As use of our product grows internationally we are beginning to see participation our our community by users whose first language is not always English and who may not even speak English proficiently.  Catering to them in a way that balances their needs with a goal to driven engagement in one global community is turning out to be a big challenge.

 

For now we have created user groups within our community that focus on the needs of Spanish speaking users, Norwegian speakers, etc.  As we expand southward in the Americas we anticipate that Spanish will be our second most prevalent primary language of our users.  We're just starting to get people posting in forums, etc around the community in Spanish and have so far just responded in kind wherever they post.  In the system settings under Locale, we enabled multi-language search and set "en" and "es" as allowed language codes.

 

We currently have a hidden sub-space español for that we'd like turn on eventually that we would then move the current Español group into.  Challenges that we are currently thinking about include:

  • UI - can we set navigation links, etc to a specific localization per sub-space?
  • Search - we'd a way for Spanish and English language search results not to invade each other's search results.  We can use a custom html search widget to search only one sub-space or the other but is there a way to control global search by sub-space.  Also, we'd rather get away from widgets if possible.
  • We use a program called Screensteps, made by Blue Mango, to manage our product documentation.  Our product changes in production every three weeks so keeping all the guides and release notes up to date is really important.  Currently we have an integration that pushes updates in the English Screensteps site into a sub-account as Jive documents.  Español documentation lives in a separate ScreenSteps site.  We don't think pushing from one ScreenSteps site into a Jive sub-space while pushing from a second ScreenSteps site into a second sub-account will be a problem but it hasn't actually been tested yet.

 

As our company continues to localize we are acquiring people from across our Client Success division who speak Spanish fluently (support, account reps, integration specialists).  As we think about internationalizing community I'm curious to learn more about how others have proceeded with this?