Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative

The Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative (D8MI for short) is one of many officially recognized Drupal 8 initiatives to move Drupal 8 forward in key areas. While Drupal already has a powerful multilingual toolset, building a comprehensive multilingual website with all modules and settings involved is not a straightforward task. Books have been written and various trainings have been conducted to help people get through the humps.

We have lots of experience from these solutions based on our work with core modules, contributed modules to distributions. D8MI aims to build some of the best functionality of these most commonly used tools right into Drupal 8 core, making site building with multiple languages in mind a much easier experience. Also, we believe the developer experience is as much important, so all contributed modules build off of the existing language functionality making Drupal even more supportive of languages.

Our ambitious Drupal 8 plans

Although nothing is set in stone, here are the big plans we have and worked on or are working on for Drupal 8 in the above marked areas:

  1. Base services: We are working on improvements like the possibility to remove English from the list of languages, simpler language setup, much easier out of the box language selection configuration and support language assignment for everything including taxonomy terms, files, and so on.
  2. Interface: Although we have a well greased interface translation system, we want to automate feeding of your software translations from localize.drupal.org directly to save lots of manual work for you. Translation user interface usability improvements are also on the way.
  3. Content: For content language, we have the luxury of supporting too much at some places. There are two competing models. We want to expand the entity/field translation model with translation capability for properties (status, author, etc.) so we can focus on that model only (and migrate your existing data to the new, more complete model). A core built-in user interface for this is in the works too.
  4. Configuration: The CMI initiative is hard at work to unify all configuration storage under one backend system. This is great for us, since we can add language support there and offer language assignment and translation support for your blocks, contact forms, views, rules and so on.
  5. Usability: And last but not least, we are also taking on various usability improvements across the board to have a much easier to understand language and translation experience.

For a demo of the already landed features and the remaining big challanges, check out the Drupal 8's Multilingual Wonderland core conversation recording video from DrupalCon Munich. A somewhat older but more detailed overview of the initiative's goals can be seen in a video review from Sept 2011.