Globalization Services

Globalization: Expand Your Reach Grow Your Bottom-line

Rob Montero
Senior Engineer


To most people, the task of developing international versions of a website can seem like a daunting task requiring vast amount of resources and just something you can’t really afford. The real question is, can you afford not to internationalize your web properties? Let’s explore the benefits that a globalized website can bring to your bottom line.

Localization and translation are areas of increasing importance in global business operations. While it is true that translating your content could mean expending additional time and perhaps resources, the return on investment (ROI) very well justifies tackling this early on rather than later in the development process.

Keep Your Costs Down

Taking your web properties to new international markets often requires having multiple teams handling completely independent versions of your web properties. In most cases this requires duplicative resources that could be put to better use if the content was centralized.

With Drupal, you won’t need additional servers to run specific localized copies of your website. You won’t need two database servers or even two databases for that matter.  You won’t need two IT teams in different locations each supporting their own local infrastructure. Due to the fact that Drupal is able to identify the locales being requested via the domain the user is accessing, the path being viewed and even a cookie or session variable, all of your localized sites are served from one server, thereby reducing the overhead of managing multiple servers. If you already have multiple servers you could repurpose them to be redundant servers for load balancing or for backup purposes. The possibilities are endless.

Expose Your Content to a Wider Audience

For those in the retail industry or those with a need for an e-commerce platform, globalizing your site means you can reach a wider audience, which implies a huge competitive advantage if you want to place your products into international markets.

If you are in the publishing or media industries, then globalizing your web content is a must. Your core business revolves around communication and reach. International markets are becoming ever more connected to one another, increasing opportunity, but also increasing competition. If your web properties are not prepared for these markets, your sites may literally be out of reach representing a significant missed opportunity.

Break the Daunting Task of Translation Into Bite-size Manageable Pieces

Drupal provides powerful tools to assist you in reaching your target audience. Not only are you be able to fully translate every aspect of your website’s copy and appearance, you are be able to navigate the seemingly cumbersome task of translating content using modules (that will automatically download translated strings identified by Drupal so you don’t have to).

With Drupal you have full control over what pieces of content will need to be translated to take your products to markets, despite whether it’s full nodes as a whole entity, or the individual parts that make up that content. For example, if your website has a product catalog, there are pieces of information associated with each product that you definitely want to translate such as the title, description and keywords associated with a given product. At the same time, there are some pieces of content that you likely do not want to have to deal with such as inventory, discounts, product images, and price (currency conversion and other price changes aside) therefore avoiding double entry as much as possible.

Another great feature that comes standard with Drupal is the ability to have a fallback language. If a user is visiting your site in a specific locale for which a piece of content has not yet been translated, the default language will be shown, therefore not affecting the user’s experience.

Having Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen is a Recipe for Disaster

If you are concerned that the team you hired to translate content will need to access the backend of your site thus jeopardizing site security, fear no more. Drupal comes with a very robust set of access checks that ensure translators log in with an account thereby restricting them only to creating translations for the languages you assigned for them.

If you are still concerned about granting translators access, with just a few contributed modules you have the option to export your website copy to a text file that will be written in a standardized format that your translator can use to translate your web copy. Drupal will then take that file and import the translated string right where it belongs, thus expediting the entire process.

Those unwilling to grant translator’s access to modify live content can enforce a proof-reading or verification process using translation workflow. With this additional set of controls in place, your translators can submit their content, seek approval by an administrator and have the content accessible to the general public only after you have authorized it to go-live. What’s more, should changes be required, administrators can keep track of every single revision made to the page including authors, timestamps and the content that was changed, thus minimizing the likelihood of errors throughout the process.

Drupal makes translations a breeze. Administrators can have full control over what languages a certain user can edit as well as what pieces of content one can send out for translation. Additionally, they have access to a translation dashboard that will make keeping up to date with the current state of translations a snap. The translation dashboard will provide visibility into the overall state of translations throughout the web property in question.

Streamlined Workflows

We have worked with numerous retail, media and publishing companies with strict policies around revisioning, publishing and translating content on their web properties.

Using the scheduler module, an administrator can set new content to be published given a set of rules. These rules could be used to set a newsletter to be published automatically as soon as all the translations for the enabled languages are defined. This example is particularly useful for the publishing and media industries.

In Summary

As you can see, with Drupal implementing a globalized solution for your web properties can greatly increase your reach and subsequently your sales while reducing cost. These solutions minimize risk as well and are powerful reasons for consideration when deciding whether or not to implement translation and localization for your web properties. Drupal is one of the better-equipped and better-supported content management solutions out there when it comes to globalization with a vast number of community supported modules.

Working with a vast number of media, publishing and healthcare client’s have exposed us to both complex and streamlined translation modules that we continue to leverage to provide high-value solutions that exceed our clients’ needs.


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