Multi-language forum (2 questions)

[Disclaimer: I’m not a developer]

Our situation:

  • We are thinking about implementing a forum in German and English.
  • From reading other posts, I think it narrows down to having multiple categories in the 2 languages within one forum.
  • (We don’t like 2 separate forums, automatic translation/plugin, language detection, language tags, or language groups because of their various disadvantages.)
  • The general user interface can be in English (should be OK for most German-speaking users as well).

My 2 questions:

  1. Regarding the categories in multiple languages, is there a “best practice” of using (1) the language as the top categories (i.e. “English” and “Deutsch” as the only 2 top categories with various sub-categories, respectively) vs. (2) having multiple categories in the 2 languages as top categories (i.e. top categories like “General Discussion [EN]” and “Allgemeine Diskussion [DE]”)?

  2. Is there a list of good existing multi-language forums to look at as an example? Or do you know some good examples?


Take a look here

I think this is one of the better structured multi-language forum to be taken as an example


To better understand where you are heading, it would be good to know a bit more about the nature of your forum or why you made the decisions you describe as your situation. If, for example, the reason for combining two languages in one forum is mere convenience and you don’t expect or intend to facilitate interaction between the two language communities, then a good setup is going to look different than if your aim is to overcome language barriers and (ideally) foster a single community.

Nevertheless, I would claim that it is not a good idea to have two top categories “English” and “Deutsch” (even if you don’t intend to facilitate mixing between the two language communities, but especially then). A very simple reason is that you are basically giving away the possibility to have sub-categories below what really are your categories. So

is definitely better.

But have you considered using a single category in which people can post in both English and German? I believe Users will have no difficulty in telling what language a topic is in based on the topic title. So why build walls when people can only benefit from stumbling over topics that are not in their preferred language?


Thanks, these are some helpful comments.

Our main reasons for considering 2 languages in 1 forum are to reduce complexity and have some interaction (at least from German speakers who also understand English, probably not so much the other way round).

But at the same time, we know from our website that English speakers are more likely to leave if there are many German elements included on the site they look at. So by having very clear EN vs DE categories, this problem could be reduced because EN users just need to click on their language once and they are in an English environment. But I understand your point that it might also reduce interaction, like German users writing in the English part of the forum.

We’ll think about this some more and try to look at other examples.

Thanks! Looks like they run the languages pretty much separately.

The moz://a forum has a few different languages.


@erlend_sh has a good topic on this as well – How to structure a multilingual community


Great, thanks, this is helpful.