Skip and go to main content

Technology & Engineering March 23, 2016

How to Manage Multilingual Website Rollouts: Part 2


In this second article from our series on Multilingual Website Rollouts,  we provide tips and discussion points around localization and translation, brand governance, and awareness of local holiday patterns.

Localization & translation considerations

There are two approaches that are generally used when creating content for a global rollout. The first, and usually preferred, approach is for the majority of the site to be created as a Master English version. This is then inherited, localized, and translated by each local country team. The benefit here is that the effort is spent up-front as part of the initial build and population (with central sign off), and each country has a fully functioning English site as a starting point.

The second approach is that each local country site creates their own content based on local needs. This results in duplicated effort, as each country could, effectively, be completing the same task in different languages. This can also lead to issues with brand and tone-of-voice consistency, as each country effectively creates a separate local website with less central control.

If going with the first approach, it is important to be clear who is responsible for translation and adaption of the Master English content. Are your local editors equipped to translate a full site from English to their local language? Do you intend to use an external translation agency? If so, this needs to be factored into the planning, as the content will still need to be entered into your CMS by your teams.

If using SDL technology, the final option for translation is SDL’s Translation Management Service (TMS). This functionality can be built into Tridion, allowing Master English content to be sent to SDL for human translation (at a cost). The key benefit is that when it returns and is approved by the requester, it is then localized in the correct country Publications ready to be published out. So, while there is additional effort required upfront to configure TMS as per your requirements, the potential time it could save in external translation costs and Tridion content entry are often well worth it.

Do not forget about assets when planning localization and translation. Your website may contain videos and imagery that, at a global level, are suitable. However, local markets often have different requirements in terms of imagery (i.e. how products are presented with different labeling per country), or different copyright rules preventing them from using specific imagery.

On top of this, any imagery with text contained within it, or videos with text overlays or voice-overs, will obviously need to be sourced. This is all additional time that needs to be factored into the planning of the global rollout.

Brand Governance in local markets

With each local market managing their own local site, it is easy for an inexperienced editor to get carried away and upload content that is below the level of quality you expect as a brand. Also, with the level of control some content management systems provide, it is also possible for editors with certain permissions to edit HTML directly in the rich text fields, and overwrite the styles set out by the original build.

There are three key ways to tackle issues arising from situations like this:

  • Training
    Ensure your content editors are fully trained on what is/is not allowed, and understand the proper procedure for raising a change request if they want to venture away from what the site allows.
  • Permissions
    Use your CMS’s permission capabilities to ensure you lock down what is possible through use of a permissions matrix.
  • Brand guidelines and governance
    If using Tridion, you can use the Custom Page area to show external wikis and guides within the Tridion interface, to ensure any guidelines you may have on tone of voice, brand use and general content guidelines are easily accessible. It is also important that there is a key brand governance officer responsible for review and sign-off of a local country site, to ensure the site is on par with the quality expectations of the central team.

Everyone needs time off….even content editors

When planning a global rollout across different time zones, it is important to understand each country’s public holidays and leave patterns. For example, the US have Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve as public holidays, whereas in the UK these are normal working days. Therefore, there is no point putting both the UK and US launch day on November 24th.

It is also common for those in continental Europe to take extended breaks over the summer, with many offices being quieter in this period. Planning in the majority of the content entry or sign-off over the summer months is, therefore, likely to result in delays. Understanding these regional patterns helps to create a realistic and achievable global rollout plan.

Coming soon

In the third and final post in this global rollout series, we will discuss publishing activity/approaches, training, scheduling calls across timezones, and on-going maintenance and support.

Questions? We're here to help!


If you're reading this, you unfortunately can't see the form that's supposed to be here. You probably have an ad blocker installed. Please switch off your adblocker in order to see this form.

Still encountering problems? Open this page in a different browser or get in touch with us: [email protected]