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Adding multi-language support

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The content management system Joomla! includes various language packs and translations for the user interface already. The combination of one specific language pack and the content in the same language allows you to build a website in any language you like.

If you build a website that should have more than one language you need some extensions for multi-lingual support. Those extensions will help you to maintain the translations as well as the organization of your content in the various languages.

Contents

Multi-Lingual content in Joomla!

Joomla! 1.5 introduces the UTF-8 charset for all output, input and tables within the database. This allows to use any language related char set for your content and also allows to have two languages stored in your database which have very different char sets.


Speaking simple this means you can store any language and any chars in your content with Joomla!. Now the issue comes with the word content. Joomla! is based on extensions which structure certain type of information. Core extensions are for example articles, contacts, banners or section/category information. Using multi-lingual content there means you need to tell the system which language you wrote a certain text in. After you defined the original language of our content you need to translate it to those languages you want to include. In the end you might have some various structures of your site for different languages.

In general you can say the language adds a new dimension to your site which you need to manage. And of course there are some extensions for exactly this purpose.

Multi-lingual support for extensions

For the developers integrating multi-lingual support for an extension is an additional task. In general there are some concepts to fulfill this tasks.

  • A generic approach which allows you to translate or manage all different multi-lingual content with one implementation
  • A version kind of approach, which is treating each language dependent content as a separate version
  • An individual approach for special logistics e.g. language dependent information to prices, dates or similar
  • and of course some more variations for individual needs

Generic approach for managing multi-lingual content

Language dependent versions of content

Individual handling of languages