Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Creating a Multilingual OPAC

Do you have students that speak different languages (say spanish, german, english) visiting your Library? Do you offer an OPAC in different language? Do you do keep subject headings in different languages in your MARC records?

As we are trying to build a new OPAC based on Drupal, and our users are coming more and more from other countries, what should we do?

It turns out that as Drupal has some great functionality for multilingual content, as well as doing some of that for categories. You can set up "automatic" translation for certain phrases (you tell Drupal to, say, always translate the english phrase "Chemical Engineering" for the spanish equivalent "IngenierĂ­a QuĂ­mica"), and it just goes and translates wherever there´s a complete phrase (and case-sensitive) match. This is one way to do it for categories.

Just porting MARC into Drupal nodes has a whole set of pros and cons; now, doing something like automatic (well, semi-automatic) translation MUST have some pros and cons... guess I'm about to find out =)

I'll keep you posted.

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