Create a Multilingual WordPress Site using WPML
You can use WordPress in any language that you want. It is super easy to create a website in any single language. However, by default WordPress can support only one language at a time. What if you want to make your website multilingual to attract a much wider audience?
Creating a Multilingual WordPress Site with WPML
Governments, international businesses, and educational institutes often need to offer their website in multiple languages. While machine translations like Google Translate is an option, it’s often not acceptable for most professional organizations.
One way to offer multiple language options is to install WordPress in subdomains for each language. This is a lot of hassle, as you will have to manage updates, and backup all those installations.
Myth regarding adding multilingual functionality to your WordPress site.
You do not need to use multisite. Multisite does not offer any features that will help you with multiple languages. Multisite is intended for creating a network of sites and blogs with multiple users who have a variety of roles on the site.
Therefore, what you want instead is a multi-language plugin. A multi-language plugin will provide you with a means to reproduce your content in another language or languages. This could be done post by post – meaning you would manage it manually – or you could go so far as to reproduce your entire site in the target language. Some plugins even offer automatic translation, although the quality of the translation is questionable at this point in time.
WPML is packaged with 40 languages pre-installed and has the option to upload more. The plugin provides a language switcher widget with some basic styling options. The widget can be placed in any widget area or in any menu area without any hard coding of the theme. The switcher can display language options as flags or as text. You can use the same WordPress installation to create content in many different languages. It offers an easy to use interface for managing translations.
Once you’ve got the plugin set up you can move onto translating your site’s content. Essentially, what WPML will do is generate a new URL for each page or post that will lead the user to the desired language.
Once the URL is generated you have two options:
- Allow WPML to automatically translate the content.
- Direct WPML to notify a designated editor that content is ready to be translated.
If you don’t have anyone available to translate for you, don’t worry – WPML provides a directory of affordable translators inside the plugin’s admin panel.
It is recommended to have a combination of the two options mentioned above. Allow WPML to automatically translate and then have an editor correct and revise. This method will save you time and will allow editors to focus on the text and not worry about how and where to post.
Firstly, the admin panel can be slightly confusing to get set up, especially for users new to WordPress and plugins. Save yourself a few hours of headaches and walk through the tutorials and support that WPML offers.
Secondly, there is a price tag. To take full advantage of the plugin you’ll need to pay $79 up front, and $39 each additional year. For basic functionality, you can spend as little as $29 upfront and $15 each year additional year.
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