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Lately, I took a quick look at a relatively new translation solution for Joomla, called Neno Translate. This is a nice addition to already existing solutions like Josetta and Falang and of course the Joomla core translation system.

Though not a hardcore SEO topic, multilingual sites often pose you for interesting SEO challenges and a good solution can often help to overcome this. Neno seems like a nice candidate for a great translation service. Neno Translate is built by the same developers as the excellent Component Creator solution, so this already tells you that the team behind Neno is skilled enough and reliable. It is not strange that this team came up with Neno, because it actually arose from a need within the team. The existing Joomla translation solutions can only translate certain parts of Joomla and especially 3rd party-extensions. Usually, for known extensions like K2, Zoo, Kunena, etcetera this should not be too much of a problem, but for more obscure extensions you will often have issues. This is especially true for custom components that you built yourself of course. Extensions like Falang and Josetta can simply not cater for extensions they do not know at all of course. As the guys behind Component Creator ran into this all the time, they decided to build their own solution, and they came up with Neno.

Neno Translate features

Neno has some pretty unique features that make it stand out from most other solutions. The most striking are:

  • The possibility to translate really everything in your Joomla installation, from custom components, database content to language files.
  • Options to use machine-translations.
  • Options to outsource your translations to professional translators using a unique API.
  • Great performance.
  • Easy interface
  • Free (with backlink). A Pro-subscription removes the backlink and for services like machine and profesional translations there are additional fees.

Installing and configuring Neno Translate

Installing Neno is easy: simply download it from www.neno-translate.com and install it. The next thing you do is to access the component through Components >> Neno Translate. The first time you do so a configuration screen will show. In 5 steps you will be asked how to set the extension up:

You will be asked to supply some details:

  • Source language
  • Target language(s)
  • Translation method: manual, machine or professional
  • Which extensions and parts of these extensions you want to translate
  • And some other settings

Make sure to back up your site before initiating the configuration. The configuration will run for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on the size of your site. Once finished, it is best to configure what content should be translated and how (Click "Groups and Elements") and then you are almost ready to start translating.

If you have not published the language switcher module, which is a requirement for any multilingual site, you will be prompted to do so:

The configuration step also sets up your menus in all languages automatically:

 So now you are all set to start translating.

How to use the translation mechanism

Using the filters you can now select which parts of Joomla should be translated at this stage. In this example you see the "Getting Started" article from my sample data installed Joomla website in action being translated:

The translation takes place in HTML view to make it possible to really translate everything, also stuff hidden in links, alt-text, etcetera. The process works pretty intuitively once you get used to it actually.

SEO check

If you you're interested in the SEO side of things, it is pretty much mandatory for any translation extension to generate rel="alternate" tags for hreflang, but of course, these are also nicely in place. So all in all this seems like an excellent and complete translation extension and I can fully recommend it.