If you are using WordPress as a CMS, then you probably want to present your content with multiple languages. Recently, I came across a WordPress blog that presents their content with three different languages, so I decided to investigate the methods and plugins to turn WordPress into a multilingual website, and share my findings with WDB’s readers.
Maintaining a multilingual website is not easy. The best way to present multilingual content to your visitors is to allow them to switch between different languages anytime. So, the plugin needs to take care of this and links different languages’ content together.
Beside linking the content, the URL of the translated content also important. There are two different ways to present your URL:
- You can have the same permalink for the translated content, and add a language flag at the end of the URL (ex: www.domain.com/multi-language-article/?lang=en, www.domain.com/multi-language-article/?lang=es, www.domain.com/multi-language-article/?lang=zh).
- The translated content will have absolutely different URL.
So, how to choose your URL is yet another main consideration before you launch the multilingual website? In SEO point of view, having an absolutely different URL will gain better advantages Later on, we are going to look into 5 different plugins to manage your multilingual WordPress website. These plugins have their pros and cons, so choosing the best plugin that suit your needs in the most important.
In my opinion, WPML is the most powerful WordPress multilingual plugin. WPML has a complete startup guide for new users and its side-wide navigation adds top navigation with drop down menus, breadcrumbs trail navigation and also sidebar navigation. WPML is rather too powerful for a simple multilingual website. You can have a lot of options and configurations through the backend admin menu. Adding a non-support language is not that easy. For example, when I tried to add a language which is not supported by default, I need to go to my MySQL backend and manually add in the SQL queries. Hopefully future version will make this easier.
qTranslate is yet another powerful multi languages WordPress plugin. It has advantages over WPML because it allows users to add new languages to the system through the Simplistic Configuration Page. In terms of URL structure, qTranslate provides three modes to make your URLs pretty and SEO friendly:- everywhere compatible ?lang=en, simple and beautiful /en/foo or nice and neat subdomain en.domain.com.
You can define multiple languages and translate posts/tags/categories using the interface that will be added to your blog’s administration panel. Adding a new user-defined language is very simple through the admin panel, but there are a couple of important things that you should check before adding a new language. For example, the language code and the language permalink. You can read more about this is the plugin website.
Setting up the language switcher plugin to work with your WordPress site does take some work. The official website provides a very comprehensive startup guide which covers installing, theme and plugin modifications, translating and Q & A.
xLanguage is a full featured plugin which allows you to blog in different language. It works for blog post, page, tags and categories. xLanguage uses tags to differentiate different languages and serve the content to the user based on their selected language.