WordPress and Multi-Language Support

WordPress

Have you tried to set up multi-language support with WordPress only to be frustrated by a significant lack of support? If so, it’s not without reason. According to the official WordPress documentation, the platform ‘does not support a bilingual or multilingual blog out-of-the-box‘. Developers suggest using a plugin.

Before we get to a selection of plugins you might find helpful, let us first discuss why multi-language support may be important to some site owners. WordPress users in Canada are an excellent example.

A site owner may be based in Toronto, primarily serving English-speaking Canadians along the country’s southern border. But what if that business owner wanted to expand his reach into areas like Montréal and Québec? Any expansion into French-speaking areas may present a problem – at least linguistically, if not politically. Making the site available in French would mitigate any potential problems.

The reality is that some WordPress users expand into regions where different languages are spoken. But because WordPress does not support multiple languages out-of-the-box, we are left to making it work using plugins. Below are three plugins you might consider for your site.

1. Polylang (Chouby)

One of the more popular multi-language plugins for WordPress is Polylang. To date, it boasts more than 100,000 active installs and is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. You can use this plugin to add as many languages as you want, as long as those languages are supported by WP compatible language packs. The plugin offers an easy to use interface that is also multilingual, and the ability to designate different languages for various pages and posts on your site.

2. WPGlobus (TIV.NET INC.)

This plugin is one that enables you to manually translate just about anything on your WordPress site into virtually any language in the world. Because it’s not automatic, you have to translate piece by piece and then create new pages or posts that will display that content. Users switch their language of choice with a drop-down menu widget you place on your site. WPGlobus currently has more than 10,000 active installs.

3. QTranslate-X (Clause)

This plugin offers dynamic multi-language translation in a rather interesting way. It embeds a translation button that enables the website user to choose a new language for viewing. The plugin then summons an online translator that converts the text on-the-fly. The downside to this plugin is that you have to decide what elements on any given page or post will be allowed for translation. This can be rather cumbersome if you have a large site already up.

It should be apparent from reviewing these three plugins that multi-language support is not an easy thing to accomplish in WordPress. There are certainly other content management systems that do a better job in this arena. Nonetheless, if you are willing to put in the time to search for a plugin and learn how to use it, it is possible to offer your website in any languages you know your customers are likely to speak.

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