I'm currently working on a customers multilingual website that has a language switch in the menu bar. On every blog article you can click that switch. However, some articles don't have a translations. So when you click on the link (the language button) you arrive at a 404-page claiming that the article doesn't exist.

Or in short: Oftentimes articles without a linked translated article link to a 404-page.

What would be the best practice to handle 404-pages caused by links to non-existing translations?

Edit: These are old articles that will not be translated, so that's not an option.

1 Answer 1


So if I understand correctly on every page that doesn't have a translation there is a link that goes to a 404 page? Those will all become broken links, because Google will be able to find the Url to the page, but it gives a 404 when it actually arrives.

So you'll have to find a way without there being 404 pages. In a website I made, the language switch will always return back to the home page. This is something you could do, but I also understand if your customer values being able to quickly switch between languages on 1 page. You could make the links that are normally 404, go back to the homepage or a different page. Just make sure to not have any links towards the 404 pages.

  • So I guess the absolute best way would be to actually disable the language switch on pages that don't have one, if that is possible in some way, right? And if that doesn't work, lead them to a page that explains that there is no translation but lists a couple of other interesting articles? Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 7:34
  • True, it would be best to discuss with your customer on what the solution would be as both are indeed possible. Disabling the language switch could confuse users using the website, so be careful with that. For pages like articles, you could link back to the overview page (if you have one), so people still stay close to the articles itself. But like I said, probably best to discuss with your customer on what the wishes are.
    – patrick
    Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 8:12

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