website translation and localisation

Website translation and localisation in Joomla! – Part 1

website translation and localisation

At Comtec, we’re used to working with all kinds of open source Content Management Systems (CMS) when supporting our clients with website translation and localisation projects. One of the most common CMS we come across is Joomla! In fact, 3% of all websites use this CMS, making it the second most popular after WordPress.

Joomla! is the anglicised spelling of the Swahili word jumla, meaning all together or as a whole. We love this appropriation of a multilingual word reflecting the core ethos of this business!

Since its inception in 2005, Joomla! has been through several versions with various improvements and additions. In this post, we’re taking you through the website translation options for Joomla! and the key steps needed to create a multilingual site.

Joomla! multilingual websites

Since version 1.6, Joomla! has included a built-in language manager and language switcher. This made creating a site in different languages possible without having to use external components (which was the case in previous versions). However, it was inefficient and error-prone. Use of extensions such as Joom!Fish were necessary to produce a workable implementation of a multilingual website.

Joomla! 1.7 introduced a new feature in the Language Switcher that allowed menu items to be associated with other menu items in different languages, and to redirect to the associated menu item. Previously, the module was set to redirect to the Default Home Page for each content language.

The introduction of this approach makes the website builder responsible for translating every part of a website (extensions, templates and content) into each language that the website is to be displayed in. As well as giving website builders more control over what appears on the screen, it also prevents users from having to put up with awkward, automatic translations.

The key steps in creating a multilingual site with Joomla! 1.7 are:

  1. Add Content Languages in Language Manager.
  2. Assign Default Home page to Language “All”.
  3. Structure contents to avoid 404 errors when navigating, by creating Categories and Content and assigning them to the content language.
  4. Create specific menus and menu items for each content language.
  5. Create menu modules for each menu.
  6. Assign a template style per content language.
  7. Create the Language Switcher module.
  8. Enable the Language Filter system plugin.
  9. Associate menu items in different languages.

For further details on how to create multilingual websites with versions 2.x and 3.x of Joomla! be sure to check out part 2 of our blog on Joomla! coming up later this week.

How Comtec can help with website translation and localisation in Joomla!

Website translation in Joomla! requires a special approach. The content of modern dynamic websites is not stored in a single file, and it cannot be simply downloaded and sent over to a translator. A full website translation and localisation process is required including:

  1. Extraction of source text.
  2. Finding translators with relevant experience of the market sector and knowledge of cultural differences.
  3. Reintegration of the text back into the website when translation is complete.

Comtec is on hand to help with the entire website translation 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.

Visit this page for more on website translation and CMS integration. You may also like to find out more about our marketing translation services here.

If you have any questions about website translation and localisation, whether you are using Joomla! or any other content management system, please get in touch. We are award-winning website translation experts and can help you with your project. Email us at or give us a call on +44 (0) 1926 335 681.

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