Multilingual Content Management with the Synapse Publisher CMS

For content rich multilingual Web sites, a Web Content Management System (CMS) is indispensable. Aside from the basic technical challenges of ensuring that menu links point to the right pages and separating content from code (to ensure that translators are not being asked to decipher HTML, C# or PHP code), managing a multilingual site without a CMS involves a huge amount of effort for version control, file deployment and hard coding exceptions. CMS systems make the process easier by storing content in multiple languages in a content repository that is separate from the code required to display content. You maintain one set of template files for content display and formatting, and use the management features of the CMS to maintain the content repository.

Although almost all commercial CMS products today use Unicode and are therefore able to store content in languages like Chinese and Arabic, these systems vary wildly in their ability to simultaneously support content in multiple languages and in the tools that they provide to manage the translation process. The Synapse Publisher™ CMS is a truly multilingual content management system and provides a rich set of tools to manage and translate multilingual content.

Enabling expert human translation

Many people who are not familiar with Web globalization ask us why they should bother with expert human translation --- they wonder if simply using machine translation (MT) is sufficient. It is true that machine translation is constantly getting better, and that it can be an important component of some globalization strategies. However, as the screenshot below illustrates, for your Website, you are still going to want to have any customer-facing text reviewed by a human translator.

Illustration of Machine Translation Limitations

More relevant than MT for Web translations is a technology called Translation Memory (TM), which is basically a way for human translators to avoid manually translating the same sentence or phrase twice. Translation memory should be a critical cost saving component of any Web globalization effort, and Synapse Publisher™ is designed to support expert human translation using Translation Memory.

Managing multilingual content

The multilingual features of Synapse Publisher™ system start with how content is presented --- a complete view of all language versions of each item of content, along with the status of each item (draft, pending approval or live) is always available.

Multilingual Content Management With Synapse Screenshot

Content versioning

 Most CMS systems support content versioning, and for multilingual sites this functionality is key. Synapse Publisher gives you the ability to intelligently decide when versions should be incremented and translations updated. This lets you avoid confusing your translation workflow with updates to source language items that should not affect translations (such as fixing a source language misspelling).

Version control for translations illustration

Knowing what to translate

Some CMS systems expect you to keep careful track of each update to source language files, and manually decide what needs to be sent out for translation. Synapse publisher provides automated tools to track and report on what needs to be translated. It is also possible to mark pages, fields within pages or entire types of content as not requiring translation so that you do not have to manually weed out content that you do not wish to localize.

Translation management report screenshot

Requesting translations

When you have determined that it is time to request a translation update in a given language, Synapse enables you to automatically create a translation request that aggregates all of the content requiring translation.

Manage Translation Requests Screenshot

Once the translation request is created, translators can download the entire request as a specially formatted XML document.

Multilingual Content Management Translation Request Detail Screenshot

This document can be imported directly into popular Computer Aided Translation tools such as SDL’s Trados® suite. Using Trados®, translators can work with the text to be translated, without having to wade through and potentially break related code or HTML markup (which can be displayed locked as in the screenshot below or completely hidden). When the translation is completed, translators can upload the translated XML document directly into Synapse.

Trados Integration Screenshot

Supporting in-country review

In-country or in-culture review of translations is crucial to ensure quality. Synapse Publisher™ provides tools to facilitate this review, including a What Changed view of source and target language text to allow reviewers to zero in on exactly what was updated.
What Changed Report Screenshot

Clicking the source and target versions of content also opens an in-context view of the content, allowing reviewers to see exactly how the finished product will appear on the site before approving it.

Multilingual Content Screenshot


For more information about how to use Synapse Publisher™ to manage multilingual content, contact iData  or request a live demo of the Synapse Publisher multilingual content management system.