The techie news blog engadget is launching a China site, with more countries/languages to follow. According to engadget, the site “will feature translations of Engadget posts, as well as original stuff specifically for the Chinese market, and will be the first of several foreign language editions of Engadget that well be launching in the coming months.” The site is clearly in ‘beta’ still.
On the plus side, the site smartly positions the language selector in the “sweet spot” of the upper right corner of the Web page. But on the negative side is the awkward URL: http://chinese.engadget.com/. The problem with using the “Chinese” label is that there is more than one Chinese language in use around the world. Now, if the site were labeled as Engadget China, users would know to expect Traditional Chinese. And the site’s URL could simply be www.engadget.cn. But it could be that engadget wants to avoid targeting specific countries and stick only with languages (and I’ll explain why in a sec).
Also, many of the “template” text items like “read” and “filed under” could use translation as well. But, clearly, it is early yet.
Now, why is Engadget rushing to add all these languages Web sites?
As Google keeps expanding its Adwords program into more and more languages, it provides a nice roadmap for growth for virtual companies such as engadget. This is why Engadget is taking the “language” approach rather than the “country” approach. Makes good sense. Currently the site isn’t using Chinese-language Adwords, but I’m sure that will change.