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Multilingual Plone Site

by Olha Pelishok last modified 2014-01-30

This article applies to: Plone 3.0, Plone 2.5, Plone 2.1

Web sites have increasingly become more sophisticated in how they distribute information to millions of people all around the world. The challenge is how to ensure those sites get information out in a timely, efficient manner to a number of different audiences - even in different languages - all without sacrificing content and the dynamic capability of the site. Internationalizing your web site is not as simple as translation the text from one language into another. The problem is that web sites are rarely just developed and frozen; they evolve over time, often so fast that by the time the translation team finishes with a particular snapshot, the production team might already have a newer version.

Plone was one of the first Content Management systems to support multiple user interface languages transparently out-of-the-box, and currently ships with over 40 languages enabled by default. This happened in large part due to the pioneering work of Plone collaborators all around the world. Plone has been an international system from day one.


Plone is ideal for building multilingual sites because the dynamic publishing model makes building flexible and dynamic presentation easy through its complete feature sets. Plone multilingual service can be achieved through LinguaPlone product. With LinguaPlone, you can easily maintain several different translations of the same page, have workflow processes that notify the translators when the original document is updated - all in an easy-to-use and attractive package. LinguaPlone enables your existing content for multi-lingual purposes. It helps you to create and manage translations of the content and what is more easily navigate with different language versions of the same content. There are a lot of important sides to running a successful multilingual web site or intranet, and LinguaPlone product can help you get the best out of the software and your existing processes.

There are several methods of organizing multilingual Plone site - template switching, master and subordinate sites, and parallel sites. One of the ways is creation of a separate folder for each language. What you need is to create as many folders as many-lingual your site is going to be (i.e. content cam be scattered into the corresponding language folders - ru, de, en etc. (e.g.,

The process of translation a content from one language into other ones (here - German and Ukrainian) looks this way:

  • Add new folders 'De' and 'Ukr' into the root of the Plone site;
  • Now translate all the content one by one into these folders:
    the task is done this way: make sure LinguaPlone is active on your site, then go to the toolbar button 'translate into', click on it and choose 'deutsch', and then 'українська':
    1. Translation of Folders:
      when a root Folder is translated with LinguaPlone, the translated version is automatically put into the root. What you have to do is to cut the translated version and to paste it into the corresponding 'De' or 'Ukr' folder. Than the problem with shortnames usually emerges. Shortnames are generated automatically on the basis of their titles. And for every Folder - you will have to rename all the shortnames to make them the same as in the root.
    2. Translation of Documents:
      when a Page from initially translated folder is translated, it is put into the corresponding translated folder, so the only difficulty with it is again to rename the shortname for every page.

When we copy pages and folders, connection between documents in different languages is not lost, a user can easily shift between languages.

One more thing worth mentioning is what happens when we add a completely new document to multilingual site. In Site Setup -> Language Settings you choose the default language of the site, and some other allowed languages. When a new item is added it is created in neutral language, and is visible in both default and other allowed languages. Then you can translate this document from the default language into the other ones.

Visitors of the multilingual Plone site can easily switch between languages being on any page, as the entire site is translated, and all the content is available in all languages. Shifting between languages on the same site may be organized differently. You can choose the best way for you in your Site Setup -> Language Settings (Plone 2.x) or through ZMI -> portal_languages (Plone 3.0). The choice is between:

  • drop-down menu use (this is the preferred method);
    language menu
  • flags use (but use of flags is not very convenient, as flags represent countries, not languages. Numerous countries use the same language as another country, and numerous countries have more than one official language, so the mixture may appear).

For more detailed instructions visit our Plone Tutorial about how to use LinguaPlone package.

Example of a Multilingual Site

Quintagroup used this method with Offshore Company. Initially it was created in English, but now our task was to make it bilingual: English-Russian. To fulfil this task we used LinguaPlone

product - the tool that helps to manage and maintain multilingual content.

  1. English version was put into the root of the site -
  2. then we create a folder 'ru' - a Russian version of the site - In 'ru' folder the content was translated into Russian but the shortnames remained the same as in the English version.
If you need a professional, comprehensive solution for multi-lingual content, don't hesitate to contact us with details of your needs, and we will get back to you with more information.
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some characters are incorrect

Avatar Posted by Lawrence at 2010-04-26
I noticed that some translations are incorrect and they are done literally. For example in Chinese (Taiwan)... Read More is not correct. Where can I change these 'templated" words?



Re: some characters are incorrect

Avatar Posted by Olha Pelishok at 2010-04-26
If you want to update translations on your site - you should find translation files within package (this is located in your buildout instance at eggs/ folder. You will see .po files - these are files containing translations for all languages. Find the corresponding file for your language, update the necessary lines and save changes.

Then restart your instance and you'll see your changes applied.

If you want to correct translation globally - you should ask Plone i18team to grand you access to svn repository to let you commit those changes.

multilingual plon site

Avatar Posted by Boki at 2010-09-23
Hi there! i have one tiny problem. i do not know in what type of folder to put my translation into. If i use Plone Conetent i get new tab, if i add Folder i can't copy my translations into and so on... and AT folder is not there to add.


Avatar Posted by Boki at 2010-09-23
You should add instructions how to add folder as root navigation. I searched the net for 7 hours to find it.[…]ne-language-per-folder-site

linguaplone site : copy/paste solution?

Avatar Posted by fg at 2011-05-16

the problem seems already known:

"Translations uses plone references catalog to be linked to the original (called canonical) object, but when moving objects translations are not moved, when copying pasting objects, translations are not pasted, when deleting objects translations are not deleted, when reordering contents, translations are not reordered, when publishing objects translations are not published, … For web masters maintaining a site with LinguaPlone inside could be a challenge."[…]/


- LinguaFace : too old (work with LinguaPlone 0.9)

- Raptus.multilanguageplone : too young (still alpha)



Avatar Posted by Rob at 2011-12-26
I want to use the flags to denote countries rather than languages. How do I go about associating the correct flag to the correct language in Plone 4?

Re: Flags

Avatar Posted by Olha Pelishok at 2011-12-26

You can enable flags display via Zope Management Interface. Go to portal_languages, select 'Display flags for language selection', and press 'Save' at the bottom of that page.


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