Contentful Connector

Setting Up Your Contentful Connector

Once you have enabled localization in Contentful, it is now time to set up the Contentful Connector in Smartling. This article will describe how to:

  1. Configure Contentful User Permissions
  2. Connecting Contentful to Smartling
  3. Contentful Connector Configuration
  4. Language Configuration 
  5. Configure Contentful Content Parsing

Configure Contentful User Permissions

Before connecting Smartling to your Contentful account, you should decide which user account will be used, and verify its permissions. Smartling will update your entries with translations on behalf of your Contentful user account. Therefore, it's important to give this user permission to edit, while still restricting access to spaces which you don’t plan to localize. We recommend creating a new user account with a self-descriptive name.

  1. Create the new role. You'll need to repeat the steps below for each space that you will be translating.
    • Go to Settings > Roles & Permissions.
    • Click Create new role from the right-hand side.
    • Role details: Name (Smartling connector role) and description.
    • Content: Create two rules:
      • Read - Any entry - All content types
      • Write - Any entry - All content types - All fields - All locales
      • Publish - Any asset - Any locale
      • Unpublish - Any asset - Any locale
    • Media: Create the same two rules as above.
    • Content model: Leave this unchecked.
    • API keys: Only check Can access existing API keys for this space.
      • Note: Ensure an API key already exists in the space, or create one before setting up the Connector. The Contentful Connector will not create one, and it will fail to connect if there are no API keys on the space.
    • Space settings: Leave this checked.
  1. Invite a new user and add them to the new role
    • Go to Organization settings > Users.
    • Click Invite user.
    • Enter the new user email. This is the email that you'll be using when connecting Smartling to the Contentful account.
    • Organization role: member
    • Access to space: Check Smartling connector role for only the spaces that have content to be translated. The screenshot below shows that Smartling will have access to only the Sample project space.

Check your inbox and complete the invitation. When Smartling asks you to allow access to the Contentful account, use the user email and password.

If your Contentful plan doesn’t allow you to add new roles, you'll need to use the Admin role for your user.

Connecting Contentful to Smartling

  1. Log into Contentful.
  2. Log into Smartling.
  3. Create a Contentful Connector project type in your Smartling Account.
  4. From within this project, do one of the following
    1. Click on the gear icon > Project Settings > Contentful Settings (New Experience)
    2. Click Connectors > Contentful Content (Classic).
  5. Click Connect to Contentful.
  6. You will be prompted to authorize the Smartling Contentful Connector to use your account. Click Authorize.

    authorize_prompt.pngIf you are not already logged in to Contentful, you will be redirected to the Contentful login page and prompted to enter your credentials. You will then be brought to the Smartling Contentful Connector page.

Your Contentful instance will now be connected to your Smartling project.

Contentful Connector Configuration

When you have successfully completed connecting Contentful to Smartling, the Contentful Setting page has the following configurations


You can configure the behavior of the connector when updates are made to your previously translated content.

  1. From within your Smartling Contentful Project, click on Project Settings > Contentful Settings.
  2. Click the "Automation of Prior Requests for Translation" dropdown to select your desired behavior.
  3. Choose to exclude all media assets that have already been translated from retranslation (if the title or description changes) by selecting the Exclude media assets checkbox.
  4. Click Save.

Automation of Prior Requests for Translation

  • Auto: The Contentful Connector will detect changes to source content every 3 hours. Any changes detected to the source content will be submitted to Smartling for translation, batched into a Job and sit in awaiting authorization. However, if auto-authorize is enabled under Smartling Settings, the updated content will be batched into a Job and automatically authorized for translation. Smartling will not detect net new content, only updates to content that have been submitted for translation in the past.
  • Manual: The Contentful Connector will detect changes to source content every 3 hours, but will not automatically submit content changes for translation. Changed content can be filtered for in the Contentful Asset list by selecting the Out of Sync checkbox. A user can then manually select the assets that should be re-translated, and Request Translation from the Actions dropdown.
  • Disabled: The Contentful Connector will not detect changes to source content or automatically submit new changes.

