Back to SharePoint 2013 and the upcoming release. We have already looked at a number of improvements that look set to make it considerably better than previous editions, but the advanced localization abilities that have just been outlined in the SharePoint blog could end up being a top selling point to companies with a global outlook.

SharePoint 2013 Goes Global

Writing on the SharePoint team blog earlier this week, John Stickler, who is a Program Manager on the SharePoint ECM team, and Kate Kelly, a program manager on the Office globalization team, have outlined some of the ways that SharePoint 2013 will fit into a global economy.

We say global economy in relation to SharePoint as it is quite clear that earlier versions deeply penetrated markets well outside the English language speaking world, and Microsoft will undoubtedly be looking to do the same with the 2013 release.

According to Kelly and Stickler, the main improvements in localization come with the Variations in SharePoint 2013, a feature first introduced in SharePoint 2007. 

If you haven’t come across it before, Variations is a feature that enables users to adopt SharePoint to local markets by enabling them create geographically specific content for both Intranet and Internet published sites.

Kelly and Stickler say that they have watched the 2007 and 2010 versions to see how users are using it, and built the 2013 version to reflect those use patterns.

The result is that they have been able to adapt it to real customer scenarios, incorporating improvements to deal with common pain points and how users are trying to manage content in multiple languages. There are three main areas in which improvements will be offered:

1. Integrated Translation Support

One of the principal improvements is support for exporting and importing Variations content that can be translated. The new version of SharePoint comes with a Machine Translation Service that connects SharePoint to Microsoft Translator, but you don’t have to stick with that. It also has the ability export content as a package that you can translate yourself, or which can be sent to a third-part translator where it will be translated by humans.

However, Machine Translation is a useful way of localizing content and can be applied as an additional step after approved content has been published and synced with a site displaying content in a different language to the one it was originally approved in.