Yes, it’s a small world that is getting smaller. And businesses that want to grow their audiences and revenue are looking to expand into foreign lands. And as they do, they understand the need for translation and localization of their websites, blogs, and even social media posts. So how to create a multilingual WordPress blog?
Blogs can be especially important, because they are the means by which companies establish relationships with potential customers and provide important information, entertain, and even inspire.
The good news is this – it’s easy. The other good news? If you want a multilingual blog, you will not need to setup a multi-blog or have unique WordPress installs for each language you have chosen.
How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Blog?
You do have two options to build your multilingual WordPress site.
- You can manually translate all of your blog posts into the languages you have chosen.
- You can use Google Translate which is a machine translation. While Google machine translation is certainly continually improving, you may not be completely happy with the results.
The first option is clearly the best, if you have the resources and the budget for it. This approach will give you the most accurate translation and that translation, including images and media will take into account the cultural appropriateness of the target audience.
If you choose to use Google Translate, the quality will not be as good, and images/media will not take cultural suitability into account. If you take this option, there will be “switcher” on each post that will allow a user to select his language of choice.
The Manual Translation Option
Here are the simple steps for this option:
- Install the Polylang plugin. Be certain to activate it.
- On your dashboard, go to “settings” and choose “languages.” This is how you will configure the languages you are choosing (you can always add more later.)
- On the languages setting, there will be three tabs:
- The first one is “languages.” Here you will add the actual languages. Be sure to identify the default language and then the others you want to use.
- The second tab is “Strings Translations.” Here is where you will add the title of your blog, a short description and then the date and time format you want to use in each language.
- The third tab is “settings.” Choose your default language which is how your blog will first come up when accessed. Then there are other technical settings you will want to set too, such as the URL. In the beginning, it is probably a good idea not to change the URL.
Note also that on this settings page, you will be asked about “pretty permalinks.” By checking the second option, you will further optimize your posts for multi-language SEO.
Also, check the option to detect browser language, because that will automatically bring up the post in the user’s language.
Be sure to click the “save” button when finished.
- Now to Add Content. All you do here is write a new post. On the “Add New Post” screen follow the directions to add the title, etc. It will automatically add the post in the default language, but you will have options for the other languages you already have selected. So, now all you do is get your post translated into the language you want, go back to the screen and select the language from the options on the right and add the translated post.
If your blog is divided into categories, you can also have those translated. Just go to “posts” and then “categories” add each category and check the languages you want.
- Putting a Multilingual WordPress “Switcher” on your blog site.
You can also add a switcher in your sidebar area that will let users select from among the languages into which you have your posts translated. Just go to “Appearance,” then “Widgets.” You will have the option to choose “language switcher” and can then select your languages by name and even country flag. Just remember to click “save” when you are finished. So, when a post is pulled up, the reader can choose his/her language from the sidebar.
Why This is Your Best Option
Here’s the thing about translation. It’s not just about translation. It is also about localization. And if you want to gain an audience abroad, your content, your visuals, and all else must be culturally suitable for each audience.
For this reason alone, you should use a reputable translation service. For information and as a resource, check out The Word Point best practices explanation of what a professional translation/localization service should do for you. It should have native experts in your target languages, should provide human translation, should assign individual translators to your posts, and should always arrange for regular communication between you and your translator throughout the localization process. You want to be involved in any and all decisions that are made regarding localization especially.
The Google Translation Option
If you simply do not have the budget or resources for human translation, you can opt to use Google Translate – a resource that will automatically translate your blog posts into any language you choose making a multilingual WordPress site.
Here’s how you do this:
- You must first install and activate the Google Language Translator plugin.
- Just like with manual translation, you must then configure the plugin. Go to “settings” and select Google Language Translator. You will then see a list of all the languages available.
- This configuration is customizable in many ways, so you will want to go through all of the options and select what you want.
- Because this can get a bit tricky, your best bet is to take an offered Google Translate tutorial and go step-by-step through the detailed instructions.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with the information you need to:
- Choose your option – manual translation or Google Translate
- Get set up with the right plugins and understand how to configure them
- Reach out to foreign audiences with your great posts, grow those audiences, and grow your business at the same time.
Margaret Reid is a freelance writer who is seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth. Currently she`s working in the company The Word Point and trying to improve herself in the blogging career. Margaret is an experienced and self-driven specialist who cannot imagine her life without writing.