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The world is getting smaller and smaller, but despite this, language is still a common stumbling block between success at the local level and that of a global juggernaut. Unless you learn how to build a multilingual WordPress website, you will never be able to reach your full potential.
Although translating your website is a difficult task, it can be done. Lucky for us, WordPress makes the process easier than it would be on other platforms, thanks to its powerful plugin management system.
In this article, we will teach you how to create a multilingual WordPress website (using the WordPress WPML plugin ) in just four steps. However, before rolling up our sleeves, let's take a minute to talk about how this WordPress plugin works and what are its main features.
The WordPress WPML plugin is a multilingual plugin solution that provides you with almost everything you need to add new languages to your website, switch between them, and even translate your WordPress Back End. Like with other WordPress plugins, WPML doesn't actually translate your website for you - it just gives you the tools to do it efficiently.
It is important to note that there are many other plugins that perform similar tasks. However, WPML - in our opinion - offers a more comprehensive set of features, which can be appealing to businesses large and small.
Its main features
- Ability to add new languages to a WordPress website.
- Permission granted to users to switch from one language to another at will.
- Possibility to translate your WordPress back end to other languages.
- Support for customized publications, pages and types of publications.
WPML subscriptions start from $ 29 per year.
How to create a multilingual WordPress website (in 4 steps)
Before we get started, it's important to back up your WordPress website. Backups are crucial, especially when you are about to add new features, and to that end, we suggest you check out this list of 7 WordPress plugins to save your website / Blog.
Step # 1: Install and activate the WPML plugin
Although you may be aware of how to install WordPress plugins, we will still show you how to do it.
After purchase of a subscription from the WPML plugin, you will get a link to download a file ZIP. Once you have done that, go to your WordPress dashboard and in the side menu click on Extensions Then on Add. From there, select click Upload an extension and locate the downloaded WPML file on your computer.
Click on Installer, and once the process is complete choose the option Activate the extension. That's all ! We are ready for the second step.
Step # 2: Determine the languages of your website
Once this WordPress plugin installed, you will notice a new tab WPML in your dashboard. Navigate to WPML and the plugin will ask you to select the current language of your website before proceeding:
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Click on Next, and you will be asked to choose the new languages for your website by checking the relevant boxes. There are dozens of choices, so take your time:
So far all is well, isn't it? Now we need to add a dedicated function to the language switcher, so that users can choose from the options that our website will offer.
Step # 3: Configure a language switch
Simply put, a language switcher is a tool that users interact with to switch from one language to another.. It usually comes in the form of a drop-down list, a collection of flags, or a widget.
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After choosing the new languages for your website, you will be prompted to add a switch. Go on Language selector of the widget and click on the button Add a new language selector to the widget area
In the popup that opens, To move forward we need to define the widget area, the style of our language selector and also activate the way languages will appear in our menus. However, these options are purely cosmetic, so they are up to you.
Then click on the button Apply to validate your configurations
Then go to the next tab. Choose an option and click next.
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Then save the key for your product.
Once you've saved your changes, we're almost done! There is only one key step left in our list: preparing our content for translation.
Step # 4: Prepare your content for translation
As we mentioned earlier, WPML doesn't automatically translate your content for you. Machine translations are still not at a point. So you will either need to do this job, or outsource it.
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If you choose the option Edit for any of your posts and pages (or custom post types) you'll find a new meta-box next to the WordPress editor:
Here you can set the primary language of your post, and choose whether you want to set it as the translation of another page. For example, you can create a new page, select a new language, and mark it as a translation of your home page. If a user switches between languages while on the home page, they land on the page you just created.
You can also choose to add specific languages to your pages, which will prompt WPML to create copies of them. This way, you can preserve their structure and limit your changes to translating their content.
Now you are ready to start the actual translation process. If you are multilingual, you can do this work yourself - if not, check out WPML's guide to translating contents, which will direct you to all the resources you will need.
It can even help you translate your WordPress themes and plugins!
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You will need to put some effort if you want to create a website WordPress multilingual, but the rewards can be plentiful. Not only will you have access to a much larger audience, and your website will also be more professional.
If this sounds like a win-win proposition for you, here are the four steps you need to know to build a website. WordPress multilingual:
- Install and activate the WPML plugin.
- Determine the new languages for your website.
- Configure a language switch.
- Prepare your content for translation.
However, you will also be able to consult our resources, if you need more elements to carry out your projects of creation of Internet sites, by consulting our guide on the WordPress blog creation or the one on Divi: the best WordPress theme of all time.
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