Multilingual forum - basic requirements

I would like to make my italian based forum available to english speaking people, so this plugin (translator-plug in) is a basic element. In my opinion the minimum requirements to make the multilingual forum works are the following:

Automatically translate topic titles
All visible topics titles should be automatically translated in the local user language (same as in user preferences). This is quite obvious: how could a user with foreign language choose a topic if he/she doesn’t understand the titles?
I suggest to substitute the original text title with the translation, then to add a second line with the original title.

Example (original topic in italian):

Translate from italian to english
Tradurre dall’italiano all’inglese

The same suggestion applies for:

  • visible category title/description
  • visible pinned topics

Automatically show cached translations of same user language
This could be an option in the user preferences or in Admin Settings. It’s very useful. If you read a translated post twice, you have to re-translate all single topics once again with the globe buttons to see the translation. It’s not user friendly.

Nice to have: search in cached text
Search function: include original text and all cached translations

All the above options won’t dramatically increase translation fee but I’m sure they will improve the user experience.

1 Like

I can’t read, removing most of my post as I mis-read the discussion :slight_smile:

That said, I am curious:
For the dual line titles, why show both to the user it has been translated for? For me, if I was browsing a foreign language forum just having the translation for me would be good.

If the topic titles were being translated, I think caching would be a must - though I am sure caching opens a whole other can of worms of where to store the data.

Hi @rorycb ,
having dual line titles with the original text could help in case the translation is not correct. And believe me it often happens. Anyway, I agree with you, there may have some users who prefer having only one title line. The second line could be an option to be activated in the user preference page.

The actual translator-plugin already use caching, so that you pay once for the same translation. Translation services are not totally free. After a certain amount of translated words you have to pay.

Data storage could be an issue depending on the forum size. In my case is not relevant.

1 Like

@AndreaG I’d never know if they translation was wrong :wink: though I see what you mean, it would be helpful if the translated title didn’t make sense - though I like the Google way of doing it where you can have it show you the original text.

For the caching you are correct I missed that. It is in redis only though and only for Microsoft - at least at a quick glance at the code that is what it looks like. If your redis cache gets flushed it would re-translate everything when it is requested again (@gerhard please correct me if I am wrong, I think you initially wrote it).

To get a search working you’d definitely need to translate everything in advance, and store the results. It gets a lot more complex once that happens - I am not sure the data storage requirements are the hard part there. You’d need a permanent storage place in the DB for the data, you’d need to decide what languages you wanted to support, you’d have to translate everything up front.

Not saying it isn’t possible, it just gets a lot messier and complex. Me personally as a user, I would just rely on the browsers built in translate functions (Chrome automatically prompts me to translate when it detects another language). You’ve got my curious how other software handles it though.

@rorycb, I personally think that a well integrated multilingual funcionality could be an important success factor of a forum platform such as discourse. I consider the Google translator plugin like a work around. It’s easy to use, but it doesn’t deliver all the needed features.

And honestly, would you read or follow a forum like this one (meta.discourse) with no english knowledge, only by using google translator? I guess no.

From my point of view, the biggest challenge is to make users feel comfortable writing posts in their own language and read any posts in other languages through a well integrated translation system. If the forum has a main language and secondary languages (as it is now), users with secondary languages won’t feel totally at home and maybe not motivated to interact with other people. This is just the human side.

A well integrated multilingual platform opens up further applications and allow much more connections with people without having to define a common main language. This last condition is a killer factor in some contexts. Living in Switzerland, with four official national languages, makes me sensitive to this topic.

So, back to your posts. I can imagine to select specific languages to be translated in advance and then stored in a database. As a result, not selected languages would be translated on demand. I find it a great idea.

I wonder if there are other people who have the same point of view and if there is any chance that someone develops such a software?