Multilingual Sites in WordPress

If you really want your site to connect with any many people as possible, you should consider translating your content into multiple languages. Luckily WordPress has a few options that can make running a multi-language site fairly easy.

The first thing to keep in mind is that neither of these options will translate your content for you. You can always install a Google Translate plugin, however the quality of the translation can be poor and leave your intended audience scratching their head over what you’re trying to tell them. Good translation by a service like CAPITA or One Hour Translation can get expensive, so take a look at where your traffic is coming from and choose the languages based on numbers.

WPML is the industry standard for regular WordPress installations. It’s easy to install and can be used out of the box; it also allows for IP redirection, custom language codes and translation management. The standard language switcher can be a little bit of an eyesore, but some simple CSS can change the look and feel. Because WPML is a premium plugin, it comes with support, but the price tag can run a little high for some casual bloggers.

Another option is WP Multisite. This option is generally frowned up since it can require more maintenance and is not really the goal of a Multisite Installation. If you’re setting up a new installation of WordPress, you have the choice of Subdomains (domain.com/new) or Subdirectories (new.domain.com). Older installations will only be able to choose subdomains. Some users prefer WPMU because it allows for more customization of the installed theme for specific regions and you have more control over navigation.

Which ever option you choose, giving access to users across multiple regions and languages can bring financial benefits and additional traffic to your site.

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