Using WebCenter Sites 11g for multilingual sites

Support for multilingual sites and localisation of content is a major out-of-the-box selling point of WebCenter Sites 11g. But that doesn’t mean that offering multilingual sites doesn’t require a fair bit of planning and, sometimes, some extra development work.

Here are our top considerations for using WCS 11g for multilingual sites.


Decide how languages map to sites

First you should decide whether you want to manage different languages in separate sites. As a rule of thumb I tend to suggest that if it’s a different team of people managing the translated content then a separate site is the way to go.

Decide whether you’ll need any automated translations

If you’re looking to integrate with an external translation agency to provide automated translations you have a couple of options. You can either buy a plugin that integrates with a service provided by the translation agency or roll your own.

Decide how to handle global content

I’ve found it really useful to create a master site as the basis for the content of all other sites.

This master site doesn’t need to be published itself but rather provides a central place for all global content. It’s sometimes tempting to think of one of your country sites as the master but this just makes distinguishing between content that should be shared with everyone else and content that is only applicable for that site all the more difficult.

With a global master site you can make this distinction much more easily.

Model your translation workflow carefully

It’s definitely worth modelling your translation workflow in some detail to make sure the functionality provided by Web Center Sites is a good fit.

A small proof of concept project is an excellent way to mitigate this sort of risk. The likelyhood is that the more complex your multilingual requirements, the more likely it will be that you’ll need to undertake some development in WebCenter Sites to meet them.

As an example, the way the out of the box translate function behaves is something that often catches users unawares.

If you took say, an Article asset with a relationship to an Image asset, translating the Article creates a new translated copy of the Article asset but with a relationship to the same Image asset as the source Asset. That is, both the original and translated Articles both point to the same Image.

Sometimes this is the behavior you want but often it isn’t and the alternative is to undertake some development work to automate the process.

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