Joomla has many great features built into the core, but sadly an all in one solution for translating your website is not one of them. As more website owners turn to translation as a cost effective method of increasing both traffic and sales, not translating your website means you take the risk of being left behind by your competitors. In fact, there are a lot of other benefits to translating a Joomla website:
- E-commerce: If your website sells to foreign markets, it makes perfect sense to provide information about your products or services in the relevant language of your current or potential customers.
Growth: Targeting foreign markets where your product or service is a good fit can help you continue growing the business.
Branding: First impressions matter. Making your website available in your customer's native language will help you build trust and credibility in your brand and enhance its global reputation.
Improve Conversion rates: If your website is actually receiving traffic from users who don’t speak your language, translation will almost certainly help improve conversion rates.
Ranking: When done properly, multilingual SEO can help improve your website’s ranking and visibility.
Translating a Joomla website is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Producing and maintaining a site in multiple languages is definitely a challenge. Although Joomla has translation capabilities built into the core, you need to go through the process of adding a new language, creating a content language, enabling the language filter plugin and creating language categories to get started. Not a very straightforward or easy process for your everyday webmaster.
After that you are still stuck with a system that does not allow you to translate any 3rd party components and you have no overview of what content needs to be translated or what content has been updated.
There are a number of solutions available for translating Joomla websites out there to help, however the newest solution has a number of important features that are not available anywhere else.
A new way to easily translate a Joomla website with Neno Translate
Neno translate is a free and Open Source component available for Joomla 3.0 and onwards that has a number of essential features built in, and offers itself as a “complete translation solution for joomla”. Like most open source Joomla! projects, Neno uses the GPL2 free software license and is freely available to everyone.
Here are some of the features we found to be very useful:
The ability to translate any 3rd party component, even ones you build yourself.
The ability to order professional translation from within the interface at the click of a button (and to send new content to be professionally translated as it is created)
Performance: Neno Translate offers unrivaled performance with no listing and browsing performance loss. No other translation or multilingual solution offers this.
Flexible Configuration makes it easy to choose what to translate and how. Granular settings allows you to, for example, automatically machine translate your forum posts, manually translate your important content pages, order professional translation for your blog posts and entirely skip translating user comments
Simple User Interface - stay focused on your Joomla website translation
User Interface: Neno’s user interface is simple to use. There is one view to configure tables called "Groups and elements" and another where you do the actual translation. The interface has many useful features we liked such as Mirror scrolling and visual formatting of HTML & JSON.
Easy Installation and Setup
Neno is fairly straightforward to install, you have to select what languages you want to translate into, and you have the choice of selecting what content to translate. If you decide to add another language or more content at a later stage, it is possible to do so after installation as well.
Installation takes about 20 minutes depending on the size and complexity of the website. It takes a while because Neno creates copies of all your content for each language and that takes time as it is intensive database work that could slow down the server if not done in small increments. Thankfully there is a nice installation screen that shows the progress.
The Clincher: You can also Translate 3rd party Joomla Components
Because Neno Translate allows you to translate all database content and language files straight out of the box, any 3rd party component can be translated, even if it is one you created yourself.
To make things easier still, many popular third party components have been preconfigured to work with Neno and require no setting up aIl. If you are going to translate your own component or one of the less popular components found in the Joomla Extension Directory you will need to configure what should be translated manually.
To accomplish this Neno offers a user friendly configuration system called "Groups & Elements". Here you can configure exactly what tables and fields should be translated.
The options available are:
Set the translation method for a whole database table to one of the following
Manually translate it yourself
Send content to be machine translated
Send content to be professionally translated
Do not translate the content of the table at all
You can toggle individual fields to be translated or not translated
You can filter what rows should be translated depending on the content of certain fields
With these options you can configure your site, so for example, your whole forum is not translated, your blog is professionally translated, your blog comments are machine translated and the rest of your content is manually translated by yourself.
You can also set it so content have to fulfil a certain criteria (Neno calls this a filter) in order to be translated. In the example below, a real estate website has been setup to only translate content for properties worth more than $100,000.
