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Posted 21 May 2007


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MOSS Multilingual Site Configuration

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21 May 2007
This article describes the concepts and steps needed to create a multilingual publishing site in MOSS


This article provides a detailed overview of the multilingual options and features available in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. It starts with the concepts and moves on with an illustration of how to actually create a complete multilingual site.


One of the limitations in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was limited support of language configuration for multilingual websites. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 removes this limitation to a large extent by fully supporting multilingual websites. This is achieved by using language packs and site variations. This feature of MOSS enables administrators and site owners to create sites in multiple languages without requiring multiple installations of Office SharePoint Server 2007.


I have divided this article logically into two different sections. The first section discusses different concepts that one must know to be able to create and configure multilingual options in MOSS. The second part actually details the steps needed to create a professional MOSS multilingual website. The major discussion points of this article are:

  • Default Language
  • Language IDs
  • Language Packs
  • Site Variations
  • Step by Step Procedure of configuring multilingual websites

What You Need to Know

Default Language

Office SharePoint Server itself comes in different languages. By this I mean that the media (installation) can be in different languages like English, Arabic, French etc. This allows the deployment of MOSS in that particular language and this is called the default language- the one in which Central Administration will be displayed. So before deploying MOSS, it is better to analyze the different end-user requirements to determine in which language the Central Administration site should be; and to install the same localized version of MOSS.

You can later on apply language packs. Applying language packs doesn't change the language of Central Admin itself.

Language Identifiers

Language IDs are unique Identifiers that represent a particular language. Some of the language identifiers are shown below:


Before installing a language pack, first visit the folder c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\template\

You will find a folder with the language ID of the default language. For example: if you are using the English version of MOSS, you will find a directory with the name 1033.

Language Packs

As discussed previously in this article, when you install MOSS in a specific language, this language becomes the default language for the creation of site collections and sites. So far so good! Now, what if you need to create a particular site or sites in a different language? What if the sites should be created in more than one language and the selected site language depends on user preferences?

Language Packs is the answer. Language packs are language specific site templates that allow creation of sites in multiple languages. After installing the language packs, the site creation page will add an option of specifying which language to create the site in.

Site Variations

In most multilingual scenarios, there is one primary language (the language in which most of the content authors are fluent) and one or more secondary language (the languages to be used by end users). Usually, content is created in the primary language but other localized sites also need to have the same content in their own languages. It will, of course, be impossible to create each and every piece of content, the sub-sites and pages manually in each language.

Site Variation is a concept that allows automatic mirroring of content from source sites (in one language-the primary language) to the destination sites (in secondary languages). While configuring the site variations, you specify the source language and the target language. The number of these languages is limited by the number of language packs installed. There are however some limitations with this feature which most of the people are not aware of when they start working with variations:

  • Site Variations only copy the content. There is no automatic translation from one language to another. However, this can be done using workflows and custom development.
  • Site Variations only work for publishing content and pages. This is important to know as it will not copy the document libraries, news and other web parts that are not part of the site template. Even sites, other than the publishing template will not be mirrored.
  • The content only appears in the target site when it gets approved in the source site.

Steps to Configure Multiple Languages in MOSS

Step 1: Install the language files on all WFE Operating Systems

This step is necessary to install the language specific files for the operating system like the Keyboard files and fonts etc. For this, go to the Regional and Language Options in the Control Panel , in the Languages tab, add the necessary supplemental language support which installs the necessary files needed

For example, If you need to provide sites in Arabic, you need to select 'Install files for Complex Script and Right to Left Languages'

Screenshot - regional_language_options.jpg

Step 2: Install Office SharePoint Server 2007

Install MOSS in the desired language and run the SharePoint Products and Technologies configuration wizard.

Step 3: Install Language Packs

Now you need to install the language pack of the desired language. Please note that language packs come in separate packages i.e. one language pack setup per installation, so if you need more than one language, multiple language packs need to be installed. Make sure the language pack is of the same language you need and you are installing the 'MOSS language pack' and not one of the 'WSS language packs'

Screenshot - arabic_lp_installation.jpg

Step 4: Rerun the SharePoint Products and Technologies Configuration Wizard

This should be done with the default options selected.

As soon as you successfully install a language pack in a particular language, a folder with the respective language ID is created in c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\template\

For example: If you are currently running the English version of MOSS and you install the Arabic language pack, you will now find two folders in this hierarchy, one is 1033 (for English- the default language) and the other is 1025 (the Arabic language).

Screenshot - language_ids.jpg

Step 5: Create the site with the new language

You should notice that the site creation wizard now includes another option to select the language to create the site in.

Screenshot - create_site.jpg

Step 6: Enable Site Variations

  • Go to Site Settings->Site Collection Administration
  • Click 'Variations'
  • Select '/' to create variations for the top level site
  • Leave all other options to default settings and Click 'OK'

Screenshot - variation_settings.jpg

Step 7: Configure Variation Labels

  • Go to Site Settings->Site Collection Administration
  • Click 'Variation Labels'
  • On the' Variation Labels' screen, click 'New Label' and create an English label

Screenshot - variation_label_english.jpg

  • On the' Variation Labels' screen, click 'New Label' and create an Arabic label

Step 8: Create Hierarchies

  • On the' Variation Labels' screen, click 'Create Hierarchies'
  • The wizard automatically creates hierarchies for sites and sub sites and pairs them as well.

Step 9: View the Variation Log

  • Go to Site Settings->Site Collection Administration
  • Click 'Variation Logs'
  • Look at the Variation Log Entries and find the pairing of sites

Step 10: Change the Browser Language and view the site in different languages

Now as the variation hierarchy is created, you can view the site in different languages (English and Arabic) in our case. For this, use the URLs you saw in the Variation Log .

