Show IATI: Multilingual IATI standard site

[I already posted this here, but thought I’d post it separately as it’s quite cool.]

The current IATI standard site is automatically built from the schema, codelists, rulesets, guidance and extra documentation. The tool that builds it is (almost) set up to build in multiple languages, but the feature hasn’t been put to use.

I tried auto-building and deploying a multilingual version of the site (with a dropdown to switch between languages). Here’s an example page that’s (partially) in French:

Obviously most of the site hasn’t been translated – I guess no-one has done this, since it wasn’t visible anywhere. But I expect this could be of use.


Wow, that’s really interesting, thanks Andy!

I think you’re right that most of hte website hasn’t been translated, at least not the specific pages. However, there is a lot of existing French content in products like the Implementation Schedule template (if anyone remembers these…), outreach material, the Speaker’s kit and so on.

There was also some French content on the D-Portal, even a (partially) French user interface, though I noticed last week that this feature seems to have been turned off.

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I strongly agree. However, I know from decades of consulting with the Canadian government that building and maintaining multilingual web sites is very expensive–far more than governments and agencies want to acknowledge–and that it also slows down deploying new features.

If IATI is going to do this–and I think we should–then we’ll need to start by finding new and sustained funding. Otherwise, it will just be a token effort that makes us look good for a few months, then becomes increasingly stale as the English text gets updated and the French/Arabic/Spanish/Portuguese/Urdu (etc) text doesn’t.

There’s also a bigger multilingualism issue that we need to address.

If IATI data is meant primarily for the benefit of partner countries (in line with the Accra Agenda from 10 years ago), then we need to push donors hard to publish project titles and descriptions in local languages as well as their own language(s). For example, a project in Colombia needs to have all the text available in Spanish, regardless of whether the donor’s own national language is English, French, German, Dutch, Danish, etc.etc.


Fully agree. We already do it in English and French, so we know it’s not an insurmontable challenge. We also have evidence that titles and descriptions in the national language help greatly with aid coordination and data import into AIMS.

However, while pushing for the above, I would encourage us all to at least seize the very low-hanging fruit that we’re not taking advantage of at the moment. The IATI standard is structured in such a way that a lot of the activity information can be translated via the code lists; these code lists can be made more accessible on the IATI website, in D-Portal etc., so that data users can chose to display the data in their preferred language.

Canada is working on providing a full set of code lists in French (several were done in 2014, but a few dozens are new or incomplete). It would be great if someone was willing to support translation to Spanish. Code lists are stabilizing, so their ongoing maintenance should not be too onerous.