If you chose to translate content yourself you can get assistance from machine translation API’s (so you have a starting point for each piece of content). This can greatly help speed up your manual translation work. Neno provides the option of using the three most popular machine translation tools: Bing, Google Translate and Yandex but you have to supply your own API key.
This is different from ordering machine translation which is where Neno allows you to automatically translate your whole site and new content the moment it is created using machine translation.
Get a Professional Translation of your Joomla website directly from Neno
If you’ve ever used Google Translate, or any other machine translator, you will have quickly determined its limitations. There is a use for them in translating less important content like users comments or forum posts for example and it can be a cost effective solution when used together with other translation methods. But any content that really matters is best translated by a real person who speaks the language fluently.
One of the unique features in Neno Translate is the ability to order professional translation from within the component. Neno offers the option of sending your content to be translated by professional translators for €0.10 a word. Content will automatically be sent to Neno’s translation partner network and sent back to your site when the translation is complete.
Translation is usually completed within a few hours, but can take a much as 7 days to complete for really large content sets.
The really cool part of this system is that you can set it up so that any new content is automatically sent to be professionally translated as it is created. It allows you to focus on creating great content in your main language, and automatically have that content translated and published in a few hours.
All the translators are native speakers of the target language. Neno works with some of the largest and most well known translation agencies in order to complete the professional translation requests and through them have access to a pool of thousands of professional translators.
It’s a good idea to keep in mind that even professional translators may be unfamiliar with your specific products or industry terms. To solve this problem, Neno includes a feature that lets you add notes to external translators.
One of Neno’s main features is unrivaled performance with no listing and browsing performance loss. Here is how they do it:
“The core Joomla! multilingual method uses a field called “lang” in the content table which means all versions of content is stored in the same table. This method creates inefficient queries and makes database optimization more difficult.
Other translation components have tried to solve this by putting all translations in one big separate table but that just moves the problem to another table. Neno solves the problem by creating one “shadow” table per language for each table that contains translatable content. These shadow tables can maintain the exact key and index optimisations as the original tables and thus there is no performance degradation.”
The User Interface
Neno’s translation interface is user friendly once you get your head around it. You can choose what content to translate using the preferences on the left of the screen.
The search box allows users to find a specific piece of content easily by simply searching for a title or copying an excerpt from the content into the search box. Dropdown menus are available to filter translation method, switch between content that has already been translated or has changed, and finally a select which groups and elements to translate.
The interface automatically loads content ready to be translated. The original content is shown on the left of the screen. You can now either type the translation yourself into the blank box on the right or if you are using a machine translator, simply click the “translate all” button. Once the translation is complete, clicking on the “Save all & Next” button automatically loads the next piece of content ready to be translated.
The interface has many useful features built in like Mirror scrolling that makes it easy to keep your place when translating and visual formatting of HTML & JSON which makes it easy to check that the HTML structure of the translated content matches the original.
Full Support & thorough documentation
You can find a FAQ page and detailed documentation by clicking on the “Help” tab on the Neno Translate Website. The documentation covers everything from installation and setup of Neno, information on pricing and payments for external translations, the code, and language pairs available for both professional and machine translations.
There is also a community forum that is free to use for all users and a contact page for contacting the Neno Translate customer support team. Full customer support with a ticket system is available to premium users.
No limitations on Supported Languages
The number of languages supported depends on what method you plan to use for translating your website. For manual translations all Joomla! languages are supported. For machine and professional translations it will depend on what source language you wish to translate from. For example if your source language is English then you will be able to translate into most other languages.
Full list of language pairs for professional and machine translation.
Neno is free and Open Source and is all you need to translate your web site manually, but it also offers the option of sending your content to be translated by professional translators for €0.10 a word. We have been told that this price is dropping in a few weeks, so maybe hold off on ordering professional translation for now.
Premium Membership is also available, priced at €99 per year. Premium membership entitles you to email support.
Neno Translate is a highly recommended Component that is packed full of features and functionality making it the perfect solution for anyone who is thinking about translating their Joomla website.