RapidWeaver FAQ - Multilingual websites


I would like to have a website in multiple languages (multilingual or plurilingual). How can I do that? What about embedding a translate this page widget?

Chapter 1: Personal note about internet translating tools
Chapter 2: How to offer a website in multiple languages
Chapter 3: Adding a "Translate this page" widget to your website

Chapter 1: Personal note about internet translating tools

Please don’t use internet translating tools to translate the whole content of a website. They aren’t accurate! I myself speak Italian, German, English and French (in order from best to less good). Browsing through the internet I sometimes read awfully translated stuff which makes no sense at all because comes straight from translation tools. So please translate it yourself or ask someone to translate it for you.

Chapter 2: How to offer a website in multiple languages

This is what I find to be the best solution to have a multilingual website…

1) Build the website in your main language
2) Once you've built the website in one language duplicate your website's RapidWeaver project file for you to have a project file for each of the languages you to offer your website in. This way you will have all the files of a language together and once you publish it each language will have its own menu.
3) Rename the project files for you to know which project file contains which language. For my RapidWeaverFAQ.org website I have three projects

(for the English version)
(for the German version)
RW FAQ ita
(for the Italian version)

4) Translate page after page into the appropriate language and you will end up with the same website in multiple languages
5) To me the best way to have a website in multiple languages is to have a separate folder for each language on your server. My RapidWeaverFAQ.org website has

(for the English version)
http://rapidweaverfaq.org/de/ (for the German version)
(for the Italian version)

This is done by going to Page Info and specifying the Folder. Also remember to translate the Pagename and the Filename. To add a Folder to all the pages in the project at once go to Page Info, type the Folder's name on one page, click on Apply To All Pages…, Turn all off, select Folder then hit Apply. Remember that the URL of a page is defined by


6) Link the different languages to each other for people to know what languages you offer. I would recommend you to add a link on each of your pages. This way no matter what page your users are on they can switch language.

Either add a link to the same page in the other language (if you have a lot of pages that's a lot of work) or simply add a link to the other language's main page from where people will start browsing the site in their preferred language (the link is the same for all the pages hence less work).

As a link you can either use text or an image of the language's flag. Just have it pointing to http://yourdomain.com/Folder/

As an example on each page of my RapidWeaverFAQ.org website you find a United Kingdom (English), Italy (Italian) and Germany (German) flag in the right-handed sidebar. If you click on them you will get redirected to the main page of appropriate version of my website. I use the HTML Sidebar and apply it to all the pages so I found that to be the best way for me.

7) That's it. You now have a website presented in multiple languages.

Chapter 3: Adding a “Translate this page” widget to your website

There are a lot of services providing translation tools on the web. BabelFish is just one of them but it was one of the biggest some time ago. I personally don’t think it is good. To me it’s quite hard to understand an english text which was translated to italian with BabelFish. To me the best is the Google widget.

The good thing about a translate this page widget is that you're not responsible for the output people get. Whereas if you just copy and paste the output and put it on your site you are responsible and if it's hard to understand it's no good for your reputation.

How this is done is described in my
RapidWeaverFAQ.org E-Book (sample)

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