Looking at LinguaPlone

LinguaPlone is the standard multilingual translation solution for Plone, and is used to generate translations of websites like Oxfam .

Upon first hearing of LinguaPlone, I was expecting a scenario where the whole page – page body, tabs, portlets, the lot – would obediently translate given the necessary words and a couple of clicks of the mouse. Then again, the open source community was not made for demanding types like me who expects everything without putting in some spadework himself (I am only making my first forays into Python now…:) )

What LinguaPlone offers (so far) is a very easy way to translate the page body. Simply choose what languages you are going to have your site in in Preferences (they are pretty much all there), do up a page in your default language, and access the ‘translate’ tab at the top of the document to translate into the language of your choice. In addition, uninstalling Linguaplone doesn’t affect this translated content, it only removes the links between the different translations, which can be restored by reinstalling the product.

All the same, it’s a little hard to know if LinguaPlone offers all that much more convenience and functionality over manually creating new content for each language yourself. I’m sure it does, else it would not be so widely used, but the lack of decent documentation doesnt help much to illumine me. For example, a cool thing would be if LinguaPlone used the IP address of your computer to automatically serve you up the content in your own language – its a rather intuitive thing and one might reasonably expect a multilingual solution to have this facility. It’s not an easy thing to test (unless you have access to a private plane), and so I dont really know if it does this…..

(If my interest in Linguaplone persists over the next couple of months, I promise I will document answers as I find them here)

One thing that would really enhance LinguaPlone, in my view, is if translated objects could inherit the properties of the original object. Perhaps I want to use a couple of portlets in left_slots: in current LinguaPlone, I put the portlets in for a page, but they are not there for their translated counterpart. Not everyone will want this of course, but it would be nice if it were included as an option, along with an option to automatically update translation properties if the default properties are changed. Perhaps all the contents of the ZMI properties tab could even be displayed in the 2-column ‘translate’ page, and the user could pick which ones he wants to keep.

The top navigation bar tabs are a known issue with Plone multilingual sites, but if property inheritance were allowed the subsite feature of our vsCore product could then be enabled for those sites whose tabs bear the names of the content they point to.

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