Introducing Multilingual Translation

Jake Peters Jake Peters on

I'm thrilled to announce that HelpDocs now has full support for multiple languages. πŸŽ‰

Now you can write your docs in as many languages as you can think of, and your visitors can choose the version they want.

Until now, making a multilingual knowledge base has been painful at best. The UX is incredibly tough to get right, and generally, it isn't right at all. That's if you've even found a provider that offers a multilingual knowledge base in the first place.

Now it's all changed. Write a master copy of your docs in your preferred language, then easily translate it into as many as you choose.

Why Support Multiple Languages?

At HelpDocs we have customers from around the world.

And our customers' customers are from even further afield.

In fact, this month HelpDocs-hosted knowledge bases will be viewed by people from dozens of countries, who speak dozens of different languages.

I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked about multiple language support. I didn't really understand the problem, to be honest, until I started looking into it more.

Turns out there wasn't a great solution.

Sure, there's some knowledge bases out there that allow multiple languages. But I tried them. And you wouldn't want to.

Because while they sound great, actually trying to translate docs into a different language is clunky and horrible. As soon as I tried it out, I knew why people were so passionate about finding a solution.

How We've Made Multilingual Knowledge Bases Great

We've learned from others' mistakes. Their UX problems. The clunky interfaces.

And we've built something awesome.

Enable multilingual support in the HelpDocs dashboard

When you log into your account, you'll find an option in Settings > General to enable multilingual support.

Once you've ticked that you can set a default language and as many secondaries as you like. The autocomplete will help you outβ€”there's a ton to choose from.

Then you'll see a dropdown on the navbar. You set your working language there.

Once you do that, everything changes. We've added a little grey label to everything that's localizable. It shows you exactly what'll change for each language.

In the Settings views that's things like nav bar items and internationalization strings.

Working with content in multiple languages is easy with HelpDocs

The Articles tab is where it gets really interesting. In your default language, nothing changes. When you switch your working language to a secondary, you'll see a label on everything that you still need to translate.

Once you've written a version for your new language, you can mark it as Translation Complete. We'll show it in the frontend knowledge base under the right language automatically.

How multilingual HelpDocs looks to your users

We've added a language dropdown to the knowledge bases too. Your users will easily be able to switch language at any time on the site.

Plus we handle all the redirects, and make everything super SEO-friendly as usual.

It's all incredibly intuitive. You have to check it out.

What's Next for Multilingual?

I think we have the best knowledge base for multiple languages around. But we're not stopping there.

We're already thinking of ways to make it better. In the short term, that means auto-detecting languages and displaying just the right pieces of content. We also have a little way to go to get feature parity between editing docs in your default language and in secondaries.

Longer-term, we're finding new ways to integrate the multilingual docs into the HelpDocs workflows you're already using. Like our Front plugin and Google Chrome Extension.

How to Check it Out

If you're an existing HelpDocs customer, or you're on a trial, I'd love to add the new multilingual feature to your account. Ping me an email or a live chat and I'll hook you up.

If not, you should sign up for a trial. I promise these are the multilingual docs you've been looking for.

I hope you enjoy using the new multilingual translation features as much as I enjoyed building them. πŸ™Œ




Jake Peters Cambridge, UK
Jake runs Product at HelpDocs. When he's not obsessing over customer feedback or hacking code, you'll find him in the nearest artisan coffee shop doing, err, probably more customer support.