposes. It is possible that machine translation may not be acceptable for academic research purposes depending on the level of information required.

Priorities and Implementation Issues

Regarding the most popular candidates for translation (biographies, general instructions, and search) the means of translating should be considered. Given the vast number of biographies (approximately 3,000) and the fact that the pages are all dynamically generated, it is not feasible to provide human translations of everything. One possible compromise could be to provide professional translations for biographies of the most popular artists and then to provide a means for automatic translation of the rest.

Task Analysis – Log file Analysis

Another way to obtain information about what visitors to Tate Online do whilst visiting the site is by examining the server log files. An analysis of log files for one 24-hour period yielded some basic data regarding the types of search queries entered and the aspects of the Collection site which were the most visited. Although more in-depth and long-term analysis of log files would be necessary to provide a more accurate picture of overall use patterns, this 24-hour sample gave some insight into what types of tasks are most typically performed.

Using the log file, it was also possible to extract search queries entered into the Tate Online main page site search. Although these were not specifically from the Collection site, they give a general idea of some typical queries. Overall, 2010 queries were submitted in the 24 hour period, 933 of which were unique. Of these, only three were in a foreign language. 85 of these unique queries were submitted five times or more, and they can be classified as follows:

Category Number of queries Percentage
Proper names 49 57.6
Single words 26 30.6
Phrases (2+ words) 9 10.6
Name and title 1 1.2

Table 6 – Search queries by category

With regards to the idea of query translation, a large majority of searches conducted (i.e. most artist names and the single words) would be unproblematic to automatically translate. However, the remaining categories might cause some difficulties (i.e. proper names or phrases with multiple meanings.)

It is difficult to ascertain whether the dearth of foreign language searches exists because all users are able to formulate queries in English, because people assume they cannot even try to enter foreign language terms, or because foreign language speakers access their information via a different route (i.e. navigating through the site pages.) In any case, it does not appear as though creating a CLIR-based search functionality for Tate Online should be a primary need, at least initially.

Design consideration - Machine Translation Testing

Since not all content can be manually translated, one option would to be to give users the possibility of using a MT system in cases where a professional translation is not available. It may be that when it comes to non-English content, having something is better than nothing, and people will be happy with simply getting the gist of an automatic translation.

Possibly the easiest and cheapest way of producing an instantaneous translation is to use an on-line resource to translate an entire URL. Clearly, the advantage of this approach is that it is fast and can accommodate several languages. Perhaps most importantly in the context of the Collection, this method can be used to translate dynamic web pages whereas other approaches (i.e. human translation or a software program) cannot.

Most on-line MT systems are accessible by typing in a URL or entering text at the system’s Web site. However, this requires extra effort on the part of the user and interrupts the browsing experience. A more user-friendly approach is to use a functionality provided by some companies (SYSTRAN and WorldLingo) to obtain instant translations through a language toolbar that can be added onto all desired pages.

In order to get a broader feel for general comprehensibility and acceptability of MT output texts, it was necessary to survey a group of bilingual individuals. Study participants were given a packet of texts and questionnaires to read and complete. The texts were randomly selected from the Tate Collection site: one was a painting description and the other was an artist biography. These texts were translated into each participant’s native language using one of two freely available MT systems (SYSTRAN system and WorldLingo.) Also included in the packet were the original English texts; participants were able to consult these if they wished but it was not mandatory.

Participants were asked to read the first translated text and then to answer some questions evaluating its comprehensibility, its acceptability, and its fidelity to the original (if applicable.) They were also asked if they were able to learn something from the text and if it would be a useful resource for writing an academic paper. This procedure was then repeated for the second text.

System Understanding Acceptability Fidelity to original
SYSTRAN 4.00 2.80 3.61
WorldLingo 4.00 3.11 3.78

Table 7 – Mean ratings for the painting text (1 is the most positive, 5 is the most negative.)

System Understanding Acceptability Fidelity to original
SYSTRAN 4.10 3.00 3.94
WorldLingo 4.00 3.10 3.89

Table 8 – Mean ratings for the artist text (1 is the most positive, 5 is the most negative.)

If a mean rating of 3 or lower is considered to be the minimum for MT to be valuable, then responses for categories (except acceptability) did not meet this criterion. For both the painting and the biographical text, acceptability received a lower (more favourable) mean ranking than comprehensibility, suggesting that people were somewhat willing to accept a text even if it was difficult to comprehend. Nonetheless, it must still be noted that on average, respondents felt that both texts required “a definite effort to understand the meaning.” Whether the use of free online systems is an acceptable level of service for the Tate to provide is certainly questionable. It is possible, however, that paid, “professional” machine translation systems would provide higher quality output.

This brief exploratory study seems to correspond with findings by Guyon (2003), which cast doubt on the benefits of providing permanent machine-generated translation content on a Web site: if readers perceive the texts as not being very serious, then the Web site’s reputation could suffer.

