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Managing multilingual websites - an example of good practice

On 30 March 2017, three agencies - the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)  and the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT) - received the European Ombudsman Award for Good Administration in the category of Excellence in citizen/customer focused services delivery for a jointly developed innovative project to facilitate the translation management of multilingual websites.

Multilingualism is a fundamental principle of the European Union, which guarantees the equality of each language and respect for linguistic and cultural diversity. Translation is the bridge between nations and between European agencies and the EU citizens they serve.

However, managing a multilingual website in over 25 languages is challenging and there is no getting away from the fact that maintenance and cost are real issues. Rising to that challenge, web, communication and language technology teams at three EU agencies have collaborated in an innovative project that makes the running of multilingual websites a lot more manageable.

The resulting translation management tool is fully integrated with the CdT’s operational systems and tools, and allows for a streamlined and controlled translation process, from the selection of the content to the revision and approval of its translation. The agencies can better control the status and costs of translations and it has been demonstrated that even small agencies can successfully run multilingual websites facilitating communication across the EU.

This software has been published as open source for Drupal, so it is accessible to any individual or company who wants to run a multilingual website, with some adaptation.

Multilingualism is fundamental for the European Union and one of EU-OSHA’s main drivers as a recognised leader in promoting safe and healthy workplaces in Europe.