Website translation and localisation in Drupal – Part 1

Having explored the multilingual capabilities of the Content Management Systems (CMS) WordPress and Joomla!, we’re now going to look at the third most popular CMS; Drupal. If you use Drupal and need support with website translation and localisation, read on.

Drupal Multilingual Websites

An interesting linguistic fact for those of us who spend our days translating is that the name Drupal evolved from the misspelling of the Dutch word “dorp”, which means “village”. Drupal founder Dries Buytaert originally planned to name Drupal’s predecessor “dorp”, but instead, when checking domain names typed “drop” and decided it sounded better. Drop.org later became Drupal.org, an English rendering of the Dutch word for drop – druppel.

In this blog we’ll be looking at the multilingual aspects of Drupal Version 6. Details on website translation and localisation with versions 7 and 8 of Drupal will be covered in part 2 of this blog, which will be available later this week.

Drupal 6 is similar to WordPress in that there is no out-of-the-box multilingual solution. Instead, you should start with some core modules, and then add others when needed. Core modules to enable in Drupal 6 are:

  • Content Translation – this allows content to be translated into different languages
  • Locale – language handling functionality and enables the translation of the user interface to languages other than English
  • Internationalisation – provides content translation for nodes and taxonomy, interface translation and browser language detection. It includes a block for language selection, a Block translation module and Menu translation module.

For those of you who are confident in managing your website translation and localisation project yourself, here are the key steps in creating a multilingual site with Drupal 6:

  1. Download and add the translation files for all the available languages of your site.
  2. In the Modules page enable the Locale, and Content Translation core modules. Install the Internationalisation (i18n) module and enable the multilanguage modules.
  3. Configure the settings of each installed language.
  4. Edit the Drupal settings.php file, and enter the $conf[‘i18n_variables’] array with all the variables you want to translate.
  5. Add the Language Switcher to a block.
  6. Enable multilingual support for all content types you want to use in multiple languages.
  7. Create separate blocks for each language, enter the translated content and assign the appropriate language.
  8. Create content for the content types that have been enabled for multilingual support and, using the Translate tab, enter the translated text for each language.
  9. You can choose to build a single menu for every language or build one menu with links that point to every language.
  10. To manage Taxonomy translation, add or edit a vocabulary and set the appropriate language – the terms added to each vocabulary will then be shown only for the current language.

How Comtec can help with website translation and localisation in Drupal

Website translation can be complex. The content of modern dynamic websites is not stored in a single file, therefore cannot be simply downloaded and sent over to a translator. A full website translation and localisation process is required to extract the source text, find translators with relevant experience of the market sector involved and knowledge of cultural differences, then reintegrate the text back into the website after the translation is complete. Comtec is on hand to help with the entire process and we use our translation memory software to store all specific company phrases and terms. We can re-use these translations again for any updates, reducing the amount of content that needs to be fully re-translated, saving our clients both time and money. If you’ve also invested time and money in your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO), we can help preserve this strategy across different languages and regions by translating the website meta data. This approach ensures your site attracts new visitors and succeeds in international markets.

If you have any questions about website translation and localisation in Drupal or any other content management system, contact us to find out more about our award-winning website translation service. You can email us info@comtectranslations.com or call +44 (0) 1926 335 681.

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