More tools for multilingual sites

On most sites, you will get very far by having the interface in one single language and some information pages translated into several languages. But on some sites, this is not enough. The starting point for making truly multilingual sites is the Internationalization module. This module offers, among other things:

Deciding active language

With more than one language available on your site, there is of course also the question of which language should be displayed. Drupal has several ways of selecting this:

Editing nodes with language support enabled

When creating or editing nodes with language support enabled, there is a new field available: language. This option allows selecting the language used for the node, or selecting language neutral.

At nodes with translation functionality enabled, site administrators will see a new tab: translate. It leads to a page listing all available translations of the node and offering links to create new translations. (See figure A2.9.) In the list of translations, one of the nodes is marked as source. This is used as the original text for the other nodes and its content will be copied into node forms when creating translations.


Figure A2.9: Translatable nodes have a new tab, used to overview or create translations.

With translatable nodes come a few new functions that help site visitors and administrators.

  • Each node has links leading to any existing translations. (See figure A2.10)
  • When editing source nodes, there is an option flag translations as outdated is available in the translation settings fieldset. (See figure A2.11) If checked, all translations will have a corresponding checkbox this translation needs to be updated checked.

Translating nodes

The first and most important things to translate are the nodes on a website. For many websites it is enough if a handful nodes are translated to more than one language.

To allow translations of nodes you have to enable the Content translation module (included in Drupal core). To use it to any effect you must also have more than one language available on your site.

With Content translation enabled you will find a few new settings available for each node type. See the toolbar, Structure, Content types and the edit link for each node type. Under publishing options, a setting multilingual support is now available with the following options (see figure A2.8):

  • Disabled: This will give nodes of this type the default site language.
  • Enabled: This provides a language selector for each node of this type. (This option is available as soon as the Locale module is enabled.)
  • Enabled, with translation: This option not only allows you to make nodes language-specific, but also to translate nodes into other languages.


Figure A2.8: The Content translation module allows handling nodes in more than one language.

Multilingual Drupal sites

Building a website that is able to present content in more than one language requires a fair amount of planning. What content types should be available in more than one language? Should the nodes be translated, or should each node be created for one language at a time, independently of each other? How should taxonomy terms be handled? Menus? Is it enough to have administration pages in one language only? Should labels for entity fields be translated too? Which views should display all content, and which should be language-sensitive?

Installing translation updates

The Localization update module not only allows you to import contributed translations, but also to fetch and apply translation updates when they become available.

By default, you have to check for updates manually. This can be changed by going to the translation updates tab found at the toolbar, Configuration, Languages. The configuration page also allows you to determine how locally changed translations should be treated – either keeping them on new updates (default), or overwriting them if their remote translations have changed.

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