I have a multi-language website like this:
example.com/de/about example.com/fr/about example.com/about (English)
On this website there are about 3000 users. Many of them have a profile picture, a name but not much written on their profile page. This means
example.com/de/sarah example.com/fr/sarah example.com/sarah (English)
have the same content and only differ in the translated header/footer/bread-crumbs.
I have a similar issue with my blog posts. They are only in English, and the language versions only differ in the translated header/footer/bread-crumbs.
My first thought was to put on all the language versions
hreflang annotations and a canonical tag leading to the English version. However, I found an article from Search VIU which says that I should not do this:
If you are using a canonical tag solution on your website, make sure that URLs that have a canonical tag pointing to another URL do not receive hreflang annotations. hreflang annotations are okay for URLs that point to themselves via canonical tag and for URLs that do not have canonical tags.
I found another extreme case here: Canonical tag for untranslated content on a multilingual site where the language sites did not differ at all (not even in the navigation). The solution here was to use 'noindex' for the other language versions. Is this the best solution here as well? It has the downside that people from Germany & France will find a URL to a profile or blog with an English navigation only.