Localization of the User Interface
Published: December 2010
Localization is the process of customizing an application, webpage, or website for a given culture or locale. In Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, localization consists primarily of translating display text for the user interface (UI). The UI for a website is sometimes referred to as the chrome—the visual elements that are associated with controls and forms, particularly title bars, menus, and navigation links, and everything that frames and organizes content or helps users interact with it.
The Multilingual User Interface (MUI) feature lets users change the language of the UI for SharePoint Foundation 2010. For example, a Spanish-speaking user who is working with an English UI can change the display language to Spanish by using a control in the upper-right corner of any page. The user clicks the arrow by the username, points to Select Display Language, and then clicks Español. The site's toolbars, navigation bars, list titles, and column headings appear in Spanish.
Similarly, an Arabic-speaker can change the display language to Arabic. In this case, the toolbars, navigation bars, list titles, and column headings appear in Arabic, and the left-to-right orientation of the site changes so that the text flows right-to-left.
For any of this to work, farm administrators must download and install a SharePoint Foundation 2010 Language Pack for each language that they want to support, and the owner of the website must enable alternate language support. For more information, see Make multiple languages available for your site's user interface.
The MUI feature is not a translation tool. If a language pack is installed, MUI can switch to that language when it displays the UI text that is included with SharePoint Foundation. MUI cannot change the UI text for custom elements that you add to SharePoint Foundation until you supply localization resources for those elements.