TableauTips: Multilingual Dashboards

March 2016 is #tableautipsmonth I’ve started it by sharing tip#1 and this is going to be the second one so far.

Creating Multilingual Dashboards

Tableau’s mission is to help everyone see and understand their data. Keeping that premise in mind I thought I’d share what I have done in the past to make a dashboard available to a wider audience that may not speak English. I know I’ve seen great looking dashboards which I couldn’t understand because of the language barrier. (Seoul weather patterns comes to mind).

Rest easy, I’m not sending you back to school nor will I tell you to buy Rosetta Stone’s latest offering in language studies. But you may be asking so what, what’s the point? I’d like to give you a use case where this might come in handy:

Multinational SuperCompany with offices in:

  1. Washington (English)

  2. Lisbon (Portuguese)

  3. Buenos Aires (Spanish)

If at each of these sites you have someone creating a dashboard in their native language, they can then email it to a user that has Server publishing rights. Without needing to know how to read the other languages they can quickly copy those other dashboards into the same workbook, then by using shapes and actions create an interactive dashboard that allows users to select their preferred language. Publish it to Tableau Server and there’s only one link to share, wherever they are in the world they can read it in their native language.

I did this recently with the polls from the Portuguese Presidential Elections:

Click on the image for interactive version, but please come back so I can tell you how to put it together.

Language Gif

First things first, you’ll need to have all the different versions, after that create a sheet with each of the languages you want to allow your users to choose. In my example, I created an English, Portuguese and Spanish version. I then brought in from Excel the names of the countries and added the flags as custom shapes.

Custom Shapes Tutorial

Once that’s done add the sheets with the flags of the other two languages to the dashboard. i.e. For the English dashboard I’ve added a Portuguese and a Spanish flag and so on. As a bonus you can also change the tooltip to prompt them to click there, google translator should be enough for this. 

Finally it’s just a case of playing a game of dashboard actions.

Here are settings for the English dashboard:

Action I

You will notice below that I don’t actually add a filter to the dashboard, there’s no need to, the objective is just to navigate to the dashboard.

Action II

Repeat the above within the 1st dashboard and twice again on each of the remainder dashboards and that’s it. You have a multilingual dashboard.

The alternative if you don’t want to have the flags on each dashboard is to create an entry sheet where you users select their preferred language. Here’s an example, click for interactive version.

Choose Language (1)

I hope you have found it useful, please leave any comments or questions below.

Thanks for reading.