One more thing to note is that if you use the default URL of the site, you will be redirected to the variation that corresponds to the default language of the browser. Try changing the browser language to Arabic and check. This shows that you can redirect different users to the same site in different languages based on user preferences.

Screenshot - publishing_site_arabic.jpg

Step 11: Edit the Page in source language and observe the results

You are now ready to go with multilingual sites created in MOSS. Try to add some content to the content editor web part by using the Edit Page option. After the change, don't forget to Publish.

Screenshot - content_in_english.jpg

After a few minutes, if you see the varied site in Arabic, you should find the same content copied there.

Screenshot - content_in_arabic.jpg


Office SharePoint Server 2007 is intended for enterprise users and provides a collaboration and content management platform. This platform has to provide support for multiple languages to be able to serve users from around the globe having unique cultures and languages. Site Variations and language packs go a long way in enabling multiple languages for a SharePoint Publishing website.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Web Developer
Pakistan Pakistan
Naveedullah Khan, a graduate from Department of Computer Science, Karachi University has got more than 5 years of experience in the software industry and currently working as a Senior Technology Consultant/ Project Manager at KalSoft (Pvt.) Ltd.

Being an evangelist of Computer Science among other things, he commenced his career as a core Visual C++ and .NET developer, moved to the design and analysis of various systems and now his main area of expertise is SharePoint Products and Technologies.

From SharePoint’s perspective, he started from SPS 2001, moved to SPS 2003 and now an expert level MOSS consultant. He has carried out several projects based on SPS 2003 and MOSS 2007 in the Gulf region.

He has achieved PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification. He is also MCAD.NET and has got several other certifications and awards. Naveed is also a member of PMI Karachi Chapter and Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). He has been a speaker at many conferences and events organized by Microsoft including PDC 2005, LOVE Launch 2007. He has been a trainer at several community training sessions in universities and user groups.

Comments and Discussions

QuestionHow to translate content from English to Arabic. Pin
Rajneesh Jadon21-Oct-09 2:07
MemberRajneesh Jadon21-Oct-09 2:07 
AnswerRe: How to translate content from English to Arabic. Pin
navkrishkannan17-Jan-10 20:27
Membernavkrishkannan17-Jan-10 20:27 
GeneralRe: How to translate content from English to Arabic. Pin
SharepointBug7-May-10 1:29
MemberSharepointBug7-May-10 1:29 
GeneralI do not have "Enable Variation" option under Site Collection Administrator Pin
AMassani22-Sep-09 6:03
MemberAMassani22-Sep-09 6:03 
GeneralRe: I do not have "Enable Variation" option under Site Collection Administrator Pin
AMassani22-Sep-09 6:32
MemberAMassani22-Sep-09 6:32 
GeneralMulti-Lingual sites at the sub-site level Pin
EddieBovak1-May-09 4:32
MemberEddieBovak1-May-09 4:32 
GeneralRestoring Deleted Variation Mapping Pin
bidyut_das12-Mar-09 20:22
Memberbidyut_das12-Mar-09 20:22 
AnswerBetter Multilingual Solution - PointFire 2007 Pin
kmorency19-Feb-09 5:41
Memberkmorency19-Feb-09 5:41 
QuestionHow to get total information in Arabic Pin
Member 47208058-Feb-09 23:12
MemberMember 47208058-Feb-09 23:12 
QuestionArabic Language Pack Pin
adnananwar29-Dec-08 3:22
Memberadnananwar29-Dec-08 3:22 
Questionwant to install MOSS2007 on vista!!! Pin
deepak@infy19-Nov-08 8:11
Memberdeepak@infy19-Nov-08 8:11 
AnswerRe: want to install MOSS2007 on vista!!! Pin
tyro200822-Feb-09 21:50
Membertyro200822-Feb-09 21:50 
QuestionConfiguring existing site for multilingual option Pin
Manas Mani Tripathi22-Oct-08 22:57
MemberManas Mani Tripathi22-Oct-08 22:57 
GeneralRelative links not updating with Variation Sites. Please help! Pin
bdimitre16-Oct-08 3:41
Memberbdimitre16-Oct-08 3:41 
Generalvariation Hierarchy exceptions for Multilingual Pin
umashankar.bheemarasetti22-May-08 2:36
Memberumashankar.bheemarasetti22-May-08 2:36 
GeneralMultilanguage list Pin
Member 284882518-Apr-08 7:59
MemberMember 284882518-Apr-08 7:59 
QuestionRe: Multilanguage Pin
umashankar.bheemarasetti20-May-08 21:20
Memberumashankar.bheemarasetti20-May-08 21:20 
GeneralStyles Not Working in Target Labels Pin
Member 159453314-Mar-08 3:44
MemberMember 159453314-Mar-08 3:44 
GeneralRe: Styles Not Working in Target Labels Pin
Grudgeboy20-Mar-08 2:45
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GeneralRe: Styles Not Working in Target Labels Pin
jay84569-Jul-08 13:47
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GeneralThank you for your article Pin
nfrbtb20-Feb-08 20:41
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Questionfarsi language for sharepoint 2007 Pin
rezasalimi17-Dec-07 9:27
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GeneralGood one1 Pin
munna6-Dec-07 23:22
Membermunna6-Dec-07 23:22 
Generalpropagate contents from target sites to source sites Pin
ibdiez15-Nov-07 9:34
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GeneralRe: propagate contents from target sites to source sites Pin
Grudgeboy21-Nov-07 3:34
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