Multilingual CMS: How to Choose the Best Content Management System

14 mins read

Content management system translation with Crowdin

Expand your business into new countries by localizing your website and product content into several languages. Make sure to optimize localized content for search engines in your target locales.

This move toward multilingual content also opens up new opportunities and strengthens relationships between businesses and customers. As the web development industry has moved toward supporting more languages, content management systems (CMS) should be ready to handle localization.

In this article, we’ll look at choosing the best CMS and localization apps for CMS that have features for translating content and publishing pages into more than one language. But before we get there, let’s discuss multilingual content management and why you need a CMS.

Why You Need a Content Management System

If you have decided that going global is the next logical step for your company, you will need a CMS that can handle content written in more than one language.

What Is a CMS?

A Content Management System lets users edit, update, and publish web pages without coding. CMS can be self-hosted or based in the cloud. Also, there’s a distinction between a traditional and headless CMS.

Only some CMSs are ready to work with multilingual content. Some tools can make it hard to maintain multilingual versions of your website. A CMS ready for localization won’t make you copy-paste texts or see that a page is missing a few translations only when it’s already live.

What is a headless CMS?

It’s still the same CMS, the main difference is that it comes only with a backend so you can use any frontend of your choice. This way, it’s more flexible and customizable, but it will require some help from developers to set up.

What is the Best Content Management System (CMS) for a Multilingual Website?

There are more than 300 CMS tools on the market. Some are very niche like a CMS for a beauty salon and others have multiple use cases and can be highly customized.

According to one of the latest studies that researched 211 CMSs the five most popular are:

  • WordPress-78.6% of all CMS used worldwide.
  • Joomla – 6.8%.
  • Drupal – 4.3%
  • Wix – 2.4%
  • Squarespace –1.9%

Five most popular CMSs

Also, the CMSs are not in the list above, but I can recommend integrations with Hygraph, Magento, and Webflow. Why?

  • Hygraph is flexible for developers as a headless CMS, and there is an option for a preview for content managers. It is a combination of two types of CMS.
  • Magento is a powerful, open-source eCommerce platform that allows businesses to easily build and manage content for online stores.
  • Webflow is used by more than 3,500,000 designers and teams to create, collaborate on, and scale beautiful websites in a completely visual canvas — no coding needed.

And many other CMSs are on the market. But how do you decide which one to choose? The answer is to work with a developer with experience with the CMS you choose to see if they can make it fit your needs.

Crowdin integrates with 50+ CMS tools.

How to Choose the Best CMS

There are thousands of content management systems on the market, and each one has its own strengths that depend on your business goals and use cases. Here are a few things to consider to help you choose the best CMS for your multilingual needs.

Handle different languages well

You should be able to manage your content well in different languages with the help of a multilingual content management system. If you run your website from Canada and it’s in English, but many of your visitors are from France, your CMS must be able to handle all aspects of French, like the character set or how it’s formatted. It should help you do a perfect job of translating the website.

Keeping the structure of a global website

One of the hardest things about running a global website is ensuring the navigation and content are the same in all languages and formats.

Your content management system (CMS) must have an architecture that lets you keep the same user experience for people from different parts of the world who speak different languages. Each version of your website should be handled separately.

Ability to adapt to different places

When making your website and choosing a CMS, it’s best to think about how you want to grow and what languages are supported. One surprise could be when the direction of the language is changed from LTR to RTL, and it suddenly doesn’t work. Your Content Management System (CMS) should also be able to deal with this two-way problem.

Dates and times are written in different ways in different parts of the world, and your website should be able to handle all of them. Many CMSs don’t have this feature, even though they can manage content in more than one language. Before making a choice, you need to be sure of this.

Content Automation Updates

People sometimes use a translation management system (TMS), like Crowdin, when they have a lot of content to deal with. A TMS makes it possible to handle every part of the translation process. It makes it easier to translate texts into new languages and keep translations that are already in use up to date.

Benefits of Multilingual Content Management

In 2023, 5 billion people were using the internet worldwide. In other words, your market is overgrowing, and you have more chances to meet new customers. Here are some of the best reasons you might need multilingual content management.

