Within ControlShift, petitions are tied to a single language at a time. However, sometimes organizations wish to run a multilingual petition. If you're planning a multilingual campaign, there are a few questions to consider before getting started:
- How many languages are you planning to run the petition in?
If you're going to be running the petition in two languages only, you'll have more options when creating the petition than if you're running the petition in 3+ languages.
- Do you already support the languages for this petition on your site? (e.g. can someone on your ControlShift site already view the site in each of the languages you're planning to use for this campaign?)
If you're already supporting each of the languages, signers will see the site wrappers and receive emails in the appropriate language. If you're not already supporting all languages, you may wish to customize the thank you email for this petition to ensure that translated text is sent to the signer.
- If all of the languages are not already supported on your site, will you be campaigning in this language in the future? Do you want to translate the site to support the new language?
If you're planning to continue working in this language, it may make sense to do a full translation of the site. If you're not planning to work in this language in the future, then a full translation may be more work than needed.
The steps to support your new campaign will depend on your answers to the questions above.
The Basics: supporting a single petition in multiple languages
As mentioned above, the set up of a petition may vary depending on the number of languages you're running the petition in. Generally organizations approach multilingual petitions in one of two ways:
- For two languages, you can add both languages to the petition text. Some organizations add both versions in each field of the petition:
and some organizations will add the full translations to the petition's 'why' text instead. Because of petition's character limits, this option generally only works for two languages. Here are two live examples.
- If you're running a campaign in three or more languages, another option is to create a landing page. Landing pages allow you to have different petitions for each language but have them linked to one another. Linking the petitions via an landing page makes it easier for supporters to find the petition in their language and allows for a combined signature total across all campaigns. Each petition page can then also link to the landing page's hub page, which lists the petitions in other languages. While organizations have used this approach in different ways, adding flags that represent the campaign's various languages is a nice approach.
You can see a live version of this approach.
The advanced settings required to run a multilingual campaign will vary depending on whether your organization is already fully supporting all of the languages you're running this campaign in and whether you've created a single petition or landing page.
A few common questions we get asked when organizations are running a multilingual campaign:
Q: What will the signing experience look like?
A: This will depend on your site's language settings. If you're fully supporting each of the languages in the campaign, the signature form and site wrappers can be shown in each language. The site visitor will generally see the form and wrappers in their chosen web browser language. (This behavior can be overridden.)
If your organization has not added each of the campaign's languages as fully supported languages, users will only see the signature form and site wrappers in those languages that are fully supported.
Q: What emails will be sent when someone signs?
A: If you're not fully supporting all languages for this petition, you may wish to override the petition's thank you for signing email. This will allow you to have both languages included in the email sent to signers.
If you are fully supporting all languages for this petition, this update is likely not needed because we'll automatically send the signer an email in the same language they were viewing the site in when they took action.
If you've created a landing page for your campaign, you may wish to override the thank you for signing and/or forward to friends messages at the landing page level. In the forward to friends message, you may wish to directly link to the landing page's hub page where site visitors can see the petitions in each language.
Q: Can I send users to the page in a specific language?
A: Yes, if you're sharing a link to the petition and/or landing page, you can specify a particular language for the site visitor. This will not change the language used in petition texts, but it will affect the site's wrapper language – e.g. the language used for things like: links in the header, signature form labels, sign button, etc. This may be useful if your mailing list is already segmented by users' preferred languages, if your organization has separate social media accounts for different languages, or if you're partnering with organizations that only work in specific languages.
To force a language selection add
?preferred_locale=XX to the end of the petition/landing page URL, where XX is the code for that language. (Language codes can be found in this help center or by going to the admin homepage > Settings > Time Zone & Locale > Manage Locales.) For example, to ensure that a user viewed this petition's page in French, we'd direct the user to https://demo.controlshiftlabs.com/petitions/repair-the-yellow-brick-road-1?preferred_locale=fr. To ensure that the user saw the page in US English, we'd send them to: https://demo.controlshiftlabs.com/petitions/repair-the-yellow-brick-road-1?preferred_locale=en-US. Please note that in both examples, the language code is case sensitive.
?preferred_locale=XX URL parameter will work for most pages on the platform. For petitions specifically, it's also possible to use a shortened version, where just the language code is added to the URL between the site domain and
petitions. For example: https://demo.controlshiftlabs.com/fr/petitions/repair-the-yellow-brick-road-1 and https://demo.controlshiftlabs.com/en-US/petitions/repair-the-yellow-brick-road-1. Again, please note that the language codes are case sensitive.
A few additional things to keep in mind:
- When a site visitor uses a URL with a language parameter, they'll continue to see the site in that language until they change the language (from the footer) or their session cookie expires.
- If no language parameter is present, we'll try to show the site in either the visitor's browser language or in the site's default language if their browser language is not on the list of organization-supported languages.
- The language URL parameter will only update the site's wrapper language if that language has been added to the site's fully-published supported languages.
Q: Can I embed a signature form in a supported language? If I don't choose a language for an embedded form what will happen?
A: Yes, you can embed the form in a specific language by adding the
?preferred_locale=XX URL parameter described above to the embedded signature form code. Learn more about embedding forms in other languages.
If a language is not specified in the embed code, we'll use the site visitor's browser language to show the form in their preferred language.
If you're planning a multilingual campaign and need additional help, please reach out to our support team.