Drupal 7's new multilingual systems (part 6) - Blocks and the introduction of textgroups

With the basics of node and site settings translation behind us, we are getting to the more complex parts, at least in terms of the user interfaces involved. While with node translation you get a tab on each node to translate it (regardless of setting up translation sets or using translatable fields), and with settings translation, you get quick jump links, the subsystems that work with textgroups will require a better understanding of how the Drupal systems relate.

Three ways to think about language support

When people want to have language support for their site, they typically think of one of three things:

  1. Being able to mark an object as in one language. With node translation this was achieved by language enabling nodes.
  2. Being able to mark an object as in one language and relate it to others as being a translation set. For nodes, this is supported by Drupal core's content translation module.
  3. Finally, being able to translate pieces of the object that need translation and leave the rest alone. Load the right language variant of the object dynamically as needed. In the case of nodes, this is achieved with the contributed entity_translation module (formerly translation.module).

The first case is great when you don't need to translate the object, the second is great when you need to use translations in different contexts (for nodes, you can maintain a separate comment set, put in different menus, etc). The last is great when you want to maintain the object the same way regardless of language. This might be great for an e-commerce site. Read part 4 of my blog post series for exact details for nodes.

Applying this to blocks, the i18n module provides functionality (1) and (3), but not (2) at this point. Translation set support is being implemented for various objects (menus, paths, etc. are already covered by i18n), but not blocks yet. (1) is very simple to use, but (3) will be a real pain if you don't read this blog post...

Drupal 7's new multilingual systems (part 5) - Site settings

In the previous part of this series, we talked in detail about translations for nodes. For this next piece, I've promised to cover site settings and layout (blocks and friends). As the multilingual landscape progressed (Jose Reyero released the first beta version of the Internationalization module for Drupal 7!), I decided to dedicate this piece to site settings only. That sounds pretty basic and boring, but we have some good news and improvements here that developers should hear too! Read on for more information on how this crucial piece of the puzzle looks like in Drupal 7.

Drupal 7's new multilingual systems (part 4) - Node translation

In the second part of my article series, before we got on a developer detour, we discussed that Drupal's software interface translation can be pre-provided and collaborated on by the community, but this time we turn to your own content. What's considered content on a Drupal site? Well, in a broad sense, anything that you enter beyond the software user interface translation. For this article, we will limit our discussion to nodes only, and move on to the rest of the structure and page building elements in later pieces.

Drupal 7's new multilingual systems (part 3) - localization and language APIs

As promised at the end of the previous piece of my Drupal 7 multilingual post series, this part is turning to developers to spread some awareness of new features and possibilities in Drupal 7. We've talked about context support and new language selection features, and I'd like to share some tips with you to use them right. I'd also like to share an updated version of my Drupal 6 localization cheat sheet as well as its appropriate version for Drupal 7 with you and look at how can you hook into the heart of the language system.

Drupal 7's new multilingual systems (part 2) - Community interface translation

The previous piece in my series covered the basic language features in Drupal 7, including setting up which languages are available. Merely adding a language to your site will not make Drupal do much though. The site "in that language" will still look entirely English. The reason for this is that Drupal works with English as the default interface language and will fall back on that each time you have no translation for something. Until you provide Drupal with translations, it will still be entirely English. While weaved into my Drupal 7 multilingual series, changes explained herein affect Drupal users on all Drupal versions. Let's see how obtaining and working with translations changed not so recently and how can you get most out of that on Drupal 7!