Build loyalty and trust

Customers must trust you before buying your product or service. And to get them to trust you, you have to get to know them, talk to them in a way that makes them feel more “at home,” and connect with them personally and emotionally. It’s important to connect emotionally with your clients. Even more, a Harvard study says that it is not just a science but also a strategy. One that pays off in a big way over time.

Competitive edge

In English-speaking countries, markets are getting too full, and there is a lot of competition. Getting into markets when they are just starting up in other parts of the world gives you a significant advantage over your competitors. Getting your content published in more than one language can help you reach new markets and fill needs you didn’t even know existed.

But does your website, which you know will be a significant part of your company’s success, speak to the world? Knowing which multilingual content management system (CMS) best serves your needs can come in handy when converting your site into multiple languages. When deciding on a multilingual content management system (CMS), there are several factors to consider.

Better conversions and adoption

Localization doesn’t happen in a vacuum. it’s an important part of a brand’s plan to go into new markets and take over them. Localization can use Business Development Metrics to support and improve the company’s internationalization strategy.

In each market, how much does the company make? What languages or places are getting more popular or less popular? Should that be factored into your localization budget or strategy, or could it be a sign that there might be a problem with the localized content?

How much is a new client or geographic market worth, and does that change to justify the cost of adding a new language or variant for localization? A dynamic localization strategy that is closely tied to business development metrics lets you scale up or down localization based on what the market really needs and what the company’s business priorities are. Read more about multilingual marketing strategies for your business.

Improved customer retention metrics

Accuracy, style, and language fluency are essential, but only if your customers can understand what you are saying. Localization User Experience Metrics show how well-localized content connects with customers in different markets and locations.

Make your metrics for the parts of the localization user experience most important to you and your brand. Ask your customers if they think your brand sounds natural in their language and if the localization is proper. What do they want to get better at?

For example, a simple multilingual survey done a few times a year can tell you a lot about how localized content is used in different markets and help you make the right changes where needed.

How to Speed Up Your Multilingual Content Management?

Using a localization platform like Crowdin may significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of handling multilingual material and keeping translation project processes in order, saving time.

For instance, there is a significant possibility for a mistake if a translator without coding knowledge attempts to directly translate program files (such as XML, JSON, etc.) by changing code that includes language tags. They may wreak havoc on the code’s structure, causing the application to malfunction and giving developers more work to do to fix it. It will only take forgetting one symbol in the code to cease working entirely, requiring further effort to rectify.

Localize Your CMS Content with the Help of Crowdin Integrations

It’s easy to translate the content of your Hygraph. Set up integration once, define your localization workflow, and manage translations in less time.

Hygraph is a headless content management system for digital creators and digital products that is built on the GraphQL language.

Advantages you get

  • All fields that can be translated.
  • Content is matched manually before and after translation.
  • Content from the source and translations are kept in sync.
  • WYSIWYG previews of files for translators.
  • Even small changes, like a new sentence or a changed word, can be synced and translated quickly.

Hygraph connector overview

Find out how easy it is to localize Hygraph with Crowdin.

  1. Go to the store to see the Hygraph page on Crowdin Marketplace.

  2. Click Install to get your content translated.

Watch our video with a Hygraph connector overview:

Setting up the Hygraph connector

After you’ve set up the app, you can find it in the Integrations section of your project.

To connect your Hygraph account, just follow the steps on the screen.

connect Hygraph account

More instructions read here.

Ask a professional how to localize Hygraph with Crowdin.

Easy content management translation with Crowdin

Moreover, a TMS may help with using a translation memory (TM) tool that keeps track of terms that have already been translated. The previously suggested translation will be shown if such words or phrases reappear. The localizer would still need to double-check them, but the time and money saved would be substantial.

Another technique that helps you to have your translations done faster is machine translation (MT). You can translate urgent information quickly and easily, with or without a translator, if you include this in your translation process.

Putting the Pieces Together

While early internet use was mainly in English, technological advancements and the rise of AI have provided companies footing for expanding their reach to speakers of any language.

As there are now more than a billion websites online, competition for visitors’ attention may be fierce, making it more challenging to sustain sales. Having your material translated into many languages puts you ahead of the curve and increases your chances of connecting with a broader audience.

Discover how easy it is to manage content in several languages.

Try Crowdin.
Julia Herasymchuk

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