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CMS essentials for multilingual websites

image of Brightspot CMS' translations integration

Thanks to the rapid proliferation of tech in recent years, the world is now more connected than ever, and brands are looking to expand their global reach by delivering localized experiences to increasingly diverse audiences. A vital component of any localization strategy is the ability to translate content into different languages accurately and efficiently. Though translations seem relatively straightforward on the surface, brands are often surprised at how complicated the process can be. Here, we look at five features a CMS needs to help brands successfully deliver translated content in the digital era.

Site structure

When publishing content for a global audience, companies need to think beyond the content itself. In addition to providing accurate translations, a business needs to ensure that the architecture of its site will provide a cohesive experience for front-end users. After a user enters the site in one language, the pages of that site should remain in that language unless the user manually selects a different one. Though some sites use cookies and dynamic language detection to localize content on a page, this method can create an inconsistent experience across the site and can prevent a site from being properly indexed. The better practice is to use your CMS to generate a unique URL for each piece of translated content.

Seamless integration

To maximize efficiency, a CMS should streamline the translation process by integrating directly with the company’s translation provider. This eliminates the need to manually export or copy and paste source content into a separate system to be translated, saving publishers time and effort. Once translations are complete, a good CMS will automatically import translations back into the workflow. In addition to making the translation process easier, the connection between the CMS and the translation service also provides for increased security when compared with exporting and sending content externally.

Brightspot CMS - Translations screenshot
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Inside Brightspot: Translations

Customized workflows

Every company’s content publishing process looks different, and an effective CMS empowers teams to create business-specific workflows to suit their unique needs. This allows publishers to send content for translation at the point that makes the most sense for their business. Oftentimes, translation occurs toward the end of the publishing workflow in order to minimize the costs associated with having to repeatedly re-translate content due to edits.

Screenshot of Brightspot workflow tool
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Inside Brightspot: Workflows overview

Customized workflows also give CMS users the flexibility to schedule when translated content is ultimately published. In some instances, companies may want to release source content and translated content simultaneously; whereas, other companies may prefer to publish translated content on a rolling basis. The ability to tailor publishing workflows to different situations gives publishers increased control over how they share their messaging in multiple languages.


In-context translation

Creating accurate translations requires a nuanced understanding of the respective language. Though a number of older CMSs may have the ability to send copy to translation providers, a good CMS takes this a step further by sending context for the copy as well. For example, if content on a page is referencing a specific image, in-context translation will include that image with the text that needs translating. This helps to ensure that the meaning of a brand’s messaging is translated correctly and reduces the time publishers spend trying to clarify content to translators.

Translation feature screenshot

Considerations for SEO

SEO is an important consideration for companies as they publish content in multiple languages. As discussed above, unique URLs for translated content helps users navigate your site, but they also help you avoid being penalized for creating duplicate content. To organize and publish these pages correctly on a site, it’s vital that a company be able to connect source content to its related translations. A good CMS will automatically track and connect a piece of source content to all of its translations so that a publisher can focus on optimizing SEO performance without having to worry about being penalized for duplicate content.



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