Fallback languages

  • Updated

For many multi-language websites, only parts of the website content exist in available languages because translations may not be ready, content is irrelevant for a specific language, or some content should be displayed in a defined language.

You have the following options:

  • Unless a fallback or replacement language is defined, content is invisible to visitors browsing the website in a language into which content is not translated.
  • Define a fallback language in which the content displays until the content is available in the desired language.
  • Define a replacement language in which content displays regardless of the language in which the content exists. If you define a replacement language for some content, a fallback language does not apply.

Fallback and replacement languages may cause mixed languages to be displayed on the website.

Set fallback and replacement languages

The All Properties view defines Fallback and replacement languages when editing a page or block and selecting Tools > Language Settings.


Language settings are inherited from the parent page. Suppose you are redefining language settings for a subpage to a parent page with language settings defined. In that case, you need to deselect Inherit settings from the parent page "xxx" in the Language Settings dialog box to define settings for the subsection.

Fallback language

In this example, the master website language is English, and Swedish, German, and Spanish are enabled languages.


Content is first created in English and then translated into Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish in that order. Swedish is used as the first fallback for Norwegian and Danish. If content does not exist in Swedish (not translated yet), then a second fallback language English is applied.


Replacement language

This example shows a multi-language website with a legal information section with content that should be displayed in English. A replacement language is applied for the legal information page branch to ensure this.


Another scenario for using a replacement language is when you have started translating content on your website but do not want to have mixed languages until the translation is completed. When the translation is ready, you remove the replacement language.

See also:

  • Translate content about translating Optimizely CMS content into different languages.
  • Optimizely Languages about extending the functionality in Optimizely for translating content into multiple languages.