How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Site
July 11. 2019
Imagine how much you could achieve if you made your website more prominent on a wider scale! With a wider target audience come more customers for your business, which leads to bigger revenue. But before you can reap the benefits of worldwide recognition, you first need to create a multilingual WordPress site. How else are people who are not English speakers going to understand all the services and products you have to offer? Luckily, in this day and age, creating a multilingual website is a fairly simple affair. With a few popular multilingual plugins, and with the help of our WP Full Care team, it shouldn’t take you much time to achieve your goal of reaching a wider audience.
In your quest, three tools will bring about the best results – WPML, Google Translator, and Polylang. These three plugins are vital for creating a site with multiple languages, and learning how to use them is what you should focus on.
Create a multilingual WordPress site using the WPML plugin
The way WPML plugin works is by allowing you to quickly and easily install numerous languages into the same WordPress installation, thus, eliminating the need to create several subdomains for each language. The process starts with the installation of this plugin. Once it is successfully installed, you will see a Configure WPML button pop up on your dashboard. By clicking on the button, you will be able to choose all the languages you want your website to be translated in. Once you pick the languages which will appear in a drop-down menu, you will see the options for adding a language switcher.
There are a lot of different things to be decided on when it comes to the language switcher, like what you want it to show and the colors. Once you are done with picking your options, click on the SAVE button and then on the NEXT button. Thus, you enter the final step of WPML installation and creating a multilingual WordPress website is at your fingertips.
Once you click on the NEXT button, you will be asked for a site key in order to register. The key can be gotten from your WPML account, and all you have to do is copy it and click on the REGISTER button. With WPML installed and configured, you are ready to add multilingual content. You can translate themes, plugins, categories, and tags – basically all the important elements that constitute a page or post.
Translating posts and pages
The good thing about using WPML is that it’s relatively easy to translate all of your existing pages and posts. Just go to POSTS – ALL POSTS and you’ll see an overview of all the existing posts you have, as well as the number of posts per language. Your primary language will be automatically detected by WordPress, and the platform will show you the add button (+) under each language in which you can translate a post, which is dependant on the languages you chose. The next step is quite clear.
If at one point or another you decide to edit some sections of a page, all you have to do is click on the pencil icon. Then, make the necessary changes, and save the edits. As simple as that.
How to use the Polylang plugin
Just like WPML, Polylang also needs to be installed and activated before it’s ready for use. Once you open the language settings page, you will see that it’s divided into three tabs. Your job will be to add the default language, as well as all the other languages you would like to incorporate in your WordPress website. To translate the description and site title, you will need to switch to the ‘Strings Translation’ tab. To finish the configuration of the Polylang plugin and create a multilingual WordPress site, go to the Settings tab.
The settings tab contains too many options that will be very extensive and complicated for explaining. Moreover, it all depends on what you are looking to get out of your multilingual website, so you’ll have to do some independent research.
Now, to create multilingual content in Polylang is super easy. Just create a new page, add content in your default language, and then translate it into others of choice by clicking on the + button next to a language. The plugin is very easy to use and navigate and yet it brings the desired results.
Using the Google Translate plugin for creating a multilingual WordPress site
In case you want a quick solution, we suggest you install the Google Translate plugin. Just like WPML and Polylang, Google Translate also has to be installed, activated, and configured. The downside of this plugin is that you can only use those languages that are available with Google Translate. Although, that list is a pretty long one, and you won’t have a problem creating multilingual content in almost all languages of the world. The good part of using the Google Translate plugin? It’s very customizable and by going through the main settings, you can adjust it to your liking.
Weighing your options
Bear in mind that these three plugins are just the tip of the iceberg – the ones we’ve chosen. There are a few others that will help you achieve the same purpose, and that’s to create a multilingual WordPress site. Now, the decision of which one to choose should not be taken lightly. You don’t want to find yourself in the situation where you want to switch to a different plugin a few months down the line.
How much time and money are you willing to invest to achieve your goal? For example, WPML’s starting price is $29, while Polylang is free. With WordPress being the perfect platform for SEO, how SEO friendly are specific plugins? Do they offer a pro version? And is the content translated manually or automatically? These are just some of the questions you should try to find an answer to when trying to create a multilingual WordPress site. Luckily, you have many options out there, so you don’t have to settle for one that’s not completely up to your standards. Going into the details of each plugin out there would be a time-consuming process. That’s why you have to rely on your own merit and conduct your own research. The results will be well worth it!