How to Install and Configure Multilingual sites in SharePoint MOSS 2007

Written By: Almoustapha Cisse -- 9/23/2010 -- join -- contribute -- (6251) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Configurations, Features, MOSS 2007, WSS3

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Corporations that have offices in diverse geographical areas might need to cater information to each country in its specific language. Traditional multilingual implementations rely on separate environments for each language. Consequently, there are challenges configuring and managing the following:

  • Language packs
  • Setting the default language based on the user
  • Site variations: Synchronizing sites' content across multiple environments.


Microsoft attempted to provide a solution with SharePoint 2007 multilingual site publishing.

Step 1: Install the Operating system's Language Packs

It is important to install the language specific files for the operating system, in this case Windows Server 2008:

Step 2: Install the WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 language packs on the Web Front End servers

French Language Install
Figure 1: French Language installation

Important: In contrary to what several blogs and white papers suggested by recommending the installation of the 'MOSS language pack only, it is important to install the language packs for both WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 and their respective service packs.

The first step in configuring a multilingual SharePoint environment is to install the language packs for each language on all Web Front End servers. If you installed SharePoint in just English and need to be able to publish in English and French, you are going to need to install the French language packs. Should you need to publish additional languages, you are going to need to install the language packs for those languages separately. The respective language ID is created in c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\template\

There is a specific language ID for each language.

Language Identifier
English 1033
French 1036
German 1031
Arabic 1025

Run the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard

Step 3: Create the top level site collection

It is important to use a publishing site in order to leverage variations in a multilingual environment.

Go to Central Administration > Application Management > Click Create Site Collection

Under Select a Template, click Publishing and select any of the publishing templates.

Step 4: Enable Site Variations

  • On the new top-level site, Go to Site Actions > Under Site Collection Administration, Click Variations
  • Under Location, enter a forward slash (/)
  • Review the settings and choose the desired options
  • Click OK

    variation settings
    Figure 2: Set Variation

Step 5: Configure Variation Labels

  • Create the "Root" label (English)
    • Go to Site Settings->Site Collection Administration
    • Click Variation Labels
    • On the 'Variation Labels' screen, click 'New Label' and create an English label
    • Remember to check Set this variation to be the source variation (see screenshot)

    Note: You may simply choose a Publishing Site or a Publishing Site with Workflow. Some people find the workflows annoying as SharePoint sends a notification at each variation event.

    • Click OK.

  • Create the French label
    • Go to Site Settings->Site Collection Administration
    • Click Variation Labels
    • On the 'Variation Labels' screen, click 'New Label' and create the French label (see screenshot)


Note: You may create more labels for additional languages providing you have installed their language packs.

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