You know your business is going places, but does your website communicate that in more than one language? When the time comes to translate your site into different languages, you should know which multilingual content management system (CMS) is right for you. And if you think you’re already using one of the top CMS platforms for your website localization initiative, it may be time to re-evaluate.
Considerations for a Multi Language CMS
It’s easy to take yourself global. Just book a flight, get on the plane and hope you’re not in for a bumpy ride. But taking your website global? You’re in for a learning curve there. And if you don’t understand your needs and options, you may never reach your destination. To find the best multilingual CMS for your business, start by considering whether it works with your business needs. Do you need internationally friendly forms or time zone-aware scheduling? Will your data be stored safely once it’s translated? And what about localization/internationalization? Was the CMS designed with this in mind so that updates become easily scalable?
Unless you’re a tech guru or already familiar with some of these aspects, you may not have the answers—but that’s what we’re here for. Simplify your search for a good multilingual CMS by looking for the following features:
Global Site Architecture
The system should generate country sites easily and designate what needs to be translated regionally, globally or not at all.
You should have the option to initiate the translation process both on-demand and in scheduled batches. But you wouldn’t want this content to go live without knowing for sure it’s accurate. That’s where pseudolocalization, staging sites and in-CMS testing come into play. With these efforts, you can verify and test the result of this process before translation begins.
Multilingual Content Management
You’ve spent a great deal of time creating your brand. You can’t risk muddying it with poor translation efforts or diminished collaboration when you go global. Multilingual content management ensures you maintain a unified brand message across all content, in all languages. With complete unicode support, the CMS will display, edit and manipulate any language accurately, while supporting all characters from every language (especially Arabic, Japanese and Russian). What’s more, a localization-ready CMS improves collaboration among team members, with scalable edits and updates across languages, even for the smallest web or marketing teams.
API Integration or CMS Translation Connector
Your multi language CMS should save you time and potentially eliminate manual handoffs for localization. It should be built in a way that allows you and your translation partner to easily pull and push web content automatically via an API integration or CMS connector without having to resort to copy and paste or exporting and importing source and translated content.
To make your quest for the right multilingual content management system a little easier, we’ve narrowed your options down to the top open-source and proprietary systems worth considering.
Today’s Top CMS Platforms for Multilingual Websites: Open Source
Many companies find that an open-source CMS suits their needs because the original source code is freely available and may be redistributed and modified. If this sounds up your alley, here are some of the benefits of the top platforms:
WordPress powers more than 32 percent of the web because of its responsive, mobile‑friendly themes and built‑in optimization. You can translate posts, pages, tags, categories and themes into as many languages as you like using a multilingual WordPress plugin. One of the most widely used multilingual plugins is WPML, which web admins can install easily without coding. Check with your translation partner to see if they offer an integration with WPML, enabling you to initiate, manage and receive translations right from within WordPress.
Need to manage large-scale multilingual sites? Drupal is for you. With excellent standard features like reliable performance, stellar security and easy content authoring, it’s touted as the best multilingual CMS for managing large-scale sites. But what sets it apart is its flexibility, with tools that help you build a dynamic website with versatile, structured content. Drupal’s translation management tool, aka TMGMT, enables users to streamline translation workflows. With direct integrations available to language service providers like Acclaro, launching and maintaining a multilingual Drupal site becomes more efficient and cost effective.
Pixel & Tonic’s Craft CMS is geared toward development-oriented publishers who want deeper control and more powerful performance from their content management tools. Known for its flexibility, scalability and user-friendly interface, Craft CMS is ideal for creating custom digital experiences on the web and beyond. To eliminate copy and paste, you can launch and manage a multilingual Craft site more quickly and efficiently using the Translation Plugin for Craft. Craft CMS is also considered a Headless CMS; a back-end only content management system built from the ground up as a content repository that makes content accessible via a RESTful API for display on any device.
Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)
Although not an open-source platform per se, AEM is a popular choice among some of the biggest brands. The platform simplifies management and delivery of a website’s contents and assets, and lessens complications of delivering virtual experiences to the right customers. To more efficiently launch and maintain multilingual AEM content, we recommend working with a translation agency that offers an AEM translation integration.
Custom Content Management Systems
If you’re a bigger company with deep pockets, and plenty of development resources and IT support, it may make sense to develop a custom CMS—especially if you’re looking for control over the platform’s functionality, interface, and updates. A custom solution allows you to tailor everything from workflows to design and usability for your business or departmental needs. This goes a long way in speeding up the execution of updates or marketing campaigns. Other benefits include more control over brand consistency, less risk of hacking or spamming and more personalized support.
When evaluating whether a custom solution is the way to go, be sure your website and CMS localization needs are top of mind and not an afterthought.
*Based on G2 Crowd Reviews
eCommerce CMS Platforms
Are you selling products or services through your website? Whether you’re a small mom-and-pop or a large corporation, you may want to consider an eCommerce CMS platform or eCommerce plugin for any of the previously mentioned content management systems. Many big businesses use enterprise eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SAP Hybris, Sitecore and BigCommerce, which are already internationalized and localization ready (e.g., multilingual product content and multicurrency).
Go Far with Experience
Whether open-source, custom or eCommerce, the ideal multilingual content management system for you ultimately depends on your company’s needs, budget, development resources and IT infrastructure. But one thing’s for sure, choosing an experienced language vendor to partner with is essential. Acclaro can take you far, with expert website localization for any language market in the world.
Unsure of exactly what you need? Schedule a consultation, and our experts can walk you through your options and help you choose the right CMS. We can even help you install and configure our CMS translation integrations for WordPress, Drupal, AEM and Craft CMS or help you get started with our RESTful API. You’re not in this alone!