We again have the situation to let the user enter a text in multiple languages and thinking about how such a control should work.


A web-admin plans a maintenance window for its site. On the maintenance window detail page he enter start and a end-time. Then he needs to fill in (or choose) a text message shown to visitors of the site during the maintenance window. This text needs to be in more then one language (actually 4 number of supported languages may increase in the future). How should that message text-box be shown / work best?


We discovered two models used:

1) If many fields need to be entered per language there often is a drop-down or something like this to switch the language of the current input-form so one can fill the entire form in one language, then switch the language and fill in the next language specific texts.

2) If there is only one field that is multi-language enabled it is rendered multiple times. For example: if four languages are supported the message text-box is rendered for times and each is labeled with the language it represents.

In our case we have situation two: just one field that needs to be filled for N languages. The rest of the data is the same for all languages.


Is there a better way to do something like this then 2) ? Any ideas?

Update: Just imagined a third option: having a language dropdown on the left and the text-box it language it switches on the right of it. So kind of doing option one but only locally for the one multi-language textbox. But for me its also not the "wohoo" killer option.

Update #2: My colleague does it like this: place the text with a summary/preview text-box (in our case we can save the texts as templates so it shows its ID). Next to the text-box he placed a small "..." button. Clicking this button opens up a screen showing a label/text-box combination per language one can fill. Accept that screen finally goes back to the previous screen with the summary/preview text-box updated. This option is also not bad but not the killer either.

1 Answer 1


I don't like too much the second option, because in my opinion, we should use one text box per specific thing, but not one text box for each language and imagine what will happens when you will have more languages ? It will take a lot of space !

I recommend you to use something more like the first option (EDIT : for example putting a drop down menu next to the text field).

EDIT : One other solution might be to add a little button/icon to translate the text field, clicking on it would open a box containing several text fields for the other languages, or one drop down menu to select the languages.

BTW, you could pre-translate with an automatic translation tool the text, that would be easier for the admin.

  • Option 1 in my opinion is ok when one have more then one multi-language-field on the screen. But if only one textbox is multi-language do a screen-switch is kind of over-sized I would say.
    – Marc
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:50
  • I personally prefer one drop down menu instead of loads of text fields for the same thing... but that's just my opinion ;) Feb 26, 2014 at 14:52
  • Are you talking about something like I described in my update?
    – Marc
    Feb 26, 2014 at 14:54
  • 1
    @Marc yes this is exactly what I meant ! I also had an other idea that I mention in the update of my post. Feb 26, 2014 at 14:58
  • But I still think that the way you mentioned in your update is one of the best. Feb 26, 2014 at 15:00

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