The Internet has opened avenues across the world and people of various regions and nationalities use the web extensively. This being the scenario, it is time to think of reaching out to people who do not speak, read or communicate in English or a few other international languages. The only answer seems to be to go multilingual. If you could think of making your
site multilingual, think of the amount of international traffic that will be diverted to your site, it is simply mind boggling. Here are a few tips on how to make your WordPress site multilingual and reap the benefits.
Now that you have decided to create a website in other languages as well, you don’t have to worry too much about the framework in which you site is already programmed. When you use WordPress, you have the benefit of many options in the form of plugins that should make the task a lot easier, saving precious time in the process. Each plugin comes with a unique list of features, depending on what the ultimate goal and objective of your site are. All you need to do is to plan meticulously and execute.
Start with localizing WordPress
Did you know that the installation of WordPress can be localized to several languages? Whenever you go to the homepage and download WordPress, you will find that the default language is English, if you just go to the ‘WordPress in your language’ section on Codex, you will be able to install your preference for WordPress backend. There are many options that you can use to do your translations. However, you need to be prepared to spend some time and money in order to get a perfect translation that is acceptable to you and your client.
Plugins for translations
Plenty of benefits
This form of instant translation is very beneficial to site owners as the person seeking to translate will never have to leave your site even for a minute. In today’s fast paced world, you cannot afford a customer to get diverted even for a second, as it is important to hold the attention of a visitor to your site. The great thing is that you do not have to do anything much other than having the plugin in position. Another great advantage is that you can choose any of Google’s languages that are available without having to pay anything extra.
Pay and Use
The only drawback, if you could call it that is that you need to pay $20 per month for using Google Translator API, version 2, with a cap of 50 million characters. Another point to remember is that the Google brand presence will be felt as all the translated documents will carry the Google stamp. You may also run the risk of having to put up with subtle errors as the work is being done by a machine. The saving grace however is that you can use Google’s Translation Editor to check the content for errors that may have crept in.
Help from Servers for translation plugins
Alternatively, for those of you who wish to exercise more control over the content in other languages, the option of open source software exists. These server-side plugins are adept at handling general website translation issues. The best would be to explore possibilities of creating a development WordPress install and check out how it works for you. There are some multilingual WordPress plugins like Multilingual Press that make it a lot easier to build multilingual websites and use WordPress’ multisite feature, for which you need to first setup WordPress multisite installation. If you anticipate more traffic in a particular language, you could devote a site or blog exclusively for that language and have Multilingual-Press create duplication of content.
How to detect the user’s language
You don’t have to wrack your brains too much about how to detect what the user’s language is. There are WordPress plugins that are specifically meant to detect the user’s location and language. The other multilingual plugin options that you could investigate are qTranslate, Polyglot, mLanguage, Language Switcher. In case you need more options, a search for WP plugin directory will yield excellent results. You will find plugins that are listed with ratings, and you should obviously choose the ones with the best ratings. However, Google is yet to create a mechanism to differentiate translated content from content that has been duplicated in another language. An element of risk does exist.