Force the language per portal

  • 10 December 2019
  • 2 replies


I'm hoping an experienced user has a suggestion for me.

We've been using Freshdesk for 7 years and we have a multilingual setup, but not using Freshdesk's multilingual options, because this didn't exist yet 7 years ago.

We have 4 support portals based on the products that our company offers. 2 products are in Dutch and 2 products are in English. This has always worked by setting the portal languages individually. This setup was adviced by Freshdesk during the time that they still gave us good and proactive support.

Our main helpdesk language is Dutch, but when you have multiple portals, you can also set a language per portal. For some time now, this setting doesn't have any effect anymore:


On our English portals, default interface texts are now displayed in Dutch. This was never the case until recently.

I have talked to 2 support agents that kept on giving me wrong information and blamed it on unrelated customisations. (One of our English portal doesn't have customisations and it has the same issue). They advice me to enable the multilingual option, but this will base the interface language on the browser (at least for users that are not logged in), but this is not what we want. A lot of Dutch users have their browsers set to Dutch and use one of our English products and vice versa, so this would give them wrong information.

I noticed that I can access the portal language setting with {% if portal.language ... %}. Does anyone know if I can force the language using some code? I don't mean to manually translate every line of text.

This is a big issue for us, because some users get the wrong language now, which makes our portal useless for English speakers that get a Dutch interface on an English portal.

Does another advanced user (or maybe an agent that has experience with the workarounds for multilingualism before the current feature was introduced) have any suggestions for me?

This topic has been closed for comments

2 replies

Personally I'd have to agree with Freshdesk support in terms of their suggestion to move to their multilingual use if possible even though it could be pain for you. As the dev team keep working and bringing out more stuff you'll only get further and further away from their way of working and eventually end up difficult to support causing you to feel like they're not helping you. It'll be harder for them to understand your needs too - as you've mentioned, your way of working is already 7 or so years old.

Could you consider adding a 5th portal where you consolidate Product 1 but support both languages? Once established you could do the same for Product 2 and then disable the older portals.

You'd have to do a lot of copying and pasting to bring all your articles etc onto one portal but it's not so different from consolidating several older servers to one newer more power machine and would probably help you a lot in terms of managing stuff long term if you  plan to stay with Freshdesk.

If you've got a customised portal like us then apparently you need to use the placeholders here to translate any HTML you've added yourself - - but I personally these placeholders yet so I can't say if they're working or not. We're working solely in English for the time being and focusing on localisation one it's a frequent request from our users.

It seems you can't force the language of the portal except by user input or the property you mentioned setting the default - values loaded are based on the language selected by your contact in the {{ portal | language_list }} snippet. 

You could try doing something with the API to manually set the default language for a user but that may be overkill and not work for you - - you also need at least a garden plan.

Good luck with it!

Hi Antony,

Freshdesk only offers multilingual options based on the browser language, but in our case the language a user sees needs to be the same as their language settings in our product. Many users of our English product use Dutch browsers and vice versa. So unfortunately updating our portal to suit what Freshdesk is offering right now, does not suit the needs of our company. Most visitors are not logged in to our support portal, so adding language settings that way won't have an effect until they log in. (Most of them can't even log in, because of activation issues, but that's a different problem)

Luckily we are already hosting our knowledge base somewhere else for a few years now, so they at least get the right instructions for their product. Our clients currently only use the portal to view their tickets and to use the community, but users of our English products will have to learn Dutch before they can use it.

There is literally a setting that sets a language per portal. A few months ago, this setting would determine the interface language. Now this setting does nothing at all. To me this seems to be a bug that isn't being recognised by Freshdesk yet.