Of Märklin model trains and managing language expectations

For those with a passion for model railroading, Märklin is second to none. Looking at some of the models, it’s hard to imagine that these are not full-sized trains.

Fortunately, I don’t have the room to even consider a model railroad as I can see how this can quickly become an obsession (my weakness is typewriters).

Nevertheless, I did spend some time on the website and, while on the US website, clicked on the Newsletter button seen here:

This brought me to this newsletter sign-up form in German (Märklin is a German company):

Ideally, Märklin should have included text on the newsletter button letting me know before I clicked on it that the newsletter was in German. This would have saved me a bit of time and disappointment.

Web localization is all about managing expectations.

Märklin does manage language expectations successfully in a few others places. Like here, where it mentions videos available in English. It’s a detail, yes, but an important detail.

When it comes to website globalization, we naturally aspire to localize all content into all languages. But we inevitably fall short of that goal (for the time being at least).

So if you have language and content gaps (as we all do), focus on positively managing expectations. Where there are gaps in localized content, fail gracefully and in the visitor’s language.

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