Most blog owners stay away from adding translation to their website because of the perception that the configuration and setup are complicated and difficult to manage. This may be true with non-WordPress websites but the WordPress platform has some really awesome plugins that help us to set up a multilingual website in just a few clicks. Before going into the details of this let us first see why we need a website that supports multiple languages.
Why is a multilingual website an added advantage?
- English is not actually a universal language. It is understood by about 20% of the world population meaning that with just English content we are not reaching the majority of the people.
- Our ad revenues may skyrocket if our content becomes popular in countries like China or Russia.
- A multilingual site also has the potential to increase our sales.
- It brings an international image to our website.
- It overcomes the cultural barrier and makes the readers more comfortable thereby gaining us more loyal visitors.
How can we set up a multilingual WordPress website?
We have two different options to create a multilingual website. The first option is by using the Gooogle Translate plugin which provides us with a completely free solution to translate our content to more than 100 languages. But this option has a limitation. The translation may not be perfect and hence might not be as effective as we think.
The second option is to manually translate our content to provide a better user experience. But this option requires us to have enough resources to pay for the translation. If we think that our blog is popular in one or two non-English speaking countries then it would be really worth to spend some money on translating our content to these languages. In this blog, I will show you how to make our WordPress blog multilingual in less than 5 minutes. This setup requires us to have the translated content ready with us while we start.
Step1: Install and activate TranslatePress WordPress plugin
Step2: Now we can go to plugin settings from the TranslatePress option under Settings.
Step3: In the General settings section, we have to add our required language. For demo purposes, I am adding French as my second language.
The other default options can be left as such.
I have unchecked the last Floating language selection checkbox as we are going to add a menu item for the translate feature and so it is quite unnecessary to add a floating bar together with the menu. Finally, click the Save Changes button.
Step4: Now let us go to Appearance => Menus to add our Translatepress menu item.
I am going to add this menu to my header.
For this select the header menu from the dropdown and click Select button. Now select the Custom Links option and add # as the URL value and the French translation of our desired menu text as the Link Text. I have entered the French translation for “Choose a language” text.
Step5: The next step is to add the language switching options under this menu. For this expand the Language Switcher tab on the left and select the two checkboxes and click Add to Menu button.
One important thing to note here is that the menu items that we have added now are not under our main menu.
To move both of these items under the main menu we to expand each of the menu items and click the Move Under Choisissez la langue option as shown below.
Once this is done our menu structure would be as follows.
Now click the Save Menu option.
Step6: Let us now see how we can translate our blog content into French. First let us translate our menu, widget, header and footer strings to French. Go to plugin settings as before and select the Translate Site option.
This will take us to the home page with options to add the translation for the available text as shown below. After clicking on each item enter the translation in the To French textbox and click Save translation button. This method is actually not suitable for translating our post/page content.
For this go to the post edit section and click View.
Step7: We have a Translate Page option on the header menu of each post/page as shown below.
This will take us to a page with options to add French content for our post/page. Once the content is added click Save translation button to commit our changes. Similarly, we have to translate each of our posts and pages.
Let us now see how our multilingual site looks like after all our translation. We can first see our home page and one post.
Now let us select the French language option from our header menu.
We can now see the French translated content of our blog post.
Similarly, we can view our home page in French.
Thus is a few simple steps we have set up an awesome multilingual WordPress website. The paid version of this plugin provides us with options to translate the SEO elements associated with each page or post such as slug, meta description, etc. The premium version also allows us to add an unlimited number of translation languages along with creating role-based translator accounts. Thus we could assign someone to deal with the content translation without providing admin rights.
Note: There is a demo of TranslatePress available at this link to have a better understanding of the features.