Planning to add more language versions to your website? This is a step-by-step guide on how to do that. A real project we completed partially pro bono as a Christmas gift for a charity organization will serve as an example.
This mini-series of articles outlines:
- How to select the appropriate method of adding support for multiple languages to your website (below).
- What common difficulties you may expect when going multilingual.
- Key things to keep in mind when translating a website.
Step 1. Select the appropriate multi-language solution for your website
Before you start translating, take a moment to consider which method is best for your website.
We had 3 implementation models to choose from when taking on the Onkobieg (Oncorun) registration website CMS. Learn about the advantages and drawbacks of different solutions.
A. Copying the entire website
Copy the source code and the database. Launch the website under a different address and replace all text content with translations.
B. Translation of individual database content
Add new language fields to the database (e.g. article title EN, article description EN). Translate the website by filling out the fields with content in the target language.
C. Single system for multiple website versions
Create separate language versions of a website within a single system. Link every website to a separate domain, subdomain or folder in the primary domain. Assign individual resources (e.g. subpages or blog articles) to the appropriate language version of the website.
Onkobieg is a registration website for a running event. It enables users to create accounts, make payments online and generate start cards for printing. The nature of the website makes it impossible to launch an English version using a separate database (method A.).
Ultimately, we opted for solution C. – though it is more labor-intensive, it also scales better and does not require all website content, such as archived posts, to be translated.
We also needed a tool for translating content embedded in the source code, such as content in the templates, notifications and error messages. As Onkobieg uses Laravel as its framework, we used its built-in translation package.
As a result of the changes, a growing number of Onkobieg (Oncorun) attendees from outside Poland will be able to register for the race in English. Thanks to our solution, the organizer will easily add new language versions at any time.
“A partner this involved is difficult to find. The majority of the translation was done free of charge as a Christmas present for the Association. We are very grateful for that!”
Board Member, Sarcoma Association