Since WordPress originally launched as a blogging tool, it has come a long way. These days it is not only very widely used, it has also increased its functionality.
Gone are the days when asking for help in forums about different content types was met with a blanket “that’s not what WordPress is for”.
While not every developer’s cup-of-tea, many developers find it simple to extend, and more importantly, end users find it easy to work with. It works well for both small and medium sites.
While many functions have been built into WordPress core, the aim of the main developers still remains to keep the system relatively lean, with additional functionality added via themes or plugins.
That unfortunately means no native multilingual support.
Translations vs multilingual
WordPress comes in dozens of different languages. Since 2014 the non-English versions have outnumbered downloads for the English ones. That is a great statistic and shows the global use of the platform.
Nonetheless, as important as localisation is, what about providing content in multiple languages on your site?
This is where a default WordPress installation comes up short. Luckily there are a number of really useful plugins to fill the gap, such as Polylang, or back in the day qTranslate.
Multilingual plugins work in different ways. Some keep all page translations on the same page, saving data with language tags. Others create separate content and link them together, for example two about us pages in different languages.
This is what WPML does, and this is the plugin we most often use for multilingual sites.
Originally a free plugin, it turned commercial as the feature list and customer support requests grew and it has established itself as one of the most reliable multilingual plugins available.
With WPML you can create content in multiple languages and connect them. This allows visitors to easily switch between different languages on the same page.
Not only can you translate posts and pages, you can also translate categories, tags and custom post types. With additional plugins, you can translate media and language strings that appear in themes and plugins.
It works well with common plugins such as Yoast SEO. And if you don’t want to translate your content in-house, it connects with various translation services.
If you are looking to build a multilingual website for your company, WordPress is a great choice! If you need support, I would be happy to discuss your project.