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A multilingual site offers content, products and / or services for their readers in several languages. Often times when you start an online business it is limited to a specific community or region, but when you are planning to expand you should consider catering to a larger demographic.
For example, a website in Western or Central Canada is initially developed only for English speakers. Being a small business, it has an English language version, but as soon as it meets the French community, it becomes mandatory to create a parallel website in French. Likewise, when a blogger starts writing for a community or cause in one language, but wants to spread their words to other regions and ethnic groups, there may be a need to transform his blog in a multilingual site.
If you are planning to expand your online store or website to other territories, be sure to create a blog section before adding translated versions. Blog for PrestaShop is one of the interactive tools to embed a publishing nook on your eCommerce site, while you can also enlist the help of a developer to write code for your online store. This tool is specifically intended for online stores using PrestaShop, it is true that you can find similar modules for Magento or even create an online store with WooCommerce.
Independent e-commerce platforms like Magento and PrestaShop have built-in functionality and support to set up a multilingual website, whereas with WordPress it is often better to install an additional plugin for this. Here are some of the expert practices and some useful plugins that you should keep in mind when creating international language versions of your site.
1. Change of language with a translation with little defect (very little)
A multilingual WordPress site expects to serve people from various linguistic backgrounds. To this end, most webmasters create multiple copies of the same website in different languages and allow switching between them. One of the reliable solutions is the automatic change of the language according to the location of the users, while leaving the discretion to the users, is also an interesting option. This automatic or manual language switching allows users to browse articles or products in their native language.
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There are tools and browsers that offer automatic translation of a web page, which is not recommended by experts. Because these applications are unable to interpret the article that a website has to convey. Word-for-word from one language to another can never reproduce the same message, which is why translation by professionals is a recommended practice.
However, there are a few premium plugins that make the translation process a lot easier. Our # 1 choice is Weglot because it offers a custom translation API as well as the option to upgrade to professional translation from a recommended provider. We also like the WPML, which helps streamline the process of creating and managing multiple translations for your site.
2. Contrary to cultural differences
In addition to the language used by your target audience, it is necessary to understand their cultural differences while setting up a multilingual WordPress site. It takes into account the use of commonly known language, tone and concepts and does not detract from any of their traditions. Care should be taken to design logos, banners and symbols that are not obscene to a community, that colors should be selected, and that do not symbolize anything else in a specific culture.
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3. Make easy access to a specific language
Creating multiple views against a different language is one of the attractive marketing techniques to reach a larger audience, but it only works perfectly if they can easily access the pages. Suppose you create an English variant of a product page, but people in England may not be able to find it if an option is not provided on the main landing page. A recommended practice is to create an option either at the top left or right of each page that clarifies the language of the current page and also allows access to other languages.
4. Carefully select a URL structure
It is always a good idea to choose an independent domain name for your business for promotion across different platforms and search engines. Once you select the primary domain name, decide how you should represent the language versions in the URL. For example, to have a localized version of your store for France, you can select one of the three methods mentioned below,
- www.vitresite.fr (top level domain of the country code)
- www.yoursite.com (having a subdomain for language or region)
- votresite.com/fr/ (creation of a sub-directory for a language)
Experts have often recommended the third method which creates subdirectories for each language as it is an affordable and easy to manage alternative.
5. Translate each string
Building a multilingual website means providing the ultimate browsing and shopping experience in a familiar or native language. Translating body text, product name and description will not work if the tag lines are written in a default language. Try to completely optimize a webpage with a language and don't miss a single point. This may require you to harmonize the overall translation which includes all lines on the page, page content, values and numbers, product name in URL, error or welcome messages, email notifications, etc.
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Again, this should be easy to manage with your translation plugin, but it is important that your theme is compatible with a translation plugin for the plugin to work properly.
That's all for this tutorial, I hope it will allow you to better translate your website.