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How to create a multilingual knowledge base for Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk)

How to create a multilingual knowledge base for Jira Service Management

This article was published in November 20 and last updated in November 21.

Confluence – Jira Service Management standard integration

Connecting Jira Service Management JSM (formerly Jira Service Desk) to a Confluence knowledge base has many advantages: If a user enters a search on the JSM portal or opens a new ticket and starts typing, articles from Confluence’s knowledge base will be presented. This self-service approach can reduce the number of tickets created. Atlassian has written an excellent article on how to set up a knowledge base

Note: This article is about Confluence/JSM for Server/Data Center. The approach for Cloud is slightly different (read at the very bottom).
We make the following assumptions about your configuration:

  • Your users have a login for both Confluence and Jira Service Management. ” *
  • You already have a knowledge base in Confluence. Its content is in English.

* If this is not the case for you, we have an overview of all combinations in our app documentation.

Accommodating international Jira Service Management users

If you use both Confluence and Jira Service Management, you should absolutely make use of this powerful integration. However, there is one important question to keep in mind: Are your users searching for help in JSM in one language only? 
Short answer: Hell, no! International companies know from experience that customers want to (and will) use Jira Service Management in multiple languages. Let’s say your data suggests that users are looking for content in English and German mainly. And why shouldn’t they? Since most companies’ websites are available in more than one language, users are right to assume they can use their preferred language in a support portal as well. Only this will give them a seamless experience.

Yes, you have the option to present Jira Service Management’s interface in English, German or other languages. But if your users start looking for help articles in German, what will happen? That depends on the structure of your knowledge base.

Workflow without Translations for Confluence

If no German translation exists, there are two outcomes:

  • a) The user might not find any answers at all. They are bound to create a ticket or contact support by phone.
  • b) If they are very smart and use a good English keyword, they will find the English documentation. This is a less-than pleasing experience.

If your knowledge base contains German translations as separate pages, what could happen is:

  • a) The user will be presented with exactly that page suggestion. Well done!
  • b) If they use a keyword that is used in the translations as well, say “ZIP”, at least two articles will be presented as search results: The German and the English one.

Wouldn’t it be great if only the language relevant for that user would be considered for search results? Well, using Translations for Confluence, this is possible!

The main difference to other solutions is that in our app, all translations of a page’s content are on one single page only. Depending on the user’s profile settings, only the language relevant to them will be displayed when they access a page. You can use this logic to create a multilingual experience in Jira Service Management.

How to create a multilingual knowledge base using Translations for Confluence

  1. Translate existing knowledge base articles in Confluence. You may want to stick to two languages for the beginning. In our example, it’s English and German. You may also want to start with the most relevant knowledge base articles.
  2. Important: Translate the page titles as well.
  3. Save your knowledge base article.
Adding content in two languages in the editor

We’ve created a blog post on how to create multilingual Confluence pages in more detail.

How to test the multilingual knowledge base in JSM

Now you can watch the fruits of your work in your newly multilingual Jira Service Management. Here’s how:

  1. In your user profile in Confluence, set your language as English.
  2. Access Jira Service Management with the same user.
  3. Enter a search string and click on the search result.
  4. The relevant knowledge base article is presented in English.
  5. Go back to Confluence and change your language settings to German.
  6. Enter the same search string in Jira Service Management.
  7. The knowledge base article is now presented in German.

Check the following pictures to see how this could look in practice.


Both Confluence and Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk) are powerful tools. Their knowledge base integration makes them even more versatile. However, it currently leaves users speaking a language different from the Confluence default out of the picture. As stated before, these users are entitled to look for content in their native language. 
Will you have to invest time and work to create a multilingual knowledge base in the first place? Certainly. 
Is it worth it? Absolutely. Providing international users with an intuitive workflow will not only decrease the number of new tickets created but also improve customer satisfaction.
In the long run, your knowledge base will also be much easier to maintain since all language versions are on the same page.

Translations for Confluence is the only server/data center app on the Atlassian Marketplace that allows for this fluid integration.

Approach for Cloud

Update: The app “Translations for Confluence” is available for Cloud since April 2021. These are the main differences to the description above:

  • It is technically not possible to translate page titles in Confluence Cloud. This means that the page titles will always be displayed in the same language, no matter the user’s profile setting. However, the page content will be displayed according to the user’s browser language.
  • Language settings can be changed in the Account Preferences of the user. These are valid for all Atlassian products. This means that you can change the language preferences either in Confluence or Jira/JSM. However, the language setting in the user account will not affect the language of the knowledge base article.

Ready to create a multilingual knowledge base connecting Confluence and Jira Service Management?