J4.x

Setup a Multilingual Site

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Sample Data[edit]

Joomla comes with two sets of sample data: Blog and Multilingual. There is a third Testing set but only for users working with the Joomla Development version. If you have an existing site with articles, menus and modules, it will be similar in principle to a site with Blog sample data installed.

In the Home Dashboard, the Multilingual Sample data says Before launching, make sure you have at least 2 languages installed with their Content Languages and that no sample data has been installed. That will probably lead you to create a Multilingual site by manually executing the required steps one by one. That is an error-prone procedure in which you are likely to make a mistake, especially if you using several languages. Mistakes can be fixed but the whole process is a little tedious and can be confusing.

You can ignore that advice and use the Multilingual Sample Data to set up a multilingual site if you understand how to make some corrections to the original menus and modules later.

Initial Site[edit]

A newly installed Joomla site has a Main Menu in the right sidebar. It contains a single menu item named Home of Featured Articles type. There is also a Login Form in the right side bar.

Initially, there are no featured articles so the main part of the page is empty.

Blog Sample Data[edit]

If you have created your own site content you should not install the Blog Sample Data. However, please read through this section to see how it compares. Otherwise:

  • Select Install from the Multilingual Sample Data section of the Home Dashboard. The installation stages will briefly appear and then disappear.
  • You should notice that several new menus are installed (reload the administrator page and expand the Menus menu):
    • Main Menu Blog.
    • Bottom Menu, containing Login/Logout menu items.
    • Special Menu, seen after login.
  • Select the Open Frontend icon from the top Status bar or reload the Site if it is already open in a separate tab.

You should expect to see a layout full of Featured Articles information:

  • At the top is the new Main Menu Blog menu for various blog layouts and articles.
  • In the right sidebar are modules for a Login Form, a Main Menu and a My Blog RSS feed.
  • After login, the right sidebar has a Special Menu for Administrator only actions.
  • The Main Menu Home item leads to the Featured Articles layout.
  • The top Blog menu item leads to a Category Blog layout somewhat different from the Featured Articles layout.

Take a few minutes to explore the menu items and the types of information they lead to.

Multilingual Sample Data[edit]

Before installing the Multilingual Sample Data you should install all the languages you intend to use. If you need to install an additional language later you will need to complete the configuration steps for that language one by one manually. That will be covered elsewhere. For this tutorial French, German and Welsh were added to the site default English language during Joomla Installation. To add languages after installation:

  • Select System  Install Languages from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the Install button for each language you propose to use.

Installation of the Multilingual Sample Data has effects that you will have to deal with later:

  • Menus in the right sidebar will be unpublished. That means that the Main Menu module will be unpublished and there will be no link to the Featured Articles layout. If you had other links in the Main Menu they will be unavailable too.
  • The Special Menu will be unpublished. That provided a link to create a new post.

The Multilingual Sample Data provides the following additional features:

  • An article category for each language.
  • An article configured for each language, although in Lorem ipsum pseudo text.
  • A separate menu for each language. You will see this in the Administrator  Menus list.
  • A Main Menu xx-YY menu module in the Site right sidebar, where xx-YY is a language code such as en-GB.
  • The Main menu item now leads to a Category Blog layout for articles in the selected Language. It contains just one article.
  • There is a Language Switcher module in the right sidebar. It is untitled to avoid the need for a separate module for each language with translated titles. Selection is by language flag. Try it out.

Something to notice: words that are supplied by Joomla will be translated, for example in the Breadcrumbs and the Login Form. Words that are typed by users need to be manually translated, for example Login Form and Main Menu. More on that later.

Fixing Initial Problems[edit]

Language Order[edit]

You may notice that the language switcher has languages in reverse alphabet order. To change the order:

  • Select System  Content Languages from the Administrator menu.
  • Use vertical ellipsis icons to drag the languages into the desired order.
  • Reload the Site and see the Language Switcher now has languages in your preferred order.

Right Sidebar Module Order[edit]

The module order in the right sidebar is a matter of personal preference. To change the order:

  • Select Content  Site Modules from the Administrator menu.
  • Filter by Position  sidebar-right.
  • Select the order column icon to reveal the ordering drag handles (vertical ellipsis icons). The column heading icon should be a chevron pointing upwards.
  • Drag items into order:
    • Language Switcher
    • Main Menu (all variants - order does not matter).
    • Special Menu
    • Login Form
    • Archived Articles
    • Syndication

Featured Articles[edit]

The original Main Menu is unpublished but the Home menu item it contains can be reproduced elsewhere. The most convenient place is the top menu.

  • Select Menus  Main Menu Blog from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the New button from the Toolbar.
  • Enter a Title in the Menus: New Item form, for example Featured.
  • Use the Select button in the Menu Item Type field.
  • Select Articles  Featured Articles from the Menu Item Type list.
  • Select Save from the Toolbar.
  • In the Ordering field select - First -.
  • In the Blog Layout tab set Intro Articles to 3.
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.

Site Module Assignment[edit]

The original Home page Featured Articles layout was produced by assigning selected modules to appear only on that one page. The new Featured page needs to be added for each of those modules.

  • Select content  Site Modules from the Administrator menu.
  • Find and select the Image item.
  • In the Menu Assignment tab, find and check the Featured item in the Main Menu Blog section.
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.
  • Find and select the Latest Posts item.
  • In the Menu Assignment tab, find and check the Featured item in the Main Menu Blog section.
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.

