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Expanding Your Horizons: Building Multilingual ASP.NET Core Websites for Global Reach

This article equips ASP.NET Core developers with the knowledge and tools to create multilingual websites, expanding their reach to a global audience.


The internet has broken down geographical barriers, making it easier than ever to connect with people worldwide. For developers using ASP.NET Core, this presents a fantastic opportunity to extend their reach beyond their local market. By creating multilingual websites, you can cater to a wider audience, fostering brand awareness and increasing user engagement. This article delves into the world of building multilingual ASP.NET Core websites, guiding you through the essential concepts, tools, and best practices to achieve a seamless user experience across different languages.

Understanding Globalization and Localization

Globalization and localization are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Globalization refers to the process of designing and developing your website to be adaptable to different languages and cultures. Localization takes globalization a step further by tailoring the website specifically for a particular region or culture. This involves translating content, formatting dates and currencies, and adapting imagery to resonate with the target audience.

Building the Foundation: Understanding Culture

The foundation of a multilingual website lies in understanding culture. Different cultures have varying preferences for date and time formats, number systems, and even colour associations. By considering these cultural nuances, you can ensure your website feels natural and welcoming to users from diverse backgrounds. The IETF language tags (BCP 47) provide a standardized way to identify languages and their regional variations. ASP.NET Core leverages these tags to determine the appropriate language and cultural settings for each user.

Localization Strategies in ASP.NET Core

ASP.NET Core offers a robust set of tools to facilitate localization. Resource files are the cornerstone of this process. These files contain key-value pairs where the key represents the text identifier and the value holds the translated text for a specific language. Resource files can be created for different cultures, allowing you to manage translations efficiently.

Model View Controller (MVC) and Razor Pages applications in ASP.NET Core provide built-in mechanisms for accessing and displaying localized text. The ViewData or TempData dictionaries in MVC and the @ViewData or @TempData directives in Razor Pages can be used to store localized strings. These mechanisms work in conjunction with the IViewLocalizer or IHtmlLocalizer interfaces, allowing you to retrieve the appropriate translated text based on the user's culture.

Taking it a Step Further: Pluralization and Date Formatting 

Localization extends beyond simple text translation. Different languages have varying rules for pluralization. ASP.NET Core provides helper methods like Pluralize and FormatPlural to handle these complexities. Similarly, date and time formatting is crucial for a positive user experience. The GlobalizedStringFormat class offers a wealth of methods to format dates, times, and numbers according to the user's culture.

Content Management Systems and Multilingual Support

For websites with a large amount of dynamic content, a Content Management System (CMS) can be a valuable asset. Many popular CMS platforms offer built-in features or plugins to manage multilingual content. These features allow content creators to edit and publish content in various languages, streamlining the localization process.

Best Practices for Multilingual Websites 

  • Plan Early: Consider localization from the initial stages of development. This ensures your website's architecture and code are adaptable to different languages.
  • Choose the Right Languages: Prioritize languages based on your target market and business goals.
  • Consistent Terminology: Maintain consistency in terminology and phrasing across all languages for a clear and professional image.
  • Right-to-Left Languages: If supporting right-to-left languages like Arabic or Hebrew, ensure your website's layout and styling accommodate this.
  • Testing is Key: Thoroughly test your website in all supported languages to ensure proper functionality and a seamless user experience.

Here's an example of a section from the article on building a sample multilingual website with resource files:

Example: Translating Text with Resource Files

Let's create a simple example to demonstrate using resource files for localization. Imagine a basic website with a homepage containing a welcome message. Here's the code for the welcome message in our HomeController.cs file (assuming MVC):

public class HomeController : Controller
    private readonly IViewLocalizer _localizer;

    public HomeController(IViewLocalizer localizer)
        _localizer = localizer;

    public IActionResult Index()
        ViewData["WelcomeMessage"] = _localizer["WelcomeMessage"];
        return View();

In this code, we've injected the IViewLocalizer service through the constructor. This service allows us to access localized strings based on the user's culture.

Now, let's create the resource files. Within your project directory, create a folder named "Resources". Inside this folder, create two resource files:

  • WelcomeMessage.en-US.resx for English (US)
  • WelcomeMessage.es-ES.resx for Spanish (Spain)

Open these files in a Visual Studio editor. Each file will have a key-value structure. The key represents the identifier for the text, and the value holds the actual translated text. For example, in WelcomeMessage.en-US.resx:

Name         | Value
-------------- | --------------
WelcomeMessage | Welcome to our website!

Similarly, in WelcomeMessage.es-ES.resx:

Name         | Value
-------------- | --------------
WelcomeMessage | ¡Bienvenido a nuestro sitio web!

Finally, in your Index.cshtml view, you can access the localized text using the ViewData dictionary:


This approach allows you to manage translations efficiently and ensures the correct welcome message is displayed based on the user's culture. You can create resource files for various languages and expand your website's reach to a global audience.


Building multilingual websites in ASP.NET Core opens doors to a global audience. By embracing localization and following best practices, you can create a website that resonates with users from various cultures. This not only expands your reach but also fosters brand loyalty and drives business growth on a global scale.

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