Millions of websites use WordPress as a content management system (CMS). Making your site multilingual will allow you to reach a global audience. Multilingual websites allow you to reach a greater audience by being available in multiple languages.
We’ll show you how to make your site multilingual in this article. As well as covering how to translate the core, plugins, and themes, we will review the top 3 localization WordPress plugins. Additionally, we will compare the localization of a regular WordPress website with that of a multisite website.
How to Make Your WordPress Site Multilingual
To add more languages to your project, you’ll need to translate core, plugins, and themes. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Step 1: Install a Localization Plugin
Installing a localization plugin is the first step to making your site multilingual. One of the following three localization plugins is recommended for your CMS:
These plugins provide a range of features for translating your project and are easy to use.
Step 2: Translate WordPress Core
Once you’ve installed your localization plugin, the next step is to translate the core. This includes translating the dashboard, menus, and other default elements.
Using WPML or Polylang’s built-in translation tools, you can easily translate the core. Click on the “String Translation” or “Languages” tab in the WPML or Polylang settings page. The core strings and phrases can be translated here.
Using Loco Translate, you’ll need to create a new translation file for WordPress core. Click on the “New language” button on the Loco Translate settings page. Choose “WordPress” as the package for your language. The strings and phrases in WordPress core can be translated from here.
Step 3: Translate WordPress Plugins
Translating your plugins is the next step in making your WordPress site multilingual. You can easily translate your plugins if you use WPML or Polylang.
In the WPML -> String Translation section, click the “Translate texts in admin screens” link to translate a plugin using WPML. The translation tool allows you to change strings and phrases in your plugins.
The “Languages” tab in the plugin settings allows you to translate your plugins using Polylang. Enter the translated strings for the plugin you want to translate.
Using Loco Translate, you can translate your plugins by creating a new translation file. You can do this by going to the Loco Translate settings page and clicking the “New language” button. Click on the language you want to translate and select the plugin you want to translate. This is where you can translate the plugin’s strings and phrases.
Step 4: Translate WordPress Themes
Translating your theme is the final step in making your WP site multilingual. Themes can have many different files and templates, making translating them more challenging than translating core or plugins.
If you use WPML or Polylang, you can translate your theme using the plugin’s translation tools. You can translate a theme using WPML by going to the WPML -> String Translation section and clicking on the “Translate texts in admin screens” link. You can translate any strings or phrases that appear in your theme from here.
The “Languages” tab in the plugin settings allows you to translate your theme if you’re using Polylang. Select the theme you want to translate and enter the translated strings.
You can translate your theme using Loco Translate by creating a new translation file. Click on the “New language” button on the Loco Translate settings page. Choose your language and the theme you want to translate. In this section, you can translate the theme’s strings and phrases.
Most Common Localization Errors
The following are some of the most common errors that occur when localizing WordPress sites:
1. Incomplete translations
Incomplete translations are one of the most common errors. When you rely on machine translations or do not have a clear process for reviewing and editing translations, this can happen. The user experience can be negatively impacted by incomplete translations that result in confusing or inconsistent content.
Mistranslations are another common error. Using automated translation tools that cannot understand context or idiomatic expressions can cause this. To ensure accuracy, a human translator should review and edit translations.
3. Formatting issues
Another common error during WordPress site localization is formatting errors. Languages have different sentence structures and may require different formatting. There may be formatting issues, such as overlapping text, broken links, or incorrect font sizes, as a result.
4. Plugin/theme compatibility issues
There can be compatibility issues when using localization plugins or themes. Your site may break or function improperly as a result of conflicts between plugins or themes. To ensure compatibility, you should thoroughly test your site after adding a new plugin or theme.
5. Lack of SEO optimization
The lack of SEO optimization during WordPress site localization is a common error. When adding translations to your site, it’s important to optimize your SEO for each language. Creating language-specific metadata and using language-specific keywords is part of this process.
6. URL Structure Issues
Your URL structure can be affected by localizing your site. In order to ensure easy navigation for your users, make sure that your site’s URLs are translated and structured correctly.
7. Content Duplication Issues
Duplicate content can harm your SEO efforts and confuse your users. To avoid content duplication and optimize your site for search engines, use canonical URLs.
8. Performance Issues
The addition of translations to your project may increase its complexity and potentially slow it down. Monitor your site’s performance after adding translations, and optimize your site as necessary.
9. Compatibility Issues
Localization plugins are not compatible with all WP themes and plugins. The result can be translation errors or even a broken website. Check a localization plugin’s compatibility with your WP version and any themes and plugins you’re using before installing it.
