Museums and the Web

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Multilingual needs of cultural heritage website visitors: A case study of Tate Online

TitleMultilingual needs of cultural heritage website visitors: A case study of Tate Online
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMarlow, J., Clough P., & Dance K.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting - ICHIM07: Proceedings
Conference Start DateOctober 24-26
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Ontario, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordscultural heritage websites, localisation, multilingual needs, Tate Online, translation, user studies

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.