3 hours is the recommended shortest time duration between checks. Talk to your Solutions Architect about changing the frequency to longer wave periods using cron.

Language Configuration 

Precise language mapping between Contentful and Smartling is essential to ensuring the Contentful Connector is set up correctly and your content is passed from Contentful to Smartling for translation. It is also essential to ensuring your content is translated in the correct languages and translation are returned to the correct target sites. Please take extra care in completing the following steps:

  1. From within your Smartling Contentful Project, click on Project Settings > Contentful Settings
  2. In the Language Configuration section, you will see the number of target languages in your Smartling project, along with the source language in your Smartling project.
  3. Confirm your Contentful source language with your Solutions Architect. This should exactly match with what is listed under Source Language (Smartling).
    • The default source language in Contentful is assumed to be en-US 
    • Do not modify the source locale. Changes will break the integration.
    • If you need to change the source locale mapping, reach out to your Solutions Architect.
  4. Choose the correct target language from the dropdown menu to map the language in your Contentful language configuration to your Smartling project target language
  5. Click Save

You cannot map a Contentful language to more than one Smartling language. A "wrong locales mapping" error will occur when attempting to use the same Smartling locale twice in the Language Configuration.

Configure Contentful Content Parsing

When Smartling captures content from Contentful it may process the fields of an entry based on your configuration settings and may break down the individual fields into even smaller strings for translation. This process makes it easier to produce higher quality translations faster.

Follow the steps below to configure how Smartling should handle fields based on how your content editors are allowed to format them in Contentful. Of course, if a field is not "localizable" in Contentful, then it won't even appear in the list of fields for that content type in the Smartling settings.

Parsing Option


Copy source 

Copies the source content to the target field.
This happens automatically when Connector delivers a translated file to Contentful - no action required. Simply map the required field as "Copy source" and the Connector will deliver as upon the Job delivery. Please note, content in these fields will not been visible in a Job.

Do not translate

Use this if the field shouldn't be translated using Smartling.

Normally, fields that don't need to be translated should not be configured as "localizable" in your content model. However, some fields need localization, but not really "translation" in Smartling. Examples are fields that contain localizable metadata such as a JSON field that contain GPS coordinates, or a URL that is used for your application. You can localize these values using the Contentful interfaces or APIs.

Simple Markdown

Only available to clients who started using the connector before we officially supported Markdown. This configuration parses as plain text and treats Markdown tags as "placeholders".

Legacy configuration only. User can choose to upgrade to Markdown. Doing so will create new strings that must be re-translated in Smartling.

Markdown Parses Markdown tags similar to HTML tags for the best experience by translators and maximum Translation Memory leverage. Use this when your field is likely to have markdown.
HTML Parses the field's HTML tags for the best experience by translators and maximum Translation Memory leverage.  Use this when your field is likely to have HTML markup in it
Rich Text Only available if the field is Rich Text. Select this to capture the content for translation using are custom rich text parser for Contentful.
ICU Parses text in the field as ICU MessageFormat.
Use this if the fields contains plural-sensitive content.


  1. Do one of the following:
    • In the New Experience, from your Contentful project, click the gear icon and select Project Settings. Then, on the left side, click Contentful Settings.  
    • In the Classic Experience, go to Projects (select your Contentful project) > Project Settings > Contentful Settings.
  2. Under Content Parsing, select your Contentful space. A list of the localizable fields appears.
  3. For each field, decide whether it requires translation, and if so, which parser should be used for that field.
  4. Click Save.

All the content from the fields that are enabled will be captured in Smartling. However, you will still be able to select specific strings when Requesting Translations.

Ensure that these steps are done for each Content Model type.

If any field is not configured, it will not be captured for translation. Whenever a new content type or new field is added, you'll need to configure them under Content Parsing to make sure the content can be captured.

Smartling Settings

Talk to your Customer Success Manager or Solutions Architect about options on auto-authorization and translation retrieval.


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