Since [SPIP 1.6], the SPIP private area has been accessible in several languages, with the goodwill of various authors.
We are far from having explored all of the possibilities and all the needs relating to multilingualism. Nevertheless, there are some elements which will enable you to adjust the operation of your site to your needs and projects.
The main language of the site
This is set on the configuration pages and determines several characteristics of your site. In particular, it will determine the language used on forms in the public area of your site (search, comment on an article, registration, forums, login page for the private area, etc), and that used in emails sent by SPIP.
This "main language" also defines the rules of typography which will apply to the texts - for the French and Esperanto languages, SPIP adds non-breaking spaces before colons, question marks, etc.
It will be also the language that will greet new authors on their first entry to the private area. They will then be able to choose another language from the dedicated menu.
Lastly, for Vietnamese (a language which has very short words and in which the stressing plays an important role), a special transliteration rule applies for the indexing of articles in the search engine.
<font color="red">S<font color="orange">P<font color="yellow">I<font color="green">P <font color="blue">1<font color="black">.<font color="darkviolet">7 introduces a much requested enhancement: the possibility to build a multilingual site in a very natural way. A whole set of tools has been provided for this specific purpose. In the private area, we can notably change the language of articles and sections individually and manage translations of the articles. For the public site, several enhancements contribute to minimise the efforts needed to build a multilingual site.
Modifying the language of a specific element (article or section) has the same impact as modifying the site language (as explained above), but the impact is limited to only that modified element: if it is a section, the modification applies to all the elements contained in it (including sub-sections); if it is an article, it will be the only element that the language change applies to.
So an Arabic section will have texts displayed from right to left, while a French article inherits the French typographical rules. Note that SPIP can display different languages on the same page without problems. For instance, the contents page could display articles in German and Esperanto and the dates would be displayed in the corresponding languages.
SPIP is provided in Arabic (ar), Bulgarian (bg), Catalan (ca), Chinese (zh), Reunion Creole (cpf), Danish (da), Dutch (nl), English (en), Esperanto (eo), Farsi (fa), French (Fr), Galician (gl), German (de), Italian (it), Japanese (ja), seven dialects of Occitan (oc) , Polish (pl), Portuguese (pt), Spanish (es) and Vietnamese (vi).
This list is not exhaustive, and other translations are in progress (Norwegian (norsk bokmål), Romanian, Slovenian languages...); they will be added in future versions of SPIP. If you wish to take part in the translation, either to help translate or to proof-read documentation, etc, you are welcome to join the discussion list firstname.lastname@example.org; we have tools allowing the quick translation of files - the complete operation can take between 3 days and a working week, according to your knowledge of SPIP.
Also we need volunteers willing to translate the documentation articles; do not hesitate to visit the translators area.