Troubleshooting WordPress Site Localization
When localizing your resource, follow these best practices to avoid technical errors:
1. Use a Compatible Localization Plugin
Make sure the localization plugin you choose is compatible with your WordPress version and any themes or plugins you have installed. Ensure that the plugin will work seamlessly with your site’s setup by checking the plugin’s documentation.
2. Test Your Translations
Make sure your translations are accurate and readable before publishing them. You may want to hire a professional translator to help you review your translations.
3. Monitor Your Site’s Performance
The performance of your site may be affected if you add translations. Once your site has been translated, monitor its performance and optimize it as necessary. You can do this by compressing images or using a content delivery network (CDN).
4. Use Canonical URLs
By using canonical URLs, you can prevent content duplication and improve your site’s SEO. In this way, search engines can determine which version of a page to index and display in search results.
5. Consider Creating a Multisite
You might want to consider WordPress Multisite if you’re managing multiple sites in different languages. A WordPress installation can manage multiple sites, and separating translations for each site simplifies the localization process.
It is possible to successfully localize your blog and reach a wider audience by following these best practices and being aware of common technical errors. A multilingual blog can expand your reach and connect you with users around the world.
It is important to understand and address these common errors in order to ensure that your WP site localization is successful and effectively reaches your target audience. Investing time and resources in localization will help you avoid costly errors and provide a positive user experience.
Multilingual WordPress Site: Regular vs. Multisite
Let’s compare the localization of a WordPress website with a multisite now that we’ve discussed how to make your WordPress blog multilingual. A multisite is a group of websites that are all controlled by a single WordPress installation. Language settings can be customized for each site in the network.
The process of localizing a multisite WordPress website is a bit more complicated than that of a regular website. You can translate WordPress core, plugins, and themes by installing a localization plugin. A multisite network, however, requires you to install localization plugins on each site and translate each site individually.
The following is a step-by-step comparison between localization on a regular WordPress website and on a multisite website:
Regular WordPress Website Localization Checklist
- Install a localization plugin
- Translate WordPress core
- Translate WordPress plugins
- Translate WordPress themes
Multisite WordPress Website Localization Checklist
- Install a localization plugin on each site in the network
- Translate WordPress core on each site in the network
- Translate WordPress plugins on each site in the network
- Translate WordPress themes on each site in the network
Despite the fact that localization in a multisite requires more effort, it is still manageable.
Review of Top 3 Localization WordPress Plugins
There are many WordPress localization plugins available, as mentioned earlier. Here’s a review of the top 3 localization WordPress plugins:
- WPML is one of the most popular localization plugins for WordPress. It provides a range of features for translating your site, including translation management, multilingual content, and language switching. WPML is a premium plugin, with prices starting at $29 for a single site license.
- Polylang is a free localization plugin for WordPress. It provides a range of features for translating your site, including multilingual content, language switching, and custom post types. Polylang is easy to use and has a simple interface.
- Loco Translate is a free localization plugin for WordPress. It provides a range of features for translating your site, including translation management, string translation, and template translation. Loco Translate is easy to use and has a simple interface.
Overall, WPML is the most feature-rich localization plugin for WordPress, but it comes at a price. Free alternatives like Polylang and Loco Translate are great if you are on a budget.
In the End
Multilingual solutions are essential if you want to reach a global audience. Translating WordPress core, plugins, and themes is easy with the right localization plugin. With the right tools and approach, you can easily make your blog multilingual, regardless of whether it’s a regular website or a multisite.
Use one of the top 3 localization plugins we reviewed and follow the localization checklist we provided. You can make your WordPress site multilingual and reach a wider audience with a little effort.
Make Your WordPress Site Multilingual FAQ
The process of manually translating your site pages without a plugin is time-consuming and complex. To simplify the process and ensure accuracy, we recommend using a localization plugin.
A localization plugin allows you to easily create multilingual content and display it on different pages of your project.
Choosing the right localization plugin for your site depends on your specific needs and budget. Take into account the features each plugin offers, such as translation management, multilingual content, and language switching, as well as the cost.
Translations can add complexity to your site, but a well-optimized site shouldn’t experience significant performance issues. If you add translations to your site, you should always monitor its performance.
Polylang and Loco Translate are two free WordPress localization plugins that provide the features you need to create a multilingual website. While WPML offers more advanced features for managing translations and multilingual content, premium plugins offer more features for managing translations.
Localization plugins allow you to translate your site’s URL slugs, but the process varies depending on the plugin. Instructions on translating URL slugs can be found in the plugin’s documentation.