Managing a multilingual website can be daunting, with challenges in maintaining the website, streamlining the translation of content, and dealing with the long-term requirements associated with these tasks.
For one, you will need to streamline your content translations into a process that your organization can manage. You might already have a custom software application or process in place, if so, you will need a content management system that can integrate with that process. You will also need a way to track changes as they occur and a way to identify only the pages that require a translation 'refresh'.
Other potential problems are even less obvious.
For instance, you may need to potentially deal with alternate-language websites that might be incomplete, partly-translated or structured differently than the parent site.
Updates might also be incremental, spread across multiple sections, or multiple languages, that ideally don't have to be uploaded one page at a time.
Happily, there is Mura Translations, an extension to Mura that addresses all of these needs, and more. Mura Translations supports organizations of all sizes, including high volume, high traffic sites like scientificamerican.com. And it's free.
A Mura multilingual website is often initiated by creating a 'parent' language site that will function as a template for the alternate sites. This isn't a requirement, however, as each site can employ its own unique layout and format without breaking the underlying translated inter-connections.
At its base level, Mura Translations works by linking together multiple Mura platform websites as alternate-language iterations. Each page in a site can be linked to its translated sibling in another site, and built-in navigation options allow a visitor to easily switch between all of the available language versions of a particular page.
On the administrative side, Mura Translations gives the content editor an easy-to-manage 'mapping' tool that lets them link a particular page with another page on a different-language site. This mapping will be maintained even if pages are moved, and if that page is deleted, Mura Translations will automatically redirect any requests for that deleted item to the first available parent, preventing 404 "page not found" errors.
Another critical component of managing localization is the ability to export content for offline translation, and then import into the target website. With Mura Translations, content managers can select sections of a website (in whole or part) and export the content into a document that contains all potentially translatable content. Once translated, this content can then be imported into the second (language-related) site and Mura Translations will automatically map the relationships between the translated content to the pages in the original site.
This original export can be translated multiple times and the results imported into the alternate language sites, and Mura Translations will automatically link the related pages across all translated sites.
The advantage here is, not only does it ease the task of translating large amounts of content, but the import will also automatically build out the relationships between translated pages.
Finally, it is important to note that imports can also be performed incrementally.
For instance, even if your original export contained your entire website, content managers can choose to import only sections of translated content as they become available. Mura Translations will automatically build out the site framework as this content becomes available.
Probably the most complex task when managing a multi-lingual website is in keeping content up-to-date across all languages. Happily, Mura Translations allows content managers to select content based on criteria like date range, or select all content that has changed since the last export was performed.
What's more, the exports will only contain the content elements that have changed on a given page.
This means that a change to a title or byline won't result in exporting the entire body of content for translation as well. This will make your updates far more streamlined and efficient.
These exports can be used as guides in updating the alternate language websites, identifying which translated pages might have been updated independently, or used in the same import/export process as you use in regular translation.
Often organizations will have an existing internal process or utilize a 3rd-party agency to manage their content translations. Mura Translations recognizes this by allowing for the customization of the export and import formats used.
For instance, if an organization was using an application called MyTranslate, and MyTranslate had a specific import/export format for its files, it would be possible to create a custom Mura Translations import/export format that fits these requirements. Because any number of custom import/export formats can be created, moving to different internal processes or using multiple 3rd-party agencies with their own individual requirements is possible.
And if API access is available, Mura Translations can be used the Mura API to streamline the process even more.
Mura Translations also provides two separate navigation tools for the front end of your website.
When a page has been translated into a second site, these navigation tools will appear and allow the user to quickly navigate to that page.
The navigation tools are designed to provide for websites that only have a few languages, as well as sites that have been translated into a large number of languages, and will only present links to alternate-language sites where a given page has been translated.
They, of course, can be seamlessly integrated into any design or brand standards.
A multi-language website can present unique challenges compared to a single-language website.
Lost in the wild no more
If a page in an alternate language site doesn't exist (i.e. hasn't been translated yet), Mura Translations will automatically 'flow' the user up the navigation tree until it finds a parent page that exists. This will prevent the sort of navigation errors and disorientation that one can experience on multilingual sites.
Flexible by design
Also, it is entirely possible to have multilingual sites that are not mirror images of one another, where content is updated or changed on an individual site, and where sections or individual pages live in different hierarchies among the translated sites. You can even move pages and sections at a future date and all interconnections will remain intact.
Search engine visibility
Finally, it integrates with another of our extensions, Mura Google Sitemaps. An important part of multilingual content is enabling users to discover it quickly, and by generating a sitemap that includes href-compliant linkages between all of your translated pages, search results on Google will include links to the translated versions as well.
As it has solved increasingly complex problems over a variety of multilingual websites, Mura Translations is a tool that provides adaptability and performance to even the most complex requirements, streamlines the process in which translations are produced and integrated, and is flexible enough to grow with your organization.