Learn about headless content and how to translate it in AEM

Learn headless concepts, how they map to AEM, and the theory of AEM translation.


This document helps you understand headless content delivery, how AEM supports headless, and how such content can be translated. After reading you should:

  • Understand the basic concepts of headless content delivery.
  • Be familiar with how AEM supports headless and translation.

Full-Stack Content Delivery

Ever since the rise of easy-to-use, large-scale content management systems (CMSes), organizations have leveraged them as a central location to manage messaging, branding, and communications. Using the CMS as a central point for administering experiences improved efficiency by eliminating the need to duplicate tasks in disparate systems.

In a full-stack CMS, all of the functionality for manipulating content is in the CMS. Features of the system make up different components of the CMS stack. The full-stack solution has many advantages.

  • There is one system to maintain.
  • Content is managed centrally.
  • All services of the system are integrated.
  • Content authoring is seamless.

So if new channel must be added or support for new types of experiences is required, one (or more) new components can be inserted into the stack and there is only one place to make changes.

However the complexity of the dependencies within the stack quickly becomes apparent as other items in the stack need to be adjusted to accommodate the changes.

The Head in Headless

The head of any system is generally the output renderer of that system, typically in the form of a GUI or other graphical output.

When we talk about a headless CMS, the CMS manages the content and continues to deliver it to consumers.

The consuming services, be they AR experiences, a web shop, mobile experiences, progressive web apps (PWAs), etc., take in content from the headless CMS and provide their own rendering. They take care of providing their own heads for your content.

Omitting the head simplifies the CMS by removing complexity. Doing this also shifts the responsibility of rendering the content to the services that actually need the content and are often better suited to such rendering.

Translating Headless Content in AEM

In addition to offering robust tools to create, manage, and deliver traditional webpages in the full-stack fashion, AEM also offers the ability to author self-contained selections of content and serve them headlessly.

The power of AEM allows it to deliver content either headlessly, full-stack, or in both models at the same time. For the translation specialist, the same set of translation tools can be applied to both types of content, giving you a unified approach for translating your content.

Further in the journey you will learn the details about how AEM translates content, but at a high level, the concept is simple:

  1. Define a connection to a translation service by configuring the translation integration framework.
  2. Define which content should be translated using translation rules.
  3. Create a translation project to harvest the content, send it to the translation service, and receive the results.
  4. Review and publish the translated content.

What's Next

Thanks for getting started on your AEM headless translation journey! Now that you read this document you should:

  • Understand the basic concepts of headless content delivery.
  • Be familiar with how AEM supports headless and translation.


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