More and more websites consider it clever to display in the language that I set up in Firefox to be my primary language (or the first one in the list of preferred languages). Unfortunately if that happens to be not the native language of said site, it is more often than not a machine-translated version which is more difficult to understand than the native language if I happen to speak it. So is there any way to make Firefox transmit something like "display the site in the native language if it's among the languages I claim to understand, and only if that is not the case bother me with your bad translation"?

edit I'd be fine with using a plugin. I guess the first question is however, does HTTP offer any feature to let website inform the browser about their native language such that the browser can decide which HTTP_ACCEPTED_LANGUAGE to choose?

  • It doesn't detect your browser language, it works by geolocation (reverse lookup of your IP) to work out which country you're in.
    – Oliver G
    Aug 14 '12 at 10:49
  • @OliverG that's even worse :-/ what if I'm in an internet cafe in a country the language of which I can't understand good enough? It was bad enough seeing that GEMA crap when I still lived in Germany... Aug 14 '12 at 12:48
  • The problem doesn't lie with the browser, the websites often display what they THINK you should be looking at based on your country.
    – Oliver G
    Aug 14 '12 at 13:02
  • 1
    @OliverG not exclusively according to this SO question, so at least for sites using the browser feedback instead of geoIP there might exist a solution. Anyway, unsolicited translations shouldn't happen - guess I could ask a question on this at UX.SE Aug 14 '12 at 13:06
  • 2
    @OliverG The vast majority of sites do not use geolocation to determine the language of the visitor (because, as Tobias has pointed out, it's wildly unreliable) but instead nearly ubiquitously use the HTTP/1.1 Accept-Language header sent my the browser, which is configurable.
    – msanford
    Aug 14 '12 at 13:40

From what I can see this is not a technical problem. From a technical point of view your browser is correctly configured to request the languages you understand, and sites should respond in one of those languages.

The issue here is that the site(s) in question are relying on machine translation to offer additional languages, but they should only offer those languages if they can verify the intelligibility of the translation. (Especially as you can get machine translation plugins for browsers, offering machine translation without asking is a definite usability no-no).

I'd suggest contacting the site(s) and telling them their translation is worse than nothing and they should stop supplying it.

  • so I should start with Microsoft... Jun 3 '14 at 4:06

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