Globalization Services

3 Recipes for Building a Multilingual Website in Drupal 7

Esteban Solano

Exploring Options for Multiligual Sites in Drupal 7

Not all Drupal installations are the same. Almost every site built with Drupal is different in one way or another, and often what may work for one person may not adequately address another individual’s needs. The same principle applies for a multilingual website, where possible configurations might change according to one’s specific requirements.

In this three-part series of blog posts we will identify different use-cases where a multilingual installation is required, and present unique solutions for each different case. An easy to follow, step-by-step instructional guide, or ‘recipe,’ if you will, will be presented in each post addressing the specific requirements for that particular use-case.

The goal of these posts is to familiarize you with the process of turning a Drupal site into a fully multilingual site.  Regardless of whether your site has specific multilingual requirements or has no need for translation, the aim of these articles is to educate the reader on the different implementations that exist, which will hopefully be of use to you in future web development projects.

Most people consider the task of adding translation support to their web properties to be a daunting initiative. In this instance, it is not uncommon to consider banging one’s head against the wall simply because you just can’t find a solution that fits your needs. Fear not! Continue reading as we explore the various options to take your web properties global in a simple, straightforward and digestible manner. We have over 60,000 hours of development time, much of which is focused on supporting the globalization of websites. Please feel free to leave a comment with your specific questions or use-cases, and we will be happy to custom tailor a solution for you.

Let us explore the recipes we will be covering in the next three-blog posts:

1.     A Simple Website in a Foreign Language: There are thousands of websites targeted for a specific language. Often it does not matter if the site is in English, simply because the consumers are only regional in nature. In this example, we will explore installations of a site whose content will be entirely in Spanish. The content does not need to be translated, but the website administrator must be able to display (localize) each component of the site in the target language, in this case, Spanish.

2.     A Blog Site in Multiple (two or more) Languages: An increasing proportion of the planet’s population is bilingual, speaking two or more languages. In this article we will demonstrate an example of a blog site that must display content on a broad spectrum of subjects, some of which are in English, but others that are targeted for a specific audience that speaks Spanish or Italian. In this use-case we will not cover translating body content, but rather user-generated comments to specific blog posts.

3.     An Enterprise Website: One of the strengths of Drupal is its scalability and flexibility. Users can opt to build a simple blog site or choose to develop a very complex enterprise website. Drupal makes it easy to add features to your site with contributed or custom modules, ‘plug-ins’ if you will. In this final use-case we will explore the task of developing a fully multilingual enterprise website, where content must be tailored to audiences with specific language requirements. In this case, all of the website content must be available in all supported languages. A staff of translators is tasked with translating the content from English to all other supported languages. A strict workflow process must be in place, as translated content must to be approved before it is published to the masses. Additionally, consumers must be able to choose their preferred language, and interact with the site in that specific language.

So there you have it! These are the recipes we will elaborate on in our upcoming series of posts. Please stay tuned for our next post where we will tackle the first use-case of developing a simple website in a foreign language, giving you the recipe and tools to build your own multilingual website with Drupal 7. 

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