Multilingual Mode

The page on Content Management → Multilingual Mode (Multilingual Mode | Hugo) states, “Hugo supports the creation of websites with multiple languages side by side.” I could use more information. Saying “multiple languages side by side” sounds to me like, for example, if your languages are German and English, and you had to show “Welcome to my page”, you’d see something like

Welcome to my page | Wilkommen auf meiner Seite

Is that really what happens? This article shows no pictures of examples such as that, and all the actual examples and tutorials I’ve found with multilingual Hugo features have not been of that kind. Rather they’ve been of the kind of having one entire web site in one language, with a parallel web site entirely in a different language, and with a global switch to distinguish between the two. Is there a word for this kind? I don’t feel languages-side-by-side is right. Can we call it global-language-switch?

I feel like languages-side-by-side and global-language-switch are both valid and desirable, as would an intermix of the two. For example, if you were, say, in German mode in a global-language-switch site, you still might want to have page with a mix of the two+ languages together. For example, the page might be a single form that you want readers to be able to print out with voting instructions, or whatever.

I could use some clarification about my confusion. And also I would like to know if there might be some support for both kinds of multilingual mode (as I call them languages-side-by-side and global-language-switch) as well as intermixing them within a single site.

Thank you.

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Welcome to this forum.

I’m afraid “side by side” means here logically side by side, just like several parallel or side by side branches of the tree.

You seem to ask for a graphically side by side view of several versions of a page. Please tell us if this assumption wrong. In any case I don’t know if this is feasible with Hugo.

PS. I can’t imagine how such a graphically side by side view would be with eg. a site translated in say 15 languages. Out of curiosity, how do you see this?

Well, thank you for the clarification, and I’m not surprised that “side by side” in Hugo’s case means logically side by side, or structurally side by side. But side-by-side is definitely a “thing” in the centuries-long-existing tradition of multilingual text documents. For example, Wikipedia’s article on “parallel texts” notes:

Origen's Hexapla (Greek for "sixfold") placed six versions of the Old Testament *side by side*.

(My emphasis added.) This shows that parallel, or “side by side” documents have existed for millenia, and with well above two languages.

All in all, I can see it’s a rather tricky thing to pull off. And surely it’s most practical in at most two or three languages. One actual web site that incorporates bilingual parallel texts is For example, this page: שאַך־מאַט | Checkmate | In geveb Anyhow, I can see this sort of functionality is not immediately on the horizon for Hugo, though it would be a cool extension some time down the line.

Thanks again for the clarification. I think if you’d care to clarify this in the original page’s documentation, I would suggest to use some different terminology besides “side by side”, and/or add clarifying verbiage. And also maybe show some kind of graphic picture of an example. E.g., a language switching top part and the resulting page (in the single language!) after you switch.

What you want is easy enough to achieve by modifying this example in the docs: Multilingual Mode | Hugo

{{ if .IsTranslated }}
  <h2>Other Languages:</h2>
  {{ range .Translations }}
    <h3>{{ .Language }}</h3>
    {{ .Content }}
  {{ end }}
{{ end }}