Nonetheless, “even in contexts where automatic translation is not currently feasible, other forms of computer support are worth considering” (Connolly, 1996). These could include giving users with moderately good language skills links to on-line dictionaries or thesauri, which could provide fast and convenient means to help clarify unknown words. The potential benefit of using “other” forms of support may be investigated in the future.

User Testing

According to Nielsen (1996), “the ultimate international usability engineering method is international user testing,” having real users perform real tasks with the system without receiving help. User testing was conducted to compare the performance of non-native and native English speakers on the existing version of Tate Online.

In total, 14 participants aged between 16 and 35 took part in the study. Seven of these were non-native English speakers who were visiting Tate Modern. Seven native English speakers were chosen to serve as a control group: three of them were recruited at Tate Modern and the other four were British university students. Overall, this group had roughly the same age and gender balance as the non-native English speaking group.

Participants were brought to a public access computer room on the ground floor of Tate Modern. None of the participants were frequent visitors to Tate Online; all had either never visited it before or done so only once.

Following an initial site familiarisation period, participants were given three tasks to perform, each of which was related to a specific scenario. The first was to locate five paintings currently on display at Tate Liverpool, the second was to find and read a description of an artwork, and the third was to locate and read the biography of Francis Bacon. These tasks were chosen to represent some typical browsing or free-searching behaviours that site visitors might perform. Upon completing the three tasks, participants filled out a short post-test questionnaire asking them to rate the difficulty of using the Web site and also asking for any specific comments or suggestions they may have had.

Quantitative measures taken included the number of tasks unsuccessfully completed, the time elapsed before a participant either completed a task or gave up, and the overall ranking of the Web site’s degree of difficulty to use.

Group Task 1 mean time (minutes) Std.
Task 2 mean time (minutes) Std.
Task 3 mean time (minutes) Std.
Mean difficulty rating Std.
Non-English 4.031 2.417 2.617 2.400 2.446 2.542 3.14 1.952
English 2.257 0.956 1.184 1.373 0.631 0.606 3.00 1.915

Table 9 – Quantitative results from user test

Although these results were not significantly different between the two groups at a level of p<.05, the differences in time taken to complete the tasks is striking. Nevertheless, some participants in both groups accomplished the tasks quickly and easily, while others required more time. However, none of the native English speakers gave up before completing any of the tasks, while some of the non-native English speakers did.

Qualitative results came from observing participants’ behaviours and noting comments they made. Some general trends and common patterns of difficulty became evident (for example, using the site search was often problematic, as many of the top search results were irrelevant.) Some of these problems affected all participants and were related to general site design or structure.


At the beginning of the study, participants were asked what language they preferred to use when viewing Web sites. Six of them mentioned their mother tongue (Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Spanish/Galician, Spanish) and one chose English.

At the end, when asked, “Given what you have experienced here, would you prefer to use Tate Online in English or in another language?” nearly half of these participants (three out of seven) indicated that they would prefer to use Tate Online in English. It should be noted that these individuals performed all of the tasks with very little difficulty. Therefore, it makes sense that they would feel comfortable with the English site. The other participants had more trouble with the tasks, and their preference to use another language could indicate that they may have attributed part of their struggle to language difficulties.

Participant Suggestions

The final question on the post-test survey was, “Do you have any other suggestions or comments about how Tate Online can be improved for people who speak languages besides English?” Suggestions included:

(4 people) - Make it easier to find the other language information (so people know it is possible to visit the site in other languages.)

(2 people) – More visible language buttons on sub-sites too (not just the home page, since people may be directed to Tate Online by a search engine.)

(1 person) – Have a home page in other languages to help guide people to where they can find the information they are looking for (even if the links lead to English-only sites)

(1 person) – Translate the Tate Online home page

The user study was a valuable way to gather information about paths people typically take to navigate and find information on Tate Online, and to witness their pitfalls and frustrations (or lack thereof.) However, it has its limitations due to the small number of participants and the fact that Tate Modern visitors may not be a completely representative sample of Tate Online users.

Therefore, testing with a wider range of people, particularly those whose English is not particularly strong, would be necessary to provide a more accurate picture of the degree to which such individuals have difficulty using the Web site. Nonetheless, many of the observations noted and suggestions made could help to make Tate Online more user- friendly for all visitors.

Summary of Key Findings

As previously stated, the objectives of the present study were to investigate several different elements that could play a role in influencing a strategy for enhancing multilingual access. Relevant findings in these four areas will now be discussed.


Many art and museum-related Web sites that are similar to the Tate in content and scope have a roughly similar degree of foreign language material available, and this is limited to visiting information. It is clear that providing more content beyond this can be logistically difficult and potentially expensive. These reasons in part are probably why many organisations do not offer extensively localised sites at this time, even if they would like to do so.

User Needs and Preferences

Clearly, some languages will be spoken by more site visitors than others and will therefore be more of a priority than others. Therefore, in choosing languages for added content, a good place to start would be to focus on what are known as the FIGS languages: French, Italian, German, and Spanish. These are typically rated the easiest languages for localisation (Yunker, 2003), they were the most frequently featured across all the competitor sites, and these four languages were also chosen when the Tate offered translated content related to a past exhibition. In addition, many site and gallery visitors speak these languages, into which Tate has already translated some guidebook content.

