SharePoint is a tool that has been built for online collaboration and SharePoint Online have features that will allow administrators to set up site accessibility in multiple languages. Depending on which aspect of the site needs to be translated, there are a few ways to make a site multi-lingual.
SharePoint is a tool that has been built for online collaboration. Enterprises all over the world use SharePoint to manage their documents, streamline processes, and to improve internal and cross-functional cooperation among users. With this in mind, it is important to remember that not all users will want to see their site in only one language. Many of today's businesses have a global workforce, supply-chain and customer base, often meaning multiple first languages.
SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online have features that will allow administrators to set up site accessibility in multiple languages. Depending on which aspect of the site needs to be translated, there are a few ways to make a site multi-lingual; these features are called the Multilingual User Interface and Variations.
Multilingual User Interface
The Multilingual User Interface (MUI) is primarily used for editing the site's user interface into a language familiar to the user. It achieves this goal by allowing a SharePoint site to display the site's user interface in languages other than the language in which it was originally created. As long as the appropriate language pack is installed and enabled for the site, the MUI can be enabled as needed for individual users. For example, if the site was originally created in English, but certain users need to navigate the user interface in Spanish, the MUI will empower these individual users to set their preferences and manage their settings in Spanish.
Since the MUI only affects the user interface when working within SharePoint, actual content on the site is not translated. With this in mind, the MUI is perfect for a multi-cultural and multi-lingual team of content editors that benefit from editing content in a language they are comfortable with. For instance Canada has a large number of both French and English speakers therefore organisations operating there might want to enable staff to edit the site's user interface in their preferred language. The MUI therefore increases efficiency, since users will not necessarily have to achieve fluency in non-native languages to manage settings and site content.
SharePoint's other tool that aids multilingual support is the Variations feature. Variations are used for the content of your SharePoint sites, rather than simply the administration and interaction with SharePoint. Variations work by creating a source site (set of content) that can be used for delivering content to other target sites. When a user visits the root (main) SharePoint site, Variations allow the user to go to the appropriate language variation site based on their browser settings.
In the example image shown above, the English language variation is displayed as the main site; and the variations available are French, Simplified Chinese and Spanish. This would mean that a user in France, with their browser language set to French, would on visiting the root (main) SharePoint site, be automatically redirected to the French variation.
This concept applies to lists and pages alike, meaning that when lists and pages are created in the source variation site (in this case English), they will be synced to the target variation site as well (French). Unlike the MUI, variations do not affect the user interface that content editors browse the site in; they only affect content that is published on the sites themselves. This makes variations ideal for sites where content will need to be displayed consistently throughout multiple languages for a global audience.
Today, technology is used all over the world in countless languages. Enterprises cannot afford to ignore a multicultural audience, and with SharePoint 2013, it is easier than ever to collaborate through multiple languages. With BrightStarr's years of experience with the SharePoint product, we know exactly how to create the best User Experiences with this enterprise technology. Why not read more about how we can help you optimise your User Experience via the button below.