In general, I like the current language modes. Usually the static part of a site is translated completely. User-Submissions might be mixed... etc.
Regarding usability... I had a quick and dirty idea about a little different user experience.
Let's say we have a multilanguage site, but most content is just in 1 language. Only important entries are translated in other languages.
IMHO, it is not nessecary to use a site-wide language switcher (on top of the page). Wouldn't it be nice to have "flag icons" on each content? Or a hint "This item is also availbale in IT-flag, EN-flag, FR-flag"
The user clicks the desired country icon... and switches to the translated article. Maybe with Ajax-support... Tab or Slider... Modal window...
The idea is not to switch the whole site back and forth. Just occasionally, on demand...
Possible at all?
PS: If too complicated or complex, maybe it is easier to do it on field basis? Create multiple versions of one field. Only the first field version (main language) is displayed... the other language versions are hidden, and show on-click?!