This is the eighth multilingual site I build, and the fifth using Joomla!

Having tried extensions such as Joomfish, Falang and the Joomla native capabilities, there is a lot to be said about using an extension like Falang in terms of ease of use.

Builiding a multilingual site using Joomla 3.x capabilities is very labour intensive.  You have to build everything (Categories, articles, menus, modules etc.) in each language and then create the assignments to link items between languages, this is without counting the actual transaltions of the articles!.  There is no tool to tell you if you missed a translation or an assignment.

The good thing is that you are in total control.  The bad thing is that you have to check everything (and depending on the number of items and languages, it can be a lot).

There are some good tutorials on the web on how to go about building a multilingual site in Joomla 3, You can have a look at these:

Beginner's Guide by Eric Tiggeler

Talk by Ron Schalk (see Video Walk-through)

Peter Martin 10 steps

 

I am currently working on upgrading the site from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.3.6.

Main reasons are:

  1. Make it Responsive
  2. Giving it a new look
  3. Taking advantage of Font Awesome icons
  4. Include Facebook icons
  5. Add a Blog

Problems encountered:

The main issue I faced was that the original site used Joomfish to render it multilingual.  Joomfish is no more supported and does not work with Joomla 3.x.

I created a test site and used Falang to make it bilingual.  It worked fine, problem is; there is no esay way to convert from Joomfish to Falang.  Neither uses the native Joomla capabilities and each has a different set of tables!  After some research on the forums (and some advices) I decided to start from scratch with Joomla 3.3.6.

I installed Joomla 3.3.6 on a different folder in the server and created the categories, menus, articles and modules in both languages.  It is a very tenious and time comsuming process!  Despite the fact that I did a lot of cut and paste.

I started with one of Joomla's native template knowing full well that it would not do what I wanted, but at least I got the content in.

Next I started looking for a Template that would work in Joomla 3.x and be Responsive.  This is also quite an adventure.  I finally settled for a template from FAVTHEMES called Favourite.  After a few trials and some twicking I managed to get the look I want.