Before you begin, there is an important question you must ask yourself. Is the website multilingual or multi-regional?
A website that is multilingual typically will share the same content regardless of the language it is translated to. If you sell mobile phones online, the phones sold will be the same - only the product description will change.
A website that is multi-regional has different content for various regions. For example, you may have an British website with a group of products and you may have a Switzerland website. The services your company provides are likely very different in these two countries and so the content and structure of the website would probably reflect this.
Multi-Regional websites have the additional complication that they may be multilingualand multi-regional. For example, the Switzerland website may be translated into French, Italian and German.
Another factor to consider is the culture within regions. Do colours have different connotations? Do users prefer certain fonts? Do they read right-to-left? Do they prefer longer pages, or shorter pages? Do you need to worry about Internet Explorer 6 compatibility?
Multilingual sites are surprisingly easy to manage with ExpressionEngine. There are a number of addons that add translation functionality to the CMS, below are a number of popular options:-
Alternatively, you could "roll your own" using the method described on EE Insider.
When it comes to multi-regional it starts to get tricky and unfortunately there isn't a simple formula to follow. However, we can share some key tips that have helped guide us on multi-regional projects.
It's incredibly important to fully think through every point of a multilingual and multi-regional site. If you do something wrong, your workload to correct it is probably at least double. Take things slow and approach things properly... which you do anyway, right?