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Find this Podcast “Multilingual SharePoint Sites” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.


Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I am sitting here, Mr. Eric Bowden. How are you doing Mr. Eric Bowden?


Eric:Awesome, I’m doing fantastic today and just delighted to be in your studio today Danny.


Danny:I’m delighted you’re delighted. Today’s subject came from a Yammer post that … We’re not using Yammer anymore, we’re just using teams right?


Eric:That’s right.


Danny:Did you get the memo?


Eric:That’s right. Yammer is the old new.


Danny:I posted up a picture that I thought was so funny. I had an image and from that image I said, “Well why don’t we do a podcast out of it? I asked to see if anybody knew anything about supporting multiple languages, so we’re going to talk about multiple languages and share point. You were the person that everybody threw out and said, “Talk to Eric, talk to Eric.”


Eric:That’s right.


Danny:“He knows a little bit about this.” It sounds like you’ve used it in the past and now you’re using it now.


Eric:That’s right. Yeah my first experience with translation services or supporting multiple languages and share point is about maybe almost ten years back. I’m recently working on it with Share Point 2016 so my first experience was with Share Point 2007, so way way back. Now Share Point 2016 and I’ve been really pleased with how easy it was to set up and the reliability of it so far.


Danny:Nice. Has it changed a lot or is it the similar type of setup than what you did before in the past?


Eric:Yeah. From my recollection it really hasn’t changed much. It’s much the same for folks who have worked with it in the past, Share Point uses a feature called variations. It did in 2007 and it still does today. Much of that is the same, it seems like … I haven’t gone and done a comparison but it just seems like the configuration, the setup and really the reliability of it is much better than I remembered.


Danny:I use the same thing for my dance moves. I use variations on my dance moves.


Eric:That’s right.


Danny:It’s interesting from a similar type of thing right?


Eric:That’s right, very very similar, very similar. Yeah you have to do a little more reading to use variations but …


Danny:And the one you worked on so long ago, that was a public-facing site?


Eric:That was a public-facing website.


Danny:Back when we did public-facing websites in Share Point?


Eric:That’s right, that’s right.


Danny:Back in the day, and now that site’s gone?


Eric:That’s right, yeah. This most recent one, this is a knowledge base. Authors, they are authoring content in knowledge base articles in English and they’ll be translated into Spanish. We have just one target language for this application but of course they may very well be adding more and Share Point supports obviously more.


Danny:Talk me through the setup. What do you do to prepare for this? Talk me through that.


Eric:Yeah. Your first step I think is to decide if you’ll ever want to support multiple languages. If you do then I recommend that you start by configuring your site for variations and choose whatever your primary language may be. English in our case. And so what you do is you go into Share Point, you create a site collection. Go into the site collection features and you’ll configure for what is your source variation. Your source variation, as I said in my case is English and what’ll happen is Share Point provisions a sub-site for you for that primary variation, your source variation. From that point if you think you want to support multiple languages but you’re not ready to yet you stop there. You’re in a good place, you have a good platform for supporting multiple languages but you don’t need to take any further action from that point.


Danny:Is that like it creates a little direct … Like an English directory or something along those lines?


Eric:Exactly. The sub-site is named by the language that it supports. Next step is when you’re ready to support additional languages. You’re going to need to install the language pack for Share Point into that environment and then you’re going to need to … You go in and you configure your variations and you configure an additional variation for the new language. That will be the target for your translated content and just like it did for English Share Point will create a sub-site for that new language.


Danny:Is there a language pack per language or does the language pack-


Eric:Yep. One language pack per language so you’ll go download those from Microsoft and install them.


Danny:Then once you have that installed what’s the next step after that?


Eric:Next step is test it out, begin using it. The flow is that on your source site of course you author your content and you publish it. Once that content is published it’ll be automatically migrated to your variation targets and the example project I’m working on right now that’s Spanish, so it gets migrated to my Spanish site. Then the next step is when it gets migrated it’s migrated in English and it’s unpublished. It’s copied over to that Spanish site, it’s not published and what it’s doing is it’s waiting for someone to come along and either manually translate that from English into Spanish and publish it or Share Point has translation services built in.


Danny:Shut the front door.


Eric:It does, it’s awesome. It’s cloud-hosted, the translation services are cloud-hosted. It’s provided as part of your Share Point license so there’s not an additional cost for using translation services.




Eric:Really. And in my case there was no configuration involved so I didn’t go into Share Point’s central administration and configure translation services, I believe it configured it as part of the running the configuration wizard in central administration. It’s already there, you’re over in your Spanish site. You’re looking at what is an English content article because it just got copied from the English source. You click a button to invoke the translation services and while you’re watching it will translate it and you’re then presented with that article in Spanish. The last step is, assuming you’re bilingual so you’re going to approve and I certainly recommend that because translation … There’s plenty of opportunity for flaws and-


Danny:Hence the image that brought all this which was the-


Eric:That’s right.


