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Use Confluence in multiple languages

Managing multiple languages in Confluence – the old way

While Confluence is an invaluable tool for countless editors, there is a recurring issue for international companies: How do you manage multiple languages in Confluence? The most frequent workaround we have seen customers use: Editors create various page trees in the same space, one for English content, one for German, French, Spanish, etc. These pages can then be linked. The downside of this approach, other than the manual work for the editors:

  • Consistency issues: There is no easy way to make sure the content remains consistent – if the original content changes, how to make sure the translations spread throughout Confluence are updated as well?
  • Unusable page tree: The page tree is clogged with a multitude of pages, making it harder to browse.
  • Unsatisfactory search results: With many pages listing the same keywords in their content, all language versions are indexed in Confluence search, and it’s hard finding the relevant version.

Managing multiple languages using translations for Confluence

The app Translations for Confluence by bitvoodoo ag (available for DC, Server and Cloud) tackles all of these obstacles. Our approach is different: The multilingual content is created and updated on a single Confluence page (or blog post, for that matter). When users access the page, only the language version that is relevant to them will be displayed. How is this possible?

The key to this solution is working with language macros. These are simple macros bearing the name of the language, e.g. German, French, English, etc. Each language macro can enclose any content and any amount of other macros. The editor is entirely free to choose which language macros to use on any page.

Language macros in the Confluence editor

Which language is displayed to whom?

The language displayed depends on several settings:

  • As an administrator, you can set the language Confluence is displayed in (general configuration).
  • Mostly, it’s advisable to let each Confluence user decide for themselves. They can pick their language setting in their user profile. Their choice will override the general language setting. As a result of their choice, the users will see the page content only in the language they selected.
  • If users still want to see another language, they can do so by using the language drop-down menu. That menu automatically appears on all pages carrying at least one language macro.
Language drop-down to switch languages

What about the page title?

Page titles on DC/Server

With version 5, we provide the ability to translate page titles right from the Confluence editor. You can enter the page title’s translations as separate fields in the “Translate title” interface. After that, you can go straight back to your page content, do final revisions, then publish your page.

“Translate title” interface within Confluence editor

The translated pages will affect your Confluence experience in many ways. They will be displayed in the page tree, the breadcrumb and on the dashboard, to name but a few locations.

German query – German search results

But most importantly, the page titles are indexed and used by Confluence search as well. The user can simply start typing the title in their preferred language and will see those search results only.

A fully translated page tree

Page titles on Cloud

Unfortunately, page titles cannot be translated on Confluence Cloud. However, the language macros themselves have the same functionality as on DC/Server. This means the following:

  • The page title will remain the same no matter which language setting is chosen.
  • The content language of the page is adapted to the user’s settings. It can also be changed using the language drop-down.

If you are a Jira Service Management user, you will be interested to read this blog post: Create a multilingual knowledge base for JSM.


In a nutshell – what you gain by using Translations for Confluence

  • One page per topic only – no need to cross-reference different language versions.
  • Clean and clear page tree, displayed in the language of choice.
  • Efficient search – all language versions are indexed and lead to one single page.
  • Flexibility – you decide which pages need to be translated. There is no rigid workflow dictated by the app.

Ready to start creating your multilingual Confluence on DC/Server or Cloud?