I'm working in London this week, and yesterday we were talking about mixed language pages. My question to the group I was working with was this:
If we could provide components on signed in pages like the Visual Studio 2005 Developer Center, which is currently an English language page, that were targeted at users in different locales in their language, would this be considered a bad user experience or a step in the right direction?
So, for example, if you were a signed in user from France (and had specified France as the country in your profile), and when you went to the Developer Center, you would see all of the current content there, in English, plus additional content which was programmed by the MSDN team in France, in French. This content might be news on local upcoming events, or links to French language only content, or links to French language community content. There were a range of opinions in the group, but the general consensus that emerged was that developers whose primary language is not English still go to the main MSDN site for some or all of their content, so in all it would be a slightly positive experience.
Do you agree about the likely developer reaction to this scenario? Is the assertion that developers whose primary language is not English use the main MSDN site correct? I'd love to hear what you think!
Addendum: Yikes! Although I generally try not to edit existing posts except for grammatical errors, etc., I can see from the comments I've gotten already that I didn't give enough context. Absolutely we want all the subsidiary sites to be as great as the main site, including a wealth of content in the local language, and are working toward that goal. And yes, as someone pointed out in the comments, this would be a temporary measure. I'm talking here about surfacing a single additional piece of content, programmed by the in country folks specifically for this purpose, surfaced on a limited set of pages (starting with one). So this wouldn't be replacing anything, it would be in addition to. Search and Browse wouldn't be impacted. The component would contain local information in the user's local language -- perhaps information on an upcoming event in France, or information programmed by Germany, specific to German users. You could think of it as "local voice".
All that said, keep your comments coming, I'm loving both the content of the comments AND the passion!