Translate articles, publications and author's profiles

Drupal is no multilingual machine translation service such as Google Translate. Yet, the translation function is very helpful and timesaving. See how it works!

"Hello" in Chinese and English


1 Creating the article in the original language
2 Creating the translation
3 Working on text translation
4 Checking the structures
5 Creating authors' nodes
6 Translating products

The translation function in Drupal helps editors of multilingual websites to easily create articles, landingpages, sidebars, products (publications) and person nodes (authors' profiles) in more than one language. When translated, the original and its translation(s) will belong together, so that users can simply switch from one to the other by clicking on the language switcher on top and will be shown the same contents, though in different language versions. To learn how this works, cross-check with our examples on

Read this How-To to learn how translations work for landingpages.

This is about how to do it for articles:

1 Creating the article in the original language

Create the article as described in How to create an article. Make sure that everything needed is in, especially images, linked text, maybe video and/or audio and that it has been well haven-ed and categorized.

Imagine, that this article has been created in English first and is to be translated into German. The English version has a title, teaser image and teaser and has been well annotated and assigned to haven and categories:

Save your article.

2 Creating the translation

When you have saved, click on Translate in the blue link line on top of the article:

Alternatively, you can activate the translation function by clicking on the Translate-button on the top right of your Edit-Article-form:

You will be taken to an overview of existing translations. As you see, there is no German translation version yet. That's why click on Add translation for the German language version.

If you have already created a German article but haven't assigned it as translation belonging to the respective English version, you can select it by typing in its title into the autosearch-line under the translations-table.After having clicked on Update translations, you will be taken to an Edit-article form. It already shows Sprache Deutsch on top thus indicating that you are now editing the German version of the article. You will happily notice that all the contents is already in. Images, video/audio, related content, links, but also havens and categories have been cloned. No need to re-upload images or license information - simply start overwriting the English text by its German translation:

3 Working on text translation

As mentioned above, the text doesn't translate itself automatically. So you will have to enter text translations for the teaser and body text. Please also translate image annotations such as captions, title and alternate text. When it comes to links and if the link destinations remain the same, just override the link text so that the Link-URLs will be maintained.

Please be careful when copying text from Word. Better use a text editor such as Notepad (in Windows) to copy text from. Otherwise the unwanted Word-formatting could be transferred.

4 Checking the structures

Now your article translation already looks quite fine. However, there is still something to do:

As text and images, the haven-information and categories have been carried over from the original language version, too. If your language versions have an identical menu-structure (which is true for and many of the international offices' websites), there will be no need to re-categorize or re-haven your article. It will be shown with the same menu-item highlighted on top (determined by the haven-category) and will come along with the same categories on the right. In our example article "Green Living" was chosen has haven category (Note: on this field is called "haven topic"). This corresponds with the German "Ökologisch leben". "Ecology" and "Green living" were chosen as categories (called "Topics" on and correspond with the German Themen "Ökologie" und "Ökologisch leben":

If the structures of your language versions differ, you will of course have to re-haven and re-categorize your article according to the existing taxonomy.

In our example above, you can see that tags (Schlagworte) are provided in German only here. Tags are language sensitive, which means that they have to be created separately for each language. In our example, no corresponding English tags were created and assigned to the article.

5 Creating authors' nodes

Our example article was written by two authors:

Attention: In contrast to person nodes on the websites of the international offices are strictly language sensitive. That means, that (technically) German-created authors will be shown on German pages only and (technically) English-created authors will be shown on English pages only. This holds true for all other languages as well.

However, aside from technical restrictions, you may want to provide information about an author in different languages anyway. That's why author's profiles can be easily translated as well. It works similarly as for the articles:

  1. Create the person node (author's profile) in the original language. Add all the necessary information and upload a photo.
  2. Save.
  3. Click on Translate and replace the text in the original language by its translation.
  4. Save.

Here is what the translation overview looks like if there are translated nodes. The example is taken from the Warsaw website:

When you now select the author in the autosearch field of your edit-article form, you will be shown the author's name in any of the existing languages and can pick the correct one:

6 Translating products

You may also want to add translations for products on your website. This is the case when you want to announce a publication in different language versions. Please note that all information provided about the translation of articles here can be adapted for publications as well.