Setting up a Joomla Multilanguage Site

One of the key features since the Joomla 1.6 version is the capacity to be able to manage many languages in your site. This features works like you have 3 different sites each one with a different language, where each one of them can differ from the others in content, modules and menus; instead of having almost one-to-one correspondence for each language, like WordPress.


Installing the Language Packs
Activating the Language Plugins
Setting-up the Content Language
Creating the Default Menu for the English UK language
Adding the Language Switcher module
Testing our site
Adding localized content

Installing the Language Packs
First, we have to install Language Packs for each language we want to manage in our site. This will let us to display the front-end in the desired language.

1. Enter to the Translation Packs Site ,look up for the language you want to install and click on the link next to "Download Language Packs" ( for this example I choose the German )
2. Copy the url of in the filename column. I recomend that you install the "full" pack.
3. Go to the admin back-end of your site and click in the menu Extensions -> Extension Manager.
4. In the Install from URL field, paste the URL of the language pack you picked-up and click on "Install" button



Activating the Language Plugins
This step is important because these plugins activate the Joomla multilingual capabilities.

5. Select the menu Extensions -> Plugin-Manager.
6. In the "Filter" field, type "lang" and click the "Search" button. You will see two language plug-ins: System - Language Code and System - Language Filter
7. To activate them, click on red circle icon in the "Status" column for each one.



Setting-up the Content Language
Additionally to activating the multilingual feature, we must indicate Joomla which will be the language will use to display the content.
Remember, installing one language doesn't mean that will be use it for our content, that's why we have to do this extra step.

8. Click on the menu "Extensions -> Template Language Manager". You'll see language that you just installed.
9. Click on the "Content" link. Note that in the list will appear only the default content language, in this case the English ( UK ).
10. Click on the "New" icon.

11. Fill out the fields with the following information information:
- Title: The title of the language as you like to appear in the list. Mandatory, not relevant for your site.
- Title native: The native name of the language. This is the text that will be appear as link in the front-end.
- Language Code: The code that Joomla will use to identify the selected content language. You can type any code that you want, but is recommended that you enter some standard code
-Image prefrix: The flag icon that will represent the language. Enter only the file name ( exclude the extension ). To guide you, see the flags icon images in the directory /media/mod_languages/images of your Joomla site.
-Language Tag: This is the code of the installed Joomla language pack. You can find it in the "Installed-Site" section of the Language Manager

12. Finally, click on "Save & Close " icon.



Creating the Default Menu for the new installed language
This menu will be the landing page for the new installed language. Remember, we can have only one default menu for each language.
13. Go to Menu Manager -> Add New Menu
14. Enter a title and a type ( in the example Main Menu ( DE ), main-menu-de )
15. Select the new menu " Main Menu ( DE ) -> Add New Menu Item "
16. In the field "Menu Type", click on the "Select" button and then click on "Featured Articles" link.
17. Fill the "Menu Title" Field.
18. Important: *** In the "Default Page" option, select the "Yes" value.
19. Important: *** In the "Language" combobox, select the new installed language.
20. We're ready. Click on the "Save & Close" button.

Move the mouse to the "Menus" menu. You'll see as result the new default menu for the installed language.

Creating the Default Menu for the English UK language
It is some kind of weird, but we have to add a another main menu for the default installed language, extra to the default main menu. This will let us to switch to the English language.
21. Go to Menu Manager -> Add New Menu
22. Enter a title and a type ( in the example Main Menu ( EN ), main-menu-en )
23. Select the new menu " Main Menu ( EN ) -> Add New Menu Item "
24. In the field "Menu Type", click on the "Select" button and then click on "Featured Articles" link.
25. Fill the "Menu Title" Field.
26. Important: *** In the "Default Page" option, select the "Yes" value.
27. Important: *** In the "Language" combobox, select the English UK value.
28. Click on the "Save & Close" button.

Move the mouse to the "Menus" menu. You'll see as result the 2 flags that indicate the default menu for each language.



Adding the Language Switcher module
We'll set the module in the front-end that let us switch the language.

29. Go to "Extensions -> Module Manager"
30. Click in the "New" icon in the toolbar and select the "Language Switcher" module type.

31. Set the fields as indicated below:
- Title: Language.
- Position: Position-7
- Language: All
- Use DropDown: No
- Use Images Flags: Yes



Testing our site
Has been long so far. Now we can make some test.

32. Go to the front end on your site. You'll see the Language switcher module at the left.
33. Click on the German Language flag.

You see how some elements of the site change to German, but why others stay in English ?
The answer is in the next set of steps.



Adding localized content
Remember: having a multilingual site in Joomla is like having one different site for each language. The text that we saw translated in German in the front-end is the text of the Joomla system components and modules, that means that is the text from the installed German Language Pack. The text that is not translated belongs to the content generated by us: that's mean modules, menus, articles, and almost every component in where we need to define some title.

34. In the administrator back-end, go to "Extensions->Module Manager ".
35. Click in the "Main Menu" module link.
Note that this is the module for our default Main Menu. Now, we're going to set this module only for the English language.
36. In the language field, select "English UK" and click the "Save" icon in the toolbar.
Now we're going to create the menu module for the German.
37. In the Title field, type "Hauptmenü".
38. In the language field, select the value referring to the German.
39. Select "Main Menu (DE)" value for the "Select Menu" field.
40. Click the "Save as Copy" icon in the toolbar.
41. Click the "Close" icon.

In the module list, you will see two Main Menu modules, one for German and another for the English.
Repeat the same steps for the Language Switcher and Login Form modules.


Almost done ! Now, just remember
Once you have your site configured with the multilingual capabilities, the only thing to keep in mind when you create some content in one specific language is this field: