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Multilingual term sets (SharePoint Server 2010)

SharePoint 2010

Published: May 12, 2010

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 lets you define and use managed metadata in multiple languages. This is done by distinguishing the term itself from the words that represent the term.

A label is a word or a phrase that represents a term. A term can have multiple labels. For example, a term set that represents the days of the week would contain seven terms. One term might have the labels “Sunday”, “dimanche”, and “domingo”. Regardless of which label a person uses when applying the term to an item, SharePoint Server recognizes it as the same term. You can configure SharePoint Server to use the label that is appropriate for the language in which a user views the site when it displays terms.

This article describes how multilingual managed metadata is created and used. Before you read this article, you should understand the concepts that are presented in the article Managed metadata overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

In this article:

Defining terms

Before you can define term sets in multiple languages, you must perform the following actions:

  1. Install the SharePoint Server language pack for each language that you want to support.

  2. From the Term Store Management Tool, add each language to the list of working languages for the term store.

  3. Select one language to be the default language for the term store.

In each language, you can associate multiple labels with a term. One label in each language is the default label for the language. Use the other labels for synonyms or abbreviations.

The following table shows the labels in three languages for the terms in a term set that represents the days of the week.

English French Spanish

Monday (default)

Mon

lundi (default)

lunes (default)

Tuesday (default)

Tue

mardi (default)

martes (default)

Wednesday (default)

Wed

mercredi (default)

miércoles (default)

Thursday (default)

Thu

jeudi (default)

jueves (default)

Friday (default)

Fri

vendredi (default)

viernes (default)

Saturday (default)

Sat

samedi (default)

sábado (default)

Sunday (default)

Sun

dimanche (default)

domingo (default)

Within the Term Store Management Tool you can display the hierarchy of term sets and terms in any of the working languages. If a term does not have a label in the display language, the label in the default language of the term store is displayed. Term sets can also have a name in each language. If there is no name for the term set in the display language, the name in the default language is displayed.

By default, the terms in a term set are sorted according to the default sort order for the language. In many languages, this is alphabetical order. Using the default sort order often makes it easier for the user to find the correct term. However, in some cases there is a more appropriate order for the term set that is independent of language. A term set that represents clothing sizes is an example of a case in which using the default sort order for the language would not necessarily be natural. In these cases, you can specify a custom sort order for the term set. The custom sort order is used for all languages.

Using terms (tagging)

If SharePoint Server language packs are installed on the server, a farm administrator must specify a default language when creating a site collection. The site collection owner can then specify additional languages that the site collection will support. If a site collection supports multiple languages, users can change the display language when they browse to any page in the site collection. When a user changes the display language of a page, the new display language becomes the user's preferred language for the whole site collection.

note Note:

Because the preferred language is stored in a cookie, the preferred language is associated with the user's computer. If a user views a site collection from multiple computers, the user may have a different preferred language on each computer.

When a user enters a term (for example, to provide a value for a managed metadata column that is bound to a term set), the user is presented with a list of options. These options are the labels in the user's preferred language for the terms in the term set. When a user types an enterprise keyword (for example, to add a social tag to a Web page), the suggestions that are displayed are the terms whose labels in the user's preferred language match what the user has typed. When a user enters a term or an enterprise keyword, if no label exists in the user's preferred language, the label in the default language for the term store is used.

When a user selects a term, instead of recording the label, SharePoint Server records an identifier that represents the term, and the language in which the term was selected. Because SharePoint Server does not simply record the label that a user selected, it can identify terms regardless of the language in which the terms were entered.

How terms are displayed

For each site collection, SharePoint Server maintains a cache of all of the terms that can be used within the site collection. Each entry in the cache contains:

  • The identifier of the term.

  • The text to display for the term in each language that is supported by the term store. For each language, the text is either:

    • The default label of the term in the language, if such a label exists, or

    • The default label of the term in the term store's default language, if a label does not exist in the language.

When displaying a term, SharePoint Server uses the term's identifier and the user's preferred language to obtain the text to display from the cache.

note Note:

When a user enters a term, SharePoint Server uses the term store to display suggested terms and to validate the user's entry. SharePoint Server uses the cache only to display the terms that have been added to items.

Because SharePoint Server uses an identifier for a term, instead of a label, it can support the following multilingual scenarios:

  • SharePoint Server displays terms in the user's preferred language, regardless of the language in which the term was entered.

  • Tag clouds reflect the use of a term, regardless of the language in which the term was entered.

Changes made to the term store are propagated to each site collection's cache under the control of a timer job. There might be a delay between updating a term's label and the new label being displayed on the pages of a site collection.

Recommendations

As you plan how your SharePoint Server solution will use managed metadata in multiple languages, consider the following suggestions:

  • If your SharePoint Server solution requires managed metadata in multiple languages, use the functionality described in this article. It is usually simpler to have a single term set that represents a concept, and then define labels for the terms in the term set in multiple languages, than to create a separate term set for each language.

  • If you add a new working language to a term store, do so during a period when your SharePoint Server solution is not heavily used, such as at night. When you add a new working language, the next time that the timer job runs, SharePoint Server updates each site collection's cache and adds the text to display in the new language to every term in the cache. This may affect performance temporarily.

  • Although you can import term sets, you can only import one label for each term. If you do not want to define labels in each language by using the Term Store Management Tool, consider using another program such as Microsoft Excel to create a file that contains the terms and term sets, and writing a custom program to import the data into the term store. For more information about how to write a custom program that manipulates managed metadata, see the SharePoint 2010 SDK (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=190760&clcid=0x409).

  • If your solution includes more than one term store, consider making each term store support the same set of working languages.

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