How to make your website multilingual. Case study part 2: Common issues

Having chosen the right approach to implement multiple languages on your website, you should expect some challenges before you get everything working. Get prepared for a few common issues.

Learn what solutions we developed to resolve those common problems while working on a recent project, completed partially pro bono as a Christmas gift for Sarcoma Association.

Jak dodać wielojęzyczność na stronie. Częste problemy. Na przykładzie serwisu rejestracji na Onkobieg.
Translated consent clauses shown in the Onkobieg (Oncorun) registration process. English version is still in the testing phase.

This mini-series of articles outlines:

  1. How to select the appropriate method of adding support for multiple languages to your website.
  2. What common difficulties you may expect when going multilingual (below).
  3. Key things to keep in mind when translating a website.

Step 2. Keep an eye out for common issues plaguing multilingual websites

Use already existing solutions for common problems. Learn how we overcame the issues we encountered when translating the Onkobieg (Oncorun) website.

Functions shared by the entire system

Problem:

Certain system functions may be shared and not assigned to particular language versions.

User login form, shared between all language versions.

In the case of the Onkobieg website, the login form was such a shared function – it was available in a modal window which redirected the user to the main page after logging in. This solution was sufficient for a single-language website, but a website translated into different languages requires more context – information on the language version used by the visitor.

Solution:

Website language version info was added to the user’s session.

Content hard-coded in the site template

Problem:

Certain elements (e.g. website footer) can be hard-coded (fixed) in the template code. Implementing different language versions necessitates the transfer of such content to the CMS or language files.

The Oncobieg website footer. Links and images are hard-coded in the website template.

The complexity of the HTML code used by the Onkobieg website made it impossible to manage content via the CMS or a WYSIWYG editor. Such attempts could scramble the HTML code structure.

On the other hand, the website code contained links, for example. This is why it should not be copied to different language files.

Solution:

We rebuilt the problematic part. We rewrote the CSS rules, simplifying the HTML code so that it can be edited in the CMS.

Consent forms (e.g. GDPR)

Problem:

Some websites have advanced clause management systems.

For example, in order to participate in Onkobieg, you need to accept among others: the race terms and conditions, PayU terms of service and the privacy policy.

Examples of consent clauses used in the Oncobieg registration process.

Giving consent in one language should be equivalent to accepting the content of the translation. We decided to add some safety measures to protect our client should two translations of the same consent form differ from each other – for example when an updated version of the English clause is already in force, but its Polish version has not yet been uploaded.

Solution:

At this time, the clauses on the Onkobieg website are not grouped together. This means that accepting a clause in one language is not equivalent to accepting its translation.


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!”

Szymon Bubiłek
Board Member, Sarcoma Association