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Archive for November, 2008

How to Create Multi-Language Forms

We’ve now released the first international version of FormSmarts. Form users now see instructions, error messages, and confirmation messages in their preferred language. FormSmarts is already available in 27 languages, and more translations are under way.

The languages supported are: Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian . If your language is not listed and you are willing and able to translate FormSmarts into your language, sign up here.

Other changes worth mentioning:

  • Create forms in any language. Because of the character encoding that was used, web forms could before only be designed using a West-European language. FormSmarts now supports all languages.
  • Now using ISO date format. The date format accepted was changed to the ISO format YYYY-MM-DD. Note that because most users enter dates with a date-picker, the impact of this change is very small in practice. The format used on the confirmation page and in email notifications has not been changed.
  • New form URL format. The default form URL format was changed to accommodate forms which title is not in English. The previous URL format that was based on form title is still supported for backward compatibility.

How the Language of a Form is Selected

Each time a form is loaded, FormSmarts customizes it based on the language preferences set in the user’s browser. Common text, error, help and confirmation messages will be displayed in the form user’s preferred language, not necessarily in the language you used to create the form. For example, if you built a form in English but some of your visitors have set Spanish as their preferred language, those users will see the form questions and the text you entered in English, and help and confirmation messages in Spanish.

Setting a Form to Use a Specific Language

Dynamic language selection explained in the last section provides the best user experience in most cases. This approach however becomes awkward when the main language of the form and the preferred language of the form user employ a different reading direction. If you have built a form in a right-to-left (RTL) language (Arabic or Hebrew) and expect all form users to understand that language and a number of them to use a browser set to a left-to-right (LTR) language auch as English, then you should set the language of the form as explained next.

Dynamic language selection most-usually provides the best user experience and we recommend against setting forms to a specific language except in the case discussed above.

To set the language of a form to a specific language, set the lang parameter of the form URL to the ISO code of that language. So if the URL of your form is http://formsmarts.com/form/lqh and you would like to set it to always display in Hebrew, you would need to use the URL http://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?lang=he or change the URL in the form snippet published on your site to http://formsmarts.com/form/lqh?mode=embed&lay=1&lang=he.

PayPal Integration

If you’re using FormSmarts' PayPal integration on a payment form aimed at users in locales with a non-Western European language, you need to set up your PayPal account to use the UTF-8 encoding.

Give Feedback

We welcome your feedback about this new version of FormSmarts. Please report any problems you may find.

Posted on November 30th, 2008 in form builder.
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About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.