Language fallback

In a multilanguage solution, language fallback is a mechanism that displays content in a different language if that content does not exist in the current language. With language fallback, you can control whether you want items or fields to be translated or reuse content from another language.

You specify the language fallback rules on the languages added to your XM Cloud environment and enable language fallback on the relevant items or fields. If a version does not exist in a given language, language fallback is activated, and the item or field value is displayed in the fallback language instead.

You can also set up a chain of language fallback. For example, you can specify the language en-NZ to fall back to en-AU, and en-AU to fall back to en. If the version in en-AU does not exist for a particular item or field, then the version in en-NZ falls back to the version in en.

Fallback flow

You can use language fallback on an item or field, and developers can use it on all dictionary labels on a website.


Language fallback is also supported when you publish sites and items to the Experience Edge delivery platform. Click here to learn more.

Item-level language fallback

Item-level fallback lets you have an untranslated item version in a given language that falls back to another language version, including all its fields. In this way, you can launch a new language version of your entire website without translating any items in the newly added language.

For example, if your website is in standard English (en) and you want to launch a localized version of the same website for English (Australia), you enable item-level fallback on the site and set up the language en-AU to fallback to en. Then you enable item-level fallback on the items or templates that you want to fall back to the standard English version. In this way, no content is available in English (Australia), but the fallback version from the language en is available instead.

In the Content Editor, when you select an item that has no translated content in the English (Australia) version and, in the content area, click the language list, you'll see that English (Australia) is the fallback version.

If you then switch to the English (Australia) fallback version, you'll notice that:

  • The item is read-only.

  • A warning notifies you that you are viewing a fallback version from the language en and that no version exists in the selected language. In the notification you can:

    • Click Navigate to the original item to view or edit the version in en.

    • Click Add a new version to create an actual version in the language en-AU.

    Add new version

For the items that you want to localize into English (Australia), you create versions of them in English (Australia).

Field-level language fallback

Field-level fallback enables you to specify on a single field which field values you want to localize and which field values you want to fall back to another language.

If you set up field-level fallback, on the individual field, you can see that the value is a fallback value from another language version. The picture shows the Summary field of the Home page in English (Australian) that falls back to standard English (en).


For performance optimization, field-level fallback is not supported on __Standard Values items or for shared fields, system fields, or fields that start with '__'. Media fields (under sitecore/templates/System/Media/Versioned/) are not considered system fields.

Dictionary items

Developers can also use the language fallback feature on all dictionary labels on a website. By default, item-level fallback is enabled on the template that dictionary entries are based on.

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