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Multilingual chatbots: Everything you need to know

Jeremy DSouza
min read
Multilingual chatbots: Everything you need to know

When IKEA entered the Chinese market, they used the name “宜家” (Yíjiā). Here’s why it worked out for them. 宜 (Yí) means ‘proper’ or ‘suitable’. 家 (jiā) translates to ‘home’ or ‘family’. It brings out all the right emotions that you’d want in your customers while they buy furniture and other things for their home.

Best Buy, however, decided to go another route. They decided the transliterate their name and settle for something that sounds like ‘Best Buy’. So, they chose “百思买” (Bǎisīmǎi).  

百思 (Bǎisī) sounds like ‘Best’, but it actually encourages customers to think a lot. When paired with 买 (mǎi) which means ‘buy’, it sounds like a warning. It sounds like they’re asking their customers to reconsider their purchase.

Needless to say, Best Buy tanked in China and ended up leaving the market.

To get your customers to accept you, you need to speak their language. You need to understand their nuances and get them to count you as one of them.

Localized and personalized

Back in the day, your local store spoke to patrons in the language they were comfortable with and even knew them personally.

They knew their names, what they usually ordered, and even a bit about their personal life. They had a relationship with their customers.

Then they got bigger. They managed to gain more customers. But, couldn’t maintain those relationships. They standardized everything. Even their customer engagements. Now, they didn’t even address their customers by name, they reduced them to, “valued customers”.

They didn’t even speak to them in their own language. Standardization took over.

The cost factor  

It’s just too expensive to hire enough employees to engage customers and build relationships with them in their own language.

Fortunately, that's not necessary anymore.

Here’s where AI comes in.

Chatbots can help you personalize your customer engagements at scale. And not just by referring to them by their name. They can have contextual conversations with your customers, keeping past conversations in mind.

And with live chat, your agents can converse with multiple customers simultaneously, while referring to past conversations for context.

And, this allows you to localize your conversations too.

With Engati, your chatbots and live agents can converse with customers in multiple languages. 54 to be exact.  

That means, you get to engage with your customers in Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish, German and 49 more languages, in addition to the usual English conversations. And you get to do all this at a phenomenally low price!

So, what do you need to keep in mind while building multilingual chatbots?

Make it easy to switch languages

You need to make it easy for customers to select their preferred language. Don’t make them struggle trying to understand the default language before they find the one they’re looking for.

Present the language options upfront. Preferably in the greeting message.

Introductory messages in all supported languages.

This ties into the previous point. You’d want to share your initial instructions and introductory messages in all the languages you support, so that the user can understand them and choose the language they prefer.

No missing values

Go through all your strings and messages to ensure that nothing is missing, including the settings and default values.

You’d end up with a rather awkward UX if they end up seeing keys instead of actual messages from your bot.

Avoid special characters

When it comes to some languages, you’ll end up with errors if you use special characters like *, “”,^.$,#. Adding them to the language key might cause an error while localizing your multilingual chatbot.

Okay, so you know what to keep in mind while building your multilingual chatbot, now you need to pick a chatbot platform to build it on. Here’s why Engati is your best bet.

Why Engati?

Engati has everything you need in order to take a global audience and make each segment accept you as a local. It’s got what you need to get them to accept you.

Auto sense languages

Your Engati chatbot can automatically detect the languages it supports and switch to them when a user sends a message in that language.

It can even pick up their browser’s default language and send messages in that language.

Conversation flow modeler

Engati’s conversational flow modeller allows you to edit conversation paths visually on a single canvas via a simple drag & drop user interface.

It even has a set of standard, canned paths that you can use.

Supports 54 languages

Engati’s chatbots allow you to converse in multiple languages, including, but not limited to Portuguese, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese and 48 other languages, in addition to English.

Right-to-Left (RTL) support

We even support conversations in Right-to-Left (RTL) languages. That means you can build bots and converse with your customers in languages like Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Hebrew.

1 path, multiple languages

With Engati, you don’t need to create separate paths for every single language that you want your chatbot to converse in.

You can build a single path and add strings for all the languages you want your chatbot to support.

FAQs associated with a language

Engati allows you to have multiple sets of FAQs and associate each of them to an individual language.

You just need to click on ‘Add FAQ’ in the FAQ workflow under the ‘Build’ section. Now you need to select the language that you want this set of FAQs to correspond with.

When you enter the query, its variations and the response, click on ‘ADD’. You’ll find the FAQ added and tagged to the language you selected.

Tried, tested and loved across 186 countries

Engati’s chatbots have been used and loved all over the world. Our 32000+ customers have built 45000+ chatbots across 186 countries and have all loved our bots.

Herman Miller, IKEA Europe, PwC, JanSport, Unitel and many others across the world strongly believe that Engati’s chatbots are the best.

Some organizations using Engati’s chatbots in multiple languages:


IKEA Italy uses an Engati chatbot to serve their visitors Italian as well as English. It helps them get directions to the stores, navigate inside the store and even get parking information.


With their sights set on becoming the largest cross-border e-commerce technology logistics company in MENA, iMile created an Engati chatbot that engages with customers in both English and Arabic.

It helps them with sales inquiries and even allows them to schedule, track, and cancel orders.

DP World

Dubai Ports World uses an Engati chatbot to help truckers, haulers, and consignees get updates on their containers, yard locations, wait times, and notifications about delays over WhatsApp and their website.

Their Engati chatbot holds conversations in multiple languages, including Arabic and English. It will soon be integrated with a VoIP solution.


Hungarian retailer, Gruppi uses an  Engati chatbot to display their catalogue, drive sales, and support customers.

Their bilingual chatbot, Gréti, engages their customers in Hungarian and English.

Global Village

Supposed to be the world’s largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment center, Global Village, Dubai has a multilingual chatbot that helps customers with everything from parking to loyalty card bookings. It does all this in multiple languages, including Arabic.


Canada-based UBU uses their Engati chatbot to educate citizens about COVID-19 and fight the pandemic. Their chatbot provides this essential service in both of Canada’s official languages — English and French.


Being the world’s largest outdoor advertising corporation, JCDecaux understands the importance of engaging customers in the language they are most comfortable with.

Their Engati chatbot, Ad2Go serves customers by helping them with inquiries and guides them as them plan advertising projects.

Ad2Go serves their customers in English as well as Chinese.

Go multilingual with Engati

Converse with your customers in the language they are most comfortable with, over 14 deployment channels with your very own Engati multilingual chatbot.

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