Everyone has told me that setting up translations for a library webpage is difficult and involves a lot of planning and careful consideration of blah blah blah. Maybe I missed something but I have found the translation part of our new library website to be one of the easiest parts (so far).

Here are the steps I’ve followed.

Step 1: Make a website.
Step 2: Decide that you want the entire website to be in this alternate language (with the exception of news items which will be translated into alternate languages at different times).
Step 3: Copy all of the text you want translated into a Word document.
Step 4: Send to accredited translators.

The only real problems I have had with this is creating some language-specific content for each of my key languages. ie finding online resources to link to in the website links pages. Apart from that it all seems quite straightforward.

Using the above, I have translated all of the menus, all of the image descriptions and all of the content. The only pages I have not translated so far are topical news articles that won’t be around when we launch the website. Instead I am going to write up some articles specific to the communities that read these languages and use those instead. Oh, I also haven’t translated the minor language specific pages I have (ie I have a list of languages that we collect material in, each of those languages has a brief description of the library services we offer and then our standard brochure translated into that particular language).

To get all of this done, I have used a Joomla tool called Joom!Fish. It is marvellous. It allows you to easily translate a webpage without changing the structure of anything OR having to re-create your entire website. The program does not automatically translate things (like Google Translate or Babelfish) but instead gives you a box containing the current page data and then another box where you type in what you want to appear in that language. So when my patron looks at our website and changes it into Dinka, the main page will contain Dinka language translations of everything I’ve translated. I could also, if I wanted to, change pictures and applets to be Dinka specific. It’s quite clever.

Joom!Fish, relies on a language file being present which contains all of the default text that Joomla supplies translated into different languages. For example, when you try to log in and the password is incorrect, Joomla supplies a message saying “your password is incorrect”. The language file changes that to “blah blah blah” in whatever language it is for. Unfortunately I’m having trouble finding a Dinka language version (which wasn’t unexpected) and an MSA/Arabic version (which was unexpected). Ah well, if it comes down to it I’ll just make one.

Translating a library webpage

One thought on “Translating a library webpage

  • April 22, 2008 at 3:21 am
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