Multiple languages on a WordPress website

There are several methods to manage a website in different languages. We will list the possibilities and pick up the optimal ones to get working efficiently.

From my own experience, I’ve been using different plugins and different ways of providing translations to a website.

With WordPress, a website can be configured either by using a sub domain or by adding a location parameter to the url such as : linkstraffic.net/uk/

or linkstraffic.net/?lg=uk

 

WPML multilingual CMS

This plugin is truly a CMS as it provides a lot features which we overview here :

First of all you need to go to their website and purchase their product, it isn’t free but if you are serious about managing your translations then this CMS is the right tool, it will save you time, we will see this later. For now, buy it and upload the downloaded package to your wordpress site (https://wpml.org/) :


/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms

You just need to activate it, to do so, please follow these steps (they are also described on their site) :

  1. Add your website to your WPML account
  2. Input the key you received after 1st step

 

 

If needed, you may add a few related plugins :

Then activate the ones you want at the moment but sincerely activate these ones :

  • string translations
  • page builders
  • translation management

WPML Configuration

When you follow the steps using the interface on your website, there is nothing much to say about it :

  1. Pick up your default language (the one currently displayed on your main pages)
  2. Add the language(s) you want
  3. Select options according to your needs

Translating content

Of course the purpose of this whole process is to get your site translated with no hassle, there are a few options to pick up from the plugin :

  • Cloudwords (allows you to connect and load automatically the translations on your website, it provides machine translation functions)
  • Gengo

Cloudwords needs a bit of time to set up as you should get in touch with their services or at least it is what I understood, as a developer myself, when it takes too much time, I try something else and Gengo was the second so I signed up and got my API key in 2 minutes :

You should add some credit to your Gengo account otherwise it won’t work. To achieve this you need to navigate under your account and click on Top-up as follow :

After adding credits, you can get back to your wordpress website under WPML activate the Gengo plugin and fill in the public and private keys.

It should work smoothly and your website is ready !

Now the interesting part

Go to your WPML translation management section and select the pages to translate.

Click on the Add to basket button and check the basket tab in order to access the Send to Gengo button.

Depending on the number of pages/articles it might take some time to upload into your Gengo account.

Once this step is done, you can check the status of your order under the tab : Current translation jobs.

And if you have enough credits on Gengo, then you can see your new order inside your account. Otherwise, add some credits and try again the process, you should end up with this on your account :

That image shows the different sections of the page using Visual Composer.

Note on Gengo and others : a few bugs may occur if you are using Visual composer and other similar plugins, duplicates of sections can increase the price of your translations. In that case either contact Gengo or use a different system. If the cost is important to you, you would rather use a direct translator via freelancer.com and other networks.

Alternative

In case you’ve missed the automatic procedure and decided to fill in an order onto Gengo or another website for any reason… well basically if you have a translator who has got a page translated for you, you can give him access to your website like a common user and define him as a translator :

The above image shows you the new translator called assistant, the screen-shot is in French but you can easily guess the meaning, do you ?

Here are the steps to assign a translation job to the user :

  1. Under your WPML dashboard, pick up the page(s) you wish to translate
  2. Add it to the basket and get there (there is a notification in red)
  3. Select the translation type and choose the one you wish

Now on the translator side, if you go under WPML and Translations, you will access the work in progress :

Now click on the Translate button and follow the instructions to add your translated text. You will see each fields to translate and you must click on a button to copy the original text inside a new textbox where the translation occurs.

Once this is done at 100%, you click on the button at the bottom to save the changes. A new page/post will be available in the corresponding language and depending on the way you configure your theme, a new link will be available to tell visitors about the new content in their preferred language.

Menus translation

For menus and footers there is a page where you can verify the status with WPML, open up the menu under WPML and Synchronize WP Menus.

But that’s not the place to work with menus and footers, you should go to the usual menu parameters under Appearance and work from your current menus, follow the steps :

  1. Add a translation of your selected menu (click the link on your right)
  2. Fill in the name of your menu
  3. Click the Create menu button
  4. Add translated elements to the menu
  5. Save the menu

It should appear on your translated pages.

Repeat the steps for all your menus.

Conclusion

That’s it for now about WPML, any updates will be inserted right on this page. Working with WPML is quite nice as it allows the user to save time compared to any other plugins, we’ve tried to use Qtranslate which is a good one but when it comes to integrate with Visual Composer and other page builders, there is a serious advantage with the professional solution. Remember saving time is like saving money so think twice before going with one another solution.

When it comes to translating a website you must also think about SEO and web marketing, for instance think about this :

  • Does a website in French perform as much as if it were in English ?

In other words, the same design, structure and appeal will generally be of different impact depending on the type of visitors so finally you would rather use different domains if not different names for your website in English version and in French (or any languages).

The services/products your are selling, the information you are giving away, the category of your content… all of these must be taken in consideration before you decide to go with one translation schema !

We hope this article has helped you and we welcome any type of constructive comments!

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