How to make your WordPress site multilingual

April 26, 2017 by khuanitabright

Let’s say your WordPress site made it big and you have a large readership in a completely different country. For now, let’s pretend it’s Spain. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have your website translated into Spanish, in order to reach an even larger audience within Spain? I am sure it would be. Blogs, such as the JOBVINE blog, make use of this function as they have a global readership in many different countries. In this article, I will show you how to translate your WordPress site.

Find a good multilingual plugin

I highly recommend a plugin called WPML. This plugin offers many different ways in which you can translate your website. They allow you the option to translate your blog manually (if you have a translator on board) or you can have your content translated through WPML. There are also other plugins you may use, such as Polylang and qTranslate.

Translate your content

Once you have installed and activated your multilingual plugin, as well as selected your desired language(s) for translation, it is easy to translate individual blog posts. The translation process is fairly straight-forward. Polylang and WPML create two (or more) separate posts, displaying the content in different languages.

Translating Metadata, attachments, and images

Translating each post’s metadata along with the post itself is very important. Since all posts are replicated from the original to the translation, it would only be fitting for the metadata of each post to match it’s translated text. The same applies to images and attachments. WPML has a feature that will allow you to translate Metadata automatically.

Menus and Widgets need translating too

It would be weird to have an English Menu with Spanish content. It would be even weirder to have English widgets that will redirect you to Spanish content. WPML has built in features to help translate your menus. Simply go to your dashboard and click on ‘appearance’ > ‘menus’ – there should be an option for you to translate your menu. For widgets, you click ‘appearance’ > ‘widgets’. Another way to do this would be to go to the ‘Language’ option on your dashboard menu.

Translating your theme used to be tricky

With great plugins such as Polylang, WPML, and qTranslate, translating your theme literally takes second. Most themes these days have a built-in translation option but this applies mostly to premium or paid themes. For free themes, a plugin would be the best way to translate your blog.

Finally, add your language switcher

Language switchers ensure that your readers are able to switch back and forth between languages. Eg. English, Spanish.

This will help your readers to navigate your site in the language of their choice. Your language switcher can be coded into your theme or you can insert a language switcher from the WPML plugin (if WPML is installed). You can add it to your Primary menu or your footer.

In closing, it would be strongly advised not to use google translate to translate your sites as their translations are inaccurate. Translating data via WPML takes a bit of time, therefore, getting a professional translator would be the better option. Good luck with translating your site!