Smartling Translation plugin

Created: 28 Nov 2018, last update: 22 May 2019

Smartling Translation plugin for Sitecore

This article is about translations, especially with the Smartling plugin. It is about what a Sitecore developer need to know.

Smartling is a translation management platform to localize your content and has a plugin for Sitecore. Like many other translation solutions for Sitecore, Smartling is not a translation company. However, it offers you a platform where the translator can do their job. So you have the freedom to work with any translation agency you want or use freelancers or own employees.

The installation
Smartling needs a SQL database and you need to install a Sitecore package and add some configuration. The Smartling webapp, translation management system, dashboard is a SaaS service hosted by Smartling.

In Context preview
With Smartling you can give the translator a visual context where they can see if a text fit. The way how this work is from technical view very interesting. There a multiple ways to get the context in Smartling.

1) The first one is a browser plugin for Google Chrome, There is no need for a developer to do anything for that. It works very simple, just go to the webpage with the text you want to translate and push the button and submit to the Smartling project where the translation belongs to.

2) Place a JavaScript on every page to submit to Smartling when the page is visited, For example, you can only add the JavaScript script to a staging environment. Personally, I find this less pleasant work, cors setting, project code administration when you have multiple projects, possibility this script is accidentally active on production live environment. So here is some work for the Development, DevOps to make it work.

3) The Context Crawler
In the Smartling web app, there is a Context Crawler section. This feature can capture context from your website. With as input the domain (https only).

The tool will crawl the site and submit every visited page as context to the current project.

There is a limit of 1000 pages per crawl. But you can do multiple crawls and change the start point. No development work for this option. It works for pages the crawler can find, so some pages for example behind a form submit are not included.

Find the context
When submitting the Html, the Context Smartling does not know which Sitecore Fields are in the HTML. Smartling look at the Text strings in the HTML and match this with the submitted Fields for translation. This means if you have for Example a headless JSS website where the frontend runs on a node server and the URL structure is not the same as the item structure in Sitecore and on the Layout are datasources from everywhere placed. Smartling is still able to find the right context.

Outside Sitecore and Inside Smartling you can configure a Translation Workflow. After the Smartling workflow is run through the Sitecore item is put back in Sitecore. You can configure a Sitecore Workflow state, which the item gets when the translation is finished. You can configure multiple workflow state and Smartling takes the one associated with the target. That is very useful if you work with multiple Sitecore workflows

A Smartling project
Inside Smartling you have projects and in Sitecore you have Smartling profiles here you map a Smartling project to a location in the Sitecore tree. A project have one source language and one of more target languages. If you have a lot of source languages, language from where you want to translate, you need a lot of project this is not handy.

How does it look in Sitecore
You get an extra tab in the Sitecore top menu, with a Translate button, note if you have many target languages, it looks not very great see the image one with only 1 target and an example of 24 target languages.

There is also a Smartling Translation Progress page, there you can see the status, In progress, Complete, and there is a Download button to get the translated content back in Sitecore.

How Smartling looks for Translators (outside Sitecore)
This Smartling CAT Tool Training YouTube video gives a good idea of how it works and looks like.


Smartling offers great support, you can have (video) calls, email also they can configure the Smartling part. the Works great useful if you look for a tool to work without a specific translation company. In addition, Clay Tablet has a plugin for Sitecore and freedom to choose a translation partner. Opposite there are also translation agencies with a plugin for Example / GlobalLink you may remember them as sponsor SUGCON 2018.