Danny:You’ll see it and this will be at the top of the blog post but it’s basically an image of, it looks like a Chinese shop and it says, “Cannot connect to translation service,” and they went ahead and printed that out on the sign on the front of the store. What happens when this happens in this case?


Eric:It is. It’s easy for those things to slip by. An error message can be presented in Spanish as in that case, it can make an incorrect translation, use a wrong word choice. You’re expecting someone who needs to be bilingual to proofread that document. What this does, what the translation service does is reduces the number of resources that you need to support this. The project I’m working on is going to be a huge volume of content, really going to be let’s say authored by in the neighborhood of 20 people. Without these translation services you may find yourself needing 20 bilingual authors to manage translating that content. With translation services maybe you can get by with one or two because-


Danny:Because they’re just proofreading?


Eric:They’re just proofreading. Proofread, publish and you’re done.


Danny:Very cool. You were telling me on the current project that there’s a set of words that you can use, it’s almost like a scaled-down version of English that translates well into other language. Tell me more about that.


Eric:Yeah that’s right. A big part of the project that I’m working on right now is content refactoring. We’re taking content which is in an older knowledge base and migrating that into Share Point but before it gets put into Share Point there’s a step of content refactoring which is really improving the quality of the content of those knowledge base articles, improving the readability of it. In many cases what was a large, complex article is being divided up into numerous smaller, simpler, easier to read articles. And then to your point an aspect of that is using a simplified English, using terms which we know automated translation services will be successful with in translating from English to Spanish.




Eric:Yeah. We’re working with a partner, Doug Davis from Pro Edit.


Danny:Shout out to Doug.


Eric:Shout out to Doug, he’s performing the content refactoring and those steps of really recognizing what’s going to be required for an article to be translated from English to Spanish. So a huge benefit for having Doug on the team and his team recognizing what is really a pretty big deal when you’re working with translating content.


Danny:What do you do? I know with the site we worked on a while back there was a language selector or do you use stuff from the browser or how do you choose which language the end user’s going to see?


Eric:Great question because there are a number of approaches for this. For our knowledge base project it’s using a feature in Share Point called the product catalog, or otherwise known as cross-site publishing. What the product catalog or cross-site publishing allows you to do is to abstract the content and the authoring of content from the search and consumption of that content. What you end up having is you have a knowledge base of content which is where content authors go to manage this content and then you have a search center or experience for users to search and consume that content and what we’re doing is, have a separate site for each language. There’s an English-based experience for English users, a Spanish site for Spanish users. Now that might sound like a great deal of effort, a separate site for each language if I’m going to support a dozen languages.


Danny:Yeah, a dozen sites.


Eric:That’s going to get pretty deep.


Danny:I’d do the math on that, there’s a dozen sites.


Eric:You are a smart man. But the good news is that there’s very little translatable content within these sites, almost all of the content comes from the articles and we’re using Managed Metadata. Managed Metadata also participates in translation services so you have a whole catalog of terms that you’re using to decorate your content and you can submit those to translation services and they’ll be submitted or translated from English to Spanish.




Eric:Yeah. It’s really slick.


Danny:Very nice. So what else? What else is there for getting it set up or anything?


Eric:That’s pretty much it.


Danny:Is that it?


Eric:That’s pretty much it. You know there are additional variations of the variation to explore. There’s another strategy which I think is what you might have been thinking about initially is having your users go directly to the site where the content lives. That is a strategy employed also and what happens there is that you navigate … I mentioned there’s a hierarchy of sites, a sub-site for each language. Share Point makes the decision when you navigate to that root site, there’s a re-director on the root site that makes the decision for which language is appropriate for you. It’ll direct you to the sub-site for your language.


Danny:That’s typically something the browser … Probably different across browsers but that’s a piece of information you can get from the browser typically right?


Eric:Right, that’s right.


Danny:Yeah. This is awesome. We’ll have to do a followup after you’re done with the project and see how everything went and maybe see what sort of lessons you learn by getting this set up but this is good stuff for … I mean I know some of the larger sites that we’re working on, multiple languages has to be there so this is some great experience you’re getting so cool.


Eric:It is yeah. It’s a great value from Share Point and the language translation services, this particular customer, they really weren’t expecting it. But when they saw it it’s a really big value add for them and a good reason for them to be using Share Point.


Danny:Especially it’s nice, it’s part of the licensing.




Danny:That is very sweet, that’s awesome. Well thank you everybody for taking the time to listen to this. If you have any questions for Eric leave them in the comment section and he’ll follow up with you there. This is another great follow up to Knowledge Bases so looking for other topics, Tommy and I covered Knowledge Bases with Share Point a couple weeks ago so anything else you’re picking up on this project let’s get together and talk. This is a great subject so thank you for doing this Eric.


Eric:Will do.


Danny:Awesome. Thanks everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Thank you, bye bye.



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