Tips for creating a multilingual WordPress site in 2019
It’s not as difficult as you may think.
While there are many amazing features on WordPress for both beginners and experts alike, one of the downsides over the years has been the distinct lack of multilingual support.
For those attempting to grow in different regions, or perhaps even educational institutions who attract interest from all over the world, this can be a real shame. However, there is a solution, that comes in the shape of plugins.
Over the years, people have been creating several subdomains with different languages in each of them. Not only will you probably need to pay a developer to help, but this will also take lots of time and effort.
Fortunately, there is a plugin for everything these days, including ones for multilingual websites. Essentially, the idea is to install WordPress in the different languages you require before then allowing the plugin to switch depending on what the user needs. There are four main ways to achieve a multi-language WordPress site:
- Multilingual posts (one post per language). With translations linked together, readers will know that the pages are simply translations of one another. Example plugins include Sublanguage, WPML, and Polylang.
- For each post, you could store all language alternatives in the same post. Examples include WPGlobus and qTranslate-X.
- Rather than using a post context, translations could be managed on the generated page with Global Translator or Transposh.
- Separate WordPress network installations (one for each language) can be linked together through Multilingual, Multisite Language Switcher, and Zanto.
What is the best solution?
Skapa Webbkraft is currently going through this process and shared the experience:
“Since this is such a big change, we recommend going through several stages of testing.”
Similarly, Mestre do Hospeda Site started with one language and is now expanding. They added:
“We were apprehensive about the process, but soon realised that the best option was the one that closely matched our own needs in terms of functionality, budget, maintenance, support, etc.”
Plugin example: WPML
One of the best plugins available is WPML, and here is some advice on using it as a loose guide to how others might work. As a translation plugin, you need a working website in one language before getting started, so be sure to choose the best hosting for WordPress.
Once you are ready, install the WPML plugin and click Configure WPML as it appears in your dashboard. The plugin should detect the language of your site (you can change this if it detected incorrectly).
From here, select the languages you want to activate and set your language switcher options – this is the order in which the languages will appear either as a set of flags or in a drop-down menu. Also, you can add more languages and play around with the settings.
Using this plugin, you will now have the option to create translations for blog posts. Via the Taxonomy Translation option, you can also translate tags, categories, and other features. To change navigation menus, click Appearance and then Menus.
Once you do all this, your menus, categories, and blog posts/web pages will all be accessible in the languages you selected.
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