I'm using .Net technologies and because ASP.Net "instant translation" is not really easy to do with ResX, since it has to be compiled after every change, there are a few hacks available (http://www.onpreinit.com/2009/06/updatable-aspnet-resx-resource-provider.html), but as it is, they're hacks... and they seem to have problems.
So I decided a while ago (in 2006, before I even saw solutions like the previous link) that I was going to set all the translation into an SQL Database, and cache all the translation needed in memory for performance.
The real problem begins when I want to do joins betweens table with multiple fields that are translated. Basically what I do is to store the ID of the translation inside each field, so I can add or edit translations into languages independently.
For example (it's not real but should show the concept):
ITEM(ItemID, TranslationReference_Name, TranslationReference_Use, ...) TRANSLATION(TranslationReference, IDLanguage, Content)
After that as you can guess, when I want a SQL Query to contain I need to do joins And this is where it gets dirty, because I did not find any other way to do it, and for each field of ITEM that needs a translation into a specific IDLanguage, I need to do a join.
This is bad for performance, because the TRANSLATION table contains thousands of lines. So each time I do need to do a full join for every column that needs a translation.
Plus, the other problem is that I'd like to have the basic english translation if a specific language has not been translated yet, so as you can guess it becomes much more dirty to code...
I have no idea how to improve it. Should I simply give up the database joins idea and translate each result of the database on my .Net code, refering to a dictionnary (that I already have) containing the translation, so it will require no actual joins?
And this is only a few of the drawbacks of that solution... because in real use, I need users to upload their own dynamically translated content, and manage versions of these translations.
Keep in mind that I do not want to have N rows (N being the number of languages that this record is available) for the "ITEM" table, I know I could set 1 row by language, and have its translated content in nvarchar inside it, but that's not what I want because I need the same ID for every record, independant to the language it can be translated into.
I've searched accross the web and I did not find any good article about this.
I talked to another developper that had several languages translation for his data-heavy website, if I remember well he was using multiple table for the translation, he would not store IDLanguage inside a global TRANSLATION table, but would split every translation in its own table and do something like injecting the language in the SQL code to change, something like:
SELECT Content FROM Translation_EN ... SELECT Content FROM Translation_FR ...
It would be sure more effective than doing a join on a full table, but that won't simplify my SQL full of joins...
So I probably have to think about alternatives and I need your ideas and comments about this.
Thank you very much.