The on-line survey, log file analysis, and 2004 visitor survey all reinforce the fact that many people use Tate Online for general browsing or for visiting information. Log file analysis and the user study suggest that people very rarely type in specific artwork titles, so for this reason, implementing a query translation system is probably not a top priority.

Translation Resources

Most academic multilingual access research focuses on localisation or the technical issues involved in creating more accurate machine translation systems. However, the needs and interests of an organisation like the Tate are more business- rather than research-based. The following resources are most likely to be useful to the Tate:

  • Human translators (for any permanent or top level content, i.e. on the foreign language homepages, descriptions, etc.)
  • Bilingual dictionaries (some users did take advantage of the subject search; a bilingual dictionary could be used to translate the words or short phrases in the controlled vocabulary.)

It may require further testing or evaluation to decide if the benefits of providing instantaneous machine translations outweigh the financial costs of doing so, and if the quality of the output is of a high enough quality to be worthwhile. Alternatively, the Tate pages could include a link to an external automatic translation site, thus making it clear to the visitor that the sub-par automatic translations are not directly associated with Tate Online. This could then potentially reduce the risk of the translations having a detrimental effect on the Tate’s reputation.


Overall, it is likely that no matter which course of action is pursued, the addition of any multilingual content beyond what is currently provided will be welcomed by international visitors to Tate Online. Some individuals will require such content in order to use the site, while others will simply find it makes their experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

The information obtained in the present study is a good preliminary step in the development of a multilingual access strategy. Future work progressing from this foundation may include the design and testing of new interfaces, as well as a larger evaluation of translation resources as they relate to Tate content, for example.

The implications of this study also extend beyond the context of the Tate. For example, knowledge about the characteristics of common queries in an art-specific domain can help to inform the design of effective focused translation systems. More broadly, the findings of this study can be applied to the MultiMatch project (or any cultural heritage Web site with a global scope) by reinforcing the notion that the provision of multilingual access and support would be welcomed by people who wish to interact with content in languages they do not speak fluently. It may also need to be customizable in order to cater to varying levels of language proficiency and different media types.

The Tate is an internationally renowned organisation that has a great deal to share with the world. Increasing multilingual access to this (or any other cultural heritage) collection means that more people can take advantage of the extensive and unique resources offered. However, as the present case study has revealed, the means by and degree to which such multilingual support can be provided will ultimately depend on the financial, technological, and human resources available to a Web site’s creators.


Work partially supported by European Community under the Information Society Technologies (IST) programme of the 6th FP for RTD - project MultiMATCH contract IST-033104. The authors are solely responsible for the content of this paper. It does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Community is not responsible for any use that might be made of data appearing therein.


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Appendix A – Analysis of competitor sites

Language offerings of Tate Online and similar sites

Tate Online C O O O O O O O O O O O O
British Museum C X X X X X
National Gallery C O O O O O
Natl. Portrait Gallery C O O O O O O
Louvre C C
heim Bilbao
van Gogh Museum C X X X X X C
Centre Pompidou C C C
New York
heim New York
24 Hr Museum C X
Easyart.com C C C C C C
TOTAL 15 2 1 1 10 12 13 1 10 8 3 1 2 3 1 4


C - complete site or almost completely localised version
X - not completely localised version, but more than just visiting information
O - visiting information only

ISO Language Codes
English ENG
Arabic ARA
Basque BAQ
British Sign Language BSL
German GER
Spanish SPA
French FRE
Greek GRE
Italian ITA
Japanese JPN
Dutch DUT
Polish POL
Portuguese POR
Russian RUS
Welsh WEL
Chinese CHI

Functionalities offered by Tate Online and similar sites

Welcome pgs for f.l. (if more than one page) Multi-
lingual (search finds other langs.)
CLIR (query trans-
Controlled vocabulary Free-text


Easy to switch lang. Easy to return to original lang.
Tate Online C O X X O O
British Museum C C O X X C O
National Gallery O O X X O C
V&A Museum C O O X C C
Natl. Portrait Gallery C O X X O C
Louvre C C X Lafayette database
O Atlas database
C Kaleido- scope C C C
Guggenheim Bilbao C O O O O O O
van Gogh Museum C C O C O X C
Rijks- museum O X C C O O
Centre Pompidou C X X C
Met New York C O O X C C
Guggenheim New York O O X X
24 Hr Museum X X O O C O C
Easyart.com C O C C C O


C - multilingual offering

X - only in main language

O - not offered

Cite as:

Marlow, J. et al., Multilingual Needs Of Cultural Heritage Web Site Visitors: A Case Study Of Tate Online, in International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIM07): Proceedings, J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. 2007. Published October 24, 2007 at http://www.archimuse.com/ichim07/papers/marlow/marlow.html