3 Important Considerations for Multilingual Web Content Management System

July 23, 2013

Today we have many options in Web Content Management Systems (CMS) that can support multilingual website requirements. While many systems available today have good multilingual support, be sure to ask the proper questions to so that you implement a CMS that will meet your specific needs. In this blog I wish to address a few items you may wish to consider when shopping for a CMS to support your multilingual needs.

1.  "Multi" is not always the same as "Multiple":

Some Content Management Systems provide multilingual support, but not multiple language support.

Multilingual WCMSA CMS may allow you to support English, Japanese, German, French or even bi-directional languages such as Arabic. But if you need the system to support more than one language at a time you need to verify the system provides multilingual support and will support multiple languages at the same time. The difference between 'or' and 'and' may allow you to avoid a very painful experience after you have made the purchase.

It is not uncommon for some CMS companies who do not provide both multilingual and multiple language support in your product to be forthcoming with this information unless directly asked.

2. Creation of Country sites:

Often understanding the steps to implement country sites within a CMS is an afterthought for buyers when reviewing which CMS is right for them. For some systems it is very easy to set up the country sites, while for other systems it is not very simple as the software company may not be as supportive for the multilingual needs of their clients. The companies today who do have a good and simple method to set up the country sites likely did not have as easy a set up just a few years ago. Due to good client feedback with a global site perspective , several of these systems have been updated to where today they do provide a simple set up process.

Many web development companies are quite familiar with at least one and often 2 or 3 content management systems, but as is often the case they may not be involved with multi-language site development. As such, they may not be familiar with the steps needed to implement the country sites in a CMS they otherwise are experts in implementing for their clients.

3. Consider the overall downstream workflow needs:

The decision on which CMS to purchase often comes from recommendations of the team that will perform the development of the website. It would be wise to also involve the other stakeholders downstream that include the content contributors and also your translation agency. Be sure that the CMS provides a successful, and hopefully easy, workflow for all of their expected needs and not just for the initial build of the site and that it can handle language requirements. The CMS developers often put extra focus on the ease to build a site as their key decision maker is often the development team. But others are going to need to use the CMS daily and should consider which CMS provides them the best user experience to support their daily needs to update the site. This is where the multi-lingual capabilities either shine through to show how efficient the CMS is for updating global websites and allowing for customization of sites for each country, or it may show that a particular CMS will be a burden for your downstream stakeholders to use efficiently for their daily needs.

GPI Resources on Multilingual CMS and Connectors

GPI offers custom CMS translation services connectors to a variety of web content management systems and client relationship management systems in order to streamline localization workflows and access to translation project information across your enterprise. For more information, check Multilingual CMS Translation Connectors.

Further information on website translation and multilingual CMS resources

Globalization Partners International (GPI) offers comprehensive translation services with services ranging from initial glossary development and copy writing to global SEO and website translation services.

For more information about our globalization and localization processes, please feel free to download our Language Globalization Guides. You may also benefit from our resources and blogs:

Contact GPI for more information via e-mail at info@globalizationpartners.com, by phone at (866) 272-5874, or by requesting a free website translation quote for your project.

Content Management Systems
Multilingual CMS, Web Content Management Systems, CMS Translation

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  • ValerieOn Nov 14, Valerie said:
    I am very interested in what you say, but could you clarify what exactly you mean when you say multilingual is not the same as multiple languages? Are you taking about websites being able to support different alphabets?
  • Peter BettsOn Nov 14, Peter Betts said:
    Hi Valerie, some Content Management Systems (CMS) say they can support any language, as such being multilingual, but they may or may not support multiple languages at the same time. They may only support one language instance and you can chose which language that will be. It is important to verify this before you make your purchase. The leading systems in the market today should be able to provide both multiple and multilingual support. This was not always the case just a few years ago.

    It would be best to also verify if the CMS can support the specific languages you expect to require for your company's website as well. Always best to clarify your requirements in detail.
    Thank you.

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    e that appeals to target demographic.   Medium While the core of your translations should be done by experts, there are content management systems that can help offset some of the workload. Joomla, Drupal and WordPress, for example, support multiple …
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Peter has over 20 years’ experience in business development within the localization industry supporting clients for documentation, software and website globalization services. He started his career in the translation industry in 1995 and over the years has worked for several leading localization service providers including LMI, Berlitz, Welocalize, GPI and Beyondsoft. Throughout his career Peter has led by example and always put his clients’ needs first to ensure client expectations are understood and successfully met. Over the years Peter has trained extensively in Solution Selling, Action Selling and Localization Sales, Testing and Project Management. Peter handles many of GPI’s global accounts helping educate clients on GPI’s comprehensive suite of globalization services and industry best practices.