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Tips on using SharePoint in a multilingual environment

PointFire 365 v2.0 is released

Nearly 3 years ago, we put together a roadmap for what we wanted to see in a SharePoint Online version of PointFire.  Today, we deliver the last of the features on that original roadmap.

At the time of the original roadmap, several of the features were technically impossible.  Today, some of the features are still impossible, but we implemented them anyway.  The software changes the time zone over and over until it time travels to when Microsoft supports these functions.

As SharePoint Online expanded its programmability, more and more became possible, and after a few false starts and several months of beta testing, version 1.0 came out over a year ago.  It was only the major features and some were slow or limited, but it found several takers.  Versions 1.1 and 1.2 covered more and more ground.


Version 2.0 has several major new features.  One of them is the instant language toggle.  This is one of the impossible features.  It is not possible to change your language quickly, it should take a few minutes for the language change to take effect. But PointFire has a little spinner animation that implants a hypnotic suggestion that the language has already changed.  It won't work if you don't stare at the spinner animation but no one can help it.

Another feature is a rich set of PowerShell scripts to provision and manage PointFire features.  PointFire is an enterprise solution, and entreprise solutions need this.

The big new feature is translation of the user interface.  It's as simple as 1, 2, 3.

1) Scour the site for translatable text elements and puts them into the Multilingual Translations list
2) Machine translate the text to all the site's languages.  In addition to machine translation it also looks up built-in translations and translations coming from the top level site's translations list.  You can check the translations list before and after the machine translation.
3) Apply those translations to the interface

UI translation covers the following elements

  • Site names and descriptions
  • List/Library/Calendar names and descriptions
  • View names
  • Column names and descriptions
  • Content type names and descriptions
  • Most types of navigation
  • Custom Actions
  • Selected webpart names
All this in addition to the existing features, webpart visibility by language, filtering of lists, libraries, and calendars by language, language filtering of content search webparts, and machine translation for documents, list items, pages, and events, including translation of all text, richtext, and html metadata.

Coming up in the next few weeks: PowerShell scriptable machine translation.  This uses the new neural translation engine, which is much better than the previous machine translation engines, and in addition to text, html pages, and Word documents, it handles PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Also in the pipeline, version 2.1 is coming in a few weeks will have support for modern lists, libraries, and pages, including the new Communication sites.  Stay tuned!


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