Consistent multilingualism

The new TU Berlin website is completely bilingual. All pages must be published in German and English with German as the standard language. As a part of the web relaunch, the Executive Board approved a resolution on the consistent bilingualism of University websites. The Department of International Affairs supported this decision.

The University’s language policy (approved by the Academic Senate in 2016) states: "The TU Berlin language policy is based on three main principles: 1. German as the central language, 2. English as a second language, 3. Embracing multilingualism and intercultural competence.” However, there may be well-founded exceptions where English websites are not useful.


Reasons for consistent multilingualism and German as the standard language

TYPO3 requirements

TYPO3 is conceived and based on a standard language (at TU Berlin: German) and alternative languages (at TU Berlin: English). Every new page is first created in the standard language (German) and must then be translated. The translated page is (technically) linked to the standard language page. The content on the original (German) page and the translated (English) page may of course differ from one another. This means, content may be available in one language but not in the other.


An integral component of the new TYPO3 environment is a Solr search server, which manages a so-called core for each language in TYPO3 and also uses corresponding dictionaries in the respective language, e.g. for search suggestions. When you conduct a search on a page in the standard language, the system will search through the assigned core, in which all content and objects for the standard language have been indexed. The same applies to the alternative languages. For this reason, it is not possible to change the standard language within the system and make English the standard language for your TU Berlin website. If you were to do so, there would also be major problems when linking between pages in different standard languages or menus within which the language changes. This problem occurred in the "old" TU Berlin website and led to many extremely negative user experiences which should not be repeated.

Target group diversity

The websites of TU Berlin’s individual institutions are usually oriented towards different target groups. These do not only include the scientific community or international prospective students, i.e. groups proficient in English. For these reasons alone, TU Berlin websites should not be exclusively maintained in English and should provide at least fundamental/essential information in German. While TU Berlin's international profile continues to grow, it remains a German university with German as the official language.

Translations part of the web relaunch

Translation via export/import

A German page can be translated with the help of a tool called the L10N Manager.

This feature assists with both the online and offline translation workflow of web content. For the offline workflow, the L10N Manager enables users to export translatable content to XML and Microsoft Excel file formats. These exported XML files are localization-friendly, meaning they remember where content belongs on a website, and are compatible with every modern translation tool, such as Trados, across, DéjàVu, MemoQ, and Passolo. Using the L10N Manager’s simple export function, editors can convert web page content to the above file formats and email these as attachments to TU Berlin Translation Services for translation - for example via storage like tubCloud. You will find further information on the TU Berlin Translation Services website.

Please be sure to allow sufficient time for the translation of your texts before you go live with your new website.

Once the files have been translated, you just need a few clicks to import that content back into TYPO3. All translated content is automatically entered and saved to the current location. This offline translation workflow simplifies the translation of web content for both web editors and Translation Services.

Cost of initial translation during the web relaunch

Initial translations provided during the web relaunch are cost-neutral for the entire University. TU Berlin Translation Services has received a special budget for this purpose. This means that faculties, for instance, do not have to pay 50% of the cost for website translation as was previously charged.

Continuously Updated Glossary and Style Guide

Translation Services is always available to answer questions about your own translations and English-language documents. It also maintains a comprehensive and regularly updated glossary of TU-specific terms. A style guide for English-language texts at TU Berlin is also available to help you write English texts.

To the webpage: glossary and style guide

Please contact Translation Services at any time should you have a question or suggestion.