From a technical point-of-view, one article in the www can be in different languages with different translations. Assuming for this question:

  • a welcome page, an info-page and a related-links-page exists in English and should be translated into Spanish.

The translator's story for translating the Welcome Page is:

  1. The translator logs-in.
  2. The translator chooses the English version of the welcome-page #1.
  3. The translator switches the language for the whole website to Spanish.
  4. The translator creates the Spanish version.
  5. The translator saves the Spanish version.
  6. The translator logs-out.

Unfortunately, the translator thinks in step 4 that he does not edit the Welcome page but thinks he edit the info-page instead so he writes the Spanish info-page instead.

The problem is now: The welcome page in English is the Spanish info-page! So, if any Spanish-user who is on holidays in the USA and visit an American Internet-Cafe is surfing on the English version of the welcome-page and switches to the Spanish translation of the welcome page, he will get presented the Spanish info-page.

How to automatically inform the translator that the article he is translating not matches the article of the different language?

  • 1
    Is this an app for translators? I'm completely confused.
    – Confused
    Jun 9, 2016 at 2:09
  • Hello completely confused, its a CMS with multilanguage support.
    – Grim
    Jun 9, 2016 at 5:42

2 Answers 2


The language switch issue could be solved by a whole number of ways to make the current language more obvious on both the switch and the save stage.

The problem of adding the wrong translation to the wrong page is less easy to solve. With your current system (translator sees empty page) I don't think you're going to be able to eliminate this problem altogether; humans are fallible and prone to making mistakes. You could reduce the amount of these mistakes by signalling the page name/title to the translator wherever possible: The moment they open the page, the start of the save process, popups over the page area that the translator must dismiss to start editing...

However, I think the best solution involves the process of managing and submitting translations.

Control the translations fed to any translator with job sheets that include a link to the correct page for that translation (for example: "Translation for Home Page - site.com/homepage") - This can be done with most project management systems (including free ones).

In any CMS there should also be an approval stage where a senior editor (who is not the translator) can approve or reject changes or even roll back to previous versions.

I have worked in places where the have an approval stage and a staging server where all changes are held for 2 hours for review before being pushed live enabling a further checkpoint.

You should be able to significantly reduce the change of these errors appearing live but, there are still possibilities of anyone clicking the wrong page and entering the wrong text.

  • If any unknown surfer enter the site just for fun, he has on the right upper corner a dropdown to select his language. I use exactly this dropdown for translators. Whenever the translator select a article and then switch the language he has a very blank page and a blinking cursor.
    – Grim
    Jun 9, 2016 at 7:16
  • Thanks for clarification @PeterRader - I'll edit my answer. Jun 9, 2016 at 8:30
  • Such an approval-stage exists for every single translation.
    – Grim
    Jun 9, 2016 at 9:01
  • I agree that the empty page is a problem.
    – Grim
    Jun 9, 2016 at 9:06

I had the idea of using the untranslated content in the new translation by default and force the translator to modify the untranslated.

This way the translator can not "Create" a translation of the article, he "Overwrite" the untranslated with his translation word by word.

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