While some studies peg English speakers at almost 27% of the internet using population (with only Mandarin Chinese coming close), that does not necessarily mean that YOUR site’s audience shares the same demographics. While free tools like Google Translate have come a long way and can help bridge the gap they really don’t carry the impact of custom tailored, native language copy/text. In the past, many people built and maintained what effectively amounted to two separate web sites. That can amount to a lot of additional resources, maintenance and expense; not to mention how hard it can to keep the two in sync. With WordPress, there is a better way.
WordPress has no shortage of free and open source extensions and, in general, very accommodating to creating your own, one-off solutions, but sometimes a paid solution is so far ahead of the pack that it is hard not to recommend it. I found myself when consulting for a company with a substantial Hispanic clientele. In a decision that shows a lot of foresight, they decided to launch their new site with multi-lingual support potential from day one. Together, we turned to an enterprise solution called WP Multilingual (WPML).
WPML allows you to create alternative content in practically any language, allowing you to serve up the preferred content or allow your visitors to choose. But it is not simply an extended management system for pages and posts. WPML can also process the text used in core WordPress, other plugins and comments. There is even an integrated system for contacting and using translation services, in case you lack those resources in-house.
The company behind WPML, ICanLocalize has produced a great video overview of their product:
Need help implementing this plugin in your WordPress site? Contact us for our professional services. We can also provide support & expertise in convenient “blocks” to suit your short and long term needs.
I'm the front-man of It's WordPress. I come from a diverse array of backgrounds, enjoying the opportunity to expand my knowledge base and skill set by re-inventing myself. I enjoy environments that focus on emerging information, technology and concepts. I put on the technical hat in my early 20s and never really looked back. I'm love technology and the internet, as well as the outdoors and avidly hike, kayak and camp every chance I get.
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