Reload Site[edit]

When you reload the site the first item in the top menu will be the Featured link leading to the Featured Articles layout. The adjacent Blog item is a more compact Category Blog layout. Try the language switcher. The Joomla supplied text, in the breadcrumbs and Login Form changes accordingly. Also, the Featured articles now include one article from the Multilingual Sample Data, that in the selected language.

Hybrid or Pure Multilingual Site[edit]

At this stage you have a hybrid site: some content is available in all languages and some content is available in a specific language. If you want a pure Multilingual Site you will need to unpublish the top Main Menu Blog module and perhaps others. In some cases you may wish to produce language specific modules, for example the Login Form could have versions with titles Formulaire de connexion, Login Formular and Ffurflen Mewngofnodi.

What you do next is up to you!

Original Main Menu[edit]

Your original Main Menu module, which is now unpublished, may have contained additional menu items. You could publish it. The snag is that the Home item links to the same location as each of the language specific menu Home pages, but in English only. You can get around that as follows:

  • Select Menus  Main Menu from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the Home menu item.
  • Select the Link Type tab.
  • Set Display in Menu to No.
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.
  • Select Content  Site Modules from the Administrator menu.
  • Find the Main Menu and Publish it, turning the grey cross to a green tick.

The visible items in the original Main Menu should now work normally.

Adding an Extra Language[edit]

After the initial setup of a multilingual site, if you wish to add another language you will have to go through the steps manually one by one:

Step 1: Install the Language[edit]

  • Select System  Install  Languages from the Administrator menu.
  • Find the required language in the Extensions: Languages list.
  • Select the Install button.
  • There will be a message: Installation of the language pack was successful.

In this example sequence the extra language is Spanish.

Step 2: Publish and Order[edit]

  • Select System  Manage  Content Languages from the Administrator menu.
  • Enable the newly installed language: select the Status button to turn the grey cross into a green tick.
  • Use vertical ellipsis icons to drag the languages into the desired order.

Step 3: Create a Menu[edit]

  • Select Menus  Manage from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the New button from the Toolbar.
  • Enter a suitable menu title and unique name, examples: Main Menu (es-ES) and mainmenu-es-es.
  • Enter a Description, example: The main menu for the site in language Spanish (es-ES).

Step 4: Add Menu Module[edit]

  • Select Menus  Manage from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the Add a module for this menu button for the newly created menu.
  • Enter a suitable title, example: Main Menu es-ES
  • Select a Position: Sidebar-right
  • Select a Language: Spanish (es-ES)
  • Select Save.
  • Order the module: from the Ordering list select the item after which this new item should appear.
  • Select Save & Close.

Step 5: Add a Category[edit]

  • Select Content  Categories from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the New button in the Toolbar.
  • Enter a suitable title, example: Categoría (es-es)
  • Select the correct language: Spanish (es-ES)
  • Select the Associations tab.
  • For each language select a Category. There is only one choice in each case.

Step 6: Add a Menu Item[edit]

  • Select Menus  Main Menu (es-ES), the newly created menu.
  • Select the New button in the Toolbar.
  • Enter a suitable title, example: Página de inicio
  • Use the Select button at the end of the Menu Item Type field to select an item type.
  • From the popup list select Articles  Category Blog.
  • In the Choose a Category field use the Select button.
  • From the popup Category list select the Categoría (es-es) category.
  • Set the Default Page field to Yes.
  • In the Language drop-down list select Spanish (es-ES).
  • Save & Close

Step 7: Add an Article[edit]

The easy way to add an article for the new language is to copy an existing article.

  • Select Content  Articles from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the article to copy, in this example Article (en-GB).
  • In the Articles: Edit form change the title to Article (es-ES).
  • Change the Category to Categoria (es-es) (es-ES).
  • Change the Language to Spanish (es-ES).
  • Select Save as Copy from the Save & Close drop-down list in the Toolbar. Care!
  • Select the Associations tab.
  • For each language select an article to be associated - the equivalent article in each language.
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.

Adding a Multilingual Article[edit]

Suppose you wish to create an article in each of your selected languages.

  • Select Content  Articles  + from the Administrator menu or the New button from the Toolbar in the Articles list.
  • Enter a title for the article, example William Shakespeare.
  • Set the Category field to Category (en-gb) (en-GB).
  • Set the Language field to English (en-GB).
  • Enter the Article Text, example from Wikipedia:

William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard"). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. He remains arguably the most influential writer in the English language, and his works continue to be studied and reinterpreted.

  • Select Save from the Toolbar.
  • Select the Associations tab.
  • For each language:
    • Select the Create button.
    • In the popup New Article form enter a translated title, William Shakespeare.
    • Set the Category to that for the language you selected.
    • Enter the translated text into the Article Text field (you can try https://translate.google.com/).
    • Select Save & Close.
  • After a new article for each language has been created, select Save & Close.

Main Menu[edit]

If you have a link to an article for All Languages in the Main Menu and you later use that article as a basis for associated articles in other languages you will need to change the Main Menu link. Otherwise, switching languages with that article selected will lead to a Page Not Found error in the selected language.

  • Select Menus  Main Menu from the Administrator menu.
  • Select the menu item you need to change, for example William Shakespeare.
  • Change the Language field to English (en-GB).
  • Select Save & Close from the Toolbar.

If there is only that one item in the Main Menu that module will disappear when switching to other languages.