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Exhibits Documentation A guide to building exhibits using Spotlight

Multilingual Exhibits

If you want to make your exhibit more accessible to speakers of languages other than English, you can use the Languages feature to create a multilingual exhibit. When you make your exhibit multilingual, exhibit viewers can use a locale menu in the top bar of the exhibit website to select an alternative language with which to view your exhibit. (For an example of a multilingual exhibit, check out the Stanford Libraries' exhibit Mario Paci: An Italian Maestro in China.) There are two steps to making your exhibit multilingual: first, choosing a language to add to your exhibit, and second, providing translations of your exhibit UI labels and content in that language.

Depending on the amount of content in your exhibit, providing translations for a language can require significant time and language expertise. However, you can work on adding translations over time; you don't have to make a language available to exhibit visitors until you have provided the level of translation you think is appropriate for your exhibit. If you do make a language available before all UI labels and content are translated, untranslated elements will simply show the original, English values.

The multilingual exhibit feature currently does not include a provision for translation of metadata values or of the Administration UI elements.

Understanding multilingual strategy options

Using the Languages configuration page to add a language to your exhibit is the first step but is not sufficient to make your exhibit fully multilingual. If you want to make your exhibit more accessible in languages other than English, there are several possible approaches you can take, which vary based on the language you want to add and the amount of translation effort you can devote.

Translating UI elements

The simplest approach you can take is to enable exhibit viewers to see, after they switch to a language in the languages menu, most of the standard UI elements in that language. Standard UI elements are elements such as Search... label in the search box, the Limit your search heading above the facet sidebar on the search results (and possibly home) page, and the previous and next labels shown on the results page. These are elements that are displayed identically on every exhibit site and cannot be changed; they are part of the general exhibit site structure and not specific to your exhibit.

Translations of the standard UI elements are currently provided for a handful of languages. If you add one of the following supported languages, the standard UI elements will be translated without any additional effort on your part:

  • German [de]
  • Spanish [es]
  • French [fr]
  • Hungarian [hu]
  • Italian [it]
  • Dutch [nl]
  • Portuguese (Brazil) [pt-br]
  • Albanian [sq]Chinese [zh]

If you want to add a language not on that list, see the section Adding an Unsupported Language below.

Note that there are a small number of additional UI elements that are standard across exhibits, such as the Feedback link at the top right of each exhibit site, that currently have translations only in Chinese and Italian. If you are adding a supported language other than Chinese or Italian and want these additional UI elements translated, the Spotlight at Stanford service team can work with you to make this happen. See the section Adding an Unsupported Language for next steps.

Translating exhibit-specific UI elements

In addition to the UI elements that are common to every exhibit, there are a range of UI elements that are specific to your exhibit. An obvious example is the title of your exhibit. Other exhibit-specific UI elements include:

  • Main menu labels
  • Metadata field labels
  • Search-related labels, including facet labels
  • Browse category titles and descriptions

You can provide translations for these elements directly from your exhibit's administration section. See the Curation > Translations page for the forms that enable you to enter translations for each language you have added to your exhibit.

Translating curated page content

While translated UI elements and labels are helpful for exhibit visitors who want to navigate your exhibit in a language other than English, perhaps the most important aspect of most exhibits is the curated page content, such as the headings and text that make up the home, about, and feature pages. You can offer your exhibit in another language with only the UI elements translated, or the UI elements and exhibit-specific labels translated, but it'll only be a completely multilingual exhibit if you also translate the curated content.

You create the original page content in your exhibit by editing a page and using different types of widgets to add headings, text, and images. Creating translated page content works the same way. When you are ready to create a translated version of an existing feature or about page, you first make a copy of that page using the Curation > Translations > Pages tab. That language-specific page will be displayed when the exhibit visitor is viewing your exhibit in the translated language. This page, of course, is in English until you provide the translations. To do this, you edit the language-specific version of the page and, using the same widget-based interface you used to create the original page, replace the English text in the page widgets with your translated text.

You can choose to publish translated pages independently of their English equivalents, which means you can make a translated language available to exhibit visitors with a different set of feature and about page than the English version of the exhibit. You can also add, delete, and edit the widgets of a translated page independently from the original English page it is based on, so the English and translated version of a given page can be structured differently and contain different amounts of information.

Adding an unsupported language

To add a language to your exhibit that is not on the list of supported languages above, you will need to work with the Project Surfliner Starlight team. Generally speaking, adding a new, currently unsupported language will entail finding someone who is fluent in the language you want to add and is willing to spend the time to understand the context of the required translations, provide translations, and verify the translations in context. Ideally, this translator will spend up to a few hours working directly with a Project Surfliner Starlight developer on the process.

To discuss getting started on adding a new language, or ensuring all UI elements are translated in a supported language, contact the Project Surfliner Team.