The importance of a localisation-friendly CMS

Friday February 16, 2018 - Posted by:

Expanding abroad and reaching international markets is always a challenge for businesses, and a key part of this challenge involves the creation of a multilingual website.

In fact, moving from a single-language website to a multilingual one can look like a daunting process when approached for the first time, as it requires the careful consideration of different technical aspects in order to make the most of your CMS.

But first of all, what is a CMS and why is it relevant for localisation?

CMS stands for Content Management System and it is a software that is used for creating and maintaining websites, as well as other digital content.

Most Content Management Systems can support localisation in different ways, so it is of vital importance to ensure that the chosen CMS is well adapted to your localisation needs.

Which features do you need to consider when choosing a multilingual CMS?

  1. It supports global websites and local content, as well as full Unicode

The CMS supports all the languages that the website will be published in, including accents, different characters and language direction (left to right and right to left). It allows you to generate and manage independent websites for each market and also to select which content should be localised into each language.

  1. The content for localisation can be easily exported and reimported afterwards

It is usually better to send an export of the website content that needs localisation rather than allowing the translators to access the CMS to localise directly in there, which could put confidentiality at risk and lead to inconsistencies due to the lack of translation memory and spell checker.


A CMS that can export files in formats such us XML, XLS or even XLIFF will allow a smoother localisation workflow: not only will it prevent potential security issues, but it will also allow the localisation team to make use of the latest translation technology (CAT tools, translation memory, termbases, QA checks…) in order to ensure consistency and leverage repetitions.


  1. It allows independent localisation workflows

Each language site should have its own separate workflow so that the localisation process for new and updated content can be initiated independently. This allows for flexibility in case not all the languages need to be updated at the same time or new content is released only for specific languages.


  1. It supports FTP or API integration leading to the automatic push and pull of content to and from a drop location

When the source content is ready for translation, it is transferred to the localisation team’s server using FTP or via an API, which not only saves time but also eliminates the need for file exchange via email.


  1. It supports multilingual e-commerce

The CMS can handle different payment methods in different currencies, depending on the market.

  1. It supports multiple platforms

The content can be easily displayed on different devices: desktop PC, mobile and tablet.

  1. It offers formatting flexibility for different languages

Depending on the market or language, the format for dates, times and currency can be different. The same applies to the length of the text, as some languages take up more space than English, like German or Russian, whereas Asian languages tend to be shorter. Different languages also require different page layouts, for example the website may need to be adapted to languages that read right to left, like Arabic, and fonts may need to be resized for languages such as Chinese, Korean and Arabic, which can be difficult to read if too small.

  1. It allows media management

The CMS supports separate and localised media galleries, as images might need to be re-uploaded depending on if there is localised content within them.


As mentioned above, there are many aspects to consider when choosing the right CMS for your multilingual website. Choosing the right one is crucial to ensure that the localisation of your website is managed effectively, and well worth the investment!

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