A portal about multilingual websites
and applications development


Implementation - Alternative 1


Review the analysis that we've made about some multilingual websites. Understand and identify the common problems and learn how to solve them.

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Copying and translating

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Consider a website with the following structure: 

static site structure

A possible way to generate a version of this website in another language is to copy all files to a new folder (keeping the filenames) and translate content and metadata. As we have kept the file names, all links will continue working. Possibly it may be needed to create a few new language specific images, or update the reference to some site resources (images, css files, javascript files, etc.). This is a quick solution and may be appropriate for a small static site with 2 or 3 languages.

Let's see some drawbacks of this approach:

- If the files are kept with the original names we will have untranslated urls. Something like www.frenchcompany.com/enregistrement.html  or www.germancompany.com/verkehrsthemen.html. This is bad not only for the site visitors, but mainly it is harmful to the indexing and ranking made by search engines.

- If we translate the file names to their respective words in the new language, all links will need to be corrected. This may be a minor problem if you're using a tool like Dreamweaver or similar. Anyway, there will always be a risk of creating broken links or links that lead to content in the wrong language.

- When a content or layout update is required in any section of the website, it will be needed to change one file for each available language. Due to this, if a major update is going to be done, it's possible that some file is forgotten and keeps the old content or layout, creating website inconsistency.

- For each section made available in a new language, a new file will be required. If the website has ten sections, each new language will require ten new files.

- It's very complicated to allow the user to change the current language and be kept in the same section of the website.

Some call this alternative replication. We do not consider this name appropriate, that's why we will be calling this method structure copying, or ctrl-C ctrl-V.

Now let's take a look in an anternative that uses a regular content management system


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