Understand SharePoint globalization and localization

By - April 9, 2015

Currently, you may have a SharePoint site which is running well in only English but there is a request for you to extend the site in a new language. This may seem like an overwhelming project at first but it is very manageable.  Below highlights the “areas of language focus” where the text is retrieved and displayed on the SharePoint site. If you consider breaking your project into these areas this allows the technology to globalize your site by localizing it using the current region’s culture and language.

Areas of language focus in SharePoint

There are 3 main focus areas where the text needs to be converted in the new language:

  • SharePoint’s built in text (Ribbon, navigation, master page, list forms etc.)
  • Custom text used in the layouts of new and existing site pages, user controls, application pages, web parts, etc.
  • Text retrieved from the custom database in the form of report and rendered on the site page

What is the solution to translate text in each area of language focus?

  • SharePoint has language packs for all the countries and languages in the world. Once you install and deploy the appropriate language pack, SharePoint lets you choose the additional supported languages in your language settings under site administration. SharePoint automatically shows the built in text in the standard areas such as the ribbon and navigation panes in the local language.
  • SharePoint allows you to create the custom text in multiple languages and save them in corresponding language resources under the resources folder below the SharePoint foundation installation root. SPUtility class has a static method GetLocalizedString that can retrieve a string value from a resource file located in the resources folder. This can then be used to render as the custom text in the site pages, user controls, application page and web parts. The language resource files names have to follow a naming convention like the following: <company>.<site>-COUNTRY/LANGUAGE.resx. For example, the following language resources can be added to a SharePoint site.
    • Wingtip.Sales.en-US.resx – Default language of English
    • Wingtip.Sales.fr-FR.resx – Language resource for French
  • All the text saved in the DB as English will have to be saved in the desired language in a different area in the DB. You can write a stored procedure with a language parameter which will retrieve the text in the desired language and return it in the result set to be used by the site.

SharePoint sites can be easily converted to multiple languages as required by the business and its global presence. You can create a single SharePoint site with the support of all the required languages and let SharePoint deliver the site in the appropriate language based on the local region. You can also create multiple sites with different languages and redirect the user to the appropriate site based on their preferred language.

To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact McGladrey’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us

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