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SharePoint Blog

September 06
Translation Options for SharePoint

When planning an intranet for a global-multilingual audience, a client is faced with three options.

1. Only Support the company’s standard language
2. The Multiple Language User Interface (MUI) - Translate various aspects of the User Interface which requires only one version of each page
3. Set up language variations of each site, requiring duplication of content for all languages

PROTIVITI’S RECOMMENDATION: #2 Using MUI
Translating common page elements into the users preferred language is an effective way to increase adoption as well as present information in a form that is familiar to the user. Utilizing the user interface translations is the suggested approach when page content is only created in a single language or when navigation needs to be consistent for each user across the experience. Page elements such as list and site column headers, term store tagging, and settings options will all be translated into the user’s preferred language as they navigate through the site pages.
Note: in order for the MUI to work in a site, the preferred  language(s) will need to be enabled for each site. Additionally if there is a need to make site level features multilingual, a translation package will need to be created.

KNOWN ISSUE: Using MUI for Term Set Navigation
When opting to translate various aspects of the user interface, term set navigational elements will not be translated in the UI. While term store translations are supported as part of the MUI, SharePoint OOTB functionality does not translate managed navigation. Even if the term has been translated and the site supports the translated language, SharePoint will use the terms default language or specified label when displaying a term in a navigation menu.

ROOT CAUSE: By default, SharePoint handles translations in user interface based off the current language of the page. The current language is determined by the site’s language settings AND the language preference of the user. For example, if a user specifies Spanish as their preferred language but the site does not specify Spanish as a supported language, the page will be in English. Since languages must be enabled at a site by site level, there is no guarantee the experience will present a consistent navigational experience for the user as they navigate from subsite to subsite.
   
Options and Recommendations
In order to display navigational elements in a consistent manner across all sites, presenting global navigation in a single-standard language is the only method supported OOTB. The other option for consistent navigation is to develop custom front-end code to translate navigational elements into the user’s preferred language. While language variations supports the translation of navigational elements, this approach is not recommended. This is due to the fact that, in order to use language variations, a version of each page will need to be created, causing navigation to potentially be inconsistent across the site. The pros and cons for these three options are as follows:





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