Multilingual WordPress: Different methods

Translating WordPress sites to different languages can be done by using a WordPress plugin, utilizing a WordPress network installation (also known as a multisite).

Multilingual site using a WordPress plugin

Plugin is the best option when the different languages are translated from the orginal articles, pages and menu items. This means that your site stays basically the same in every language, the language only changes.

Different plugins offer different features and functions. For example some of the multilingual plugins offer support for domain mapping for different languages whereas some don't. It is recommended to find out all the features of the plugin to find out which is the right one! It's a good idea to make a conscious decision, as switching from a plugin to another afterwards may be tricky once the site has been translated with one plugin.

Most popular multilingual plugins include:

  • Polylang (recommended by Seravo)
  • WPML
  • TranslatePress
  • MultilingualPress
  • Weglot

Multilingual site with WordPress network installation

Some times there is a need to build a different versions of the site for different languages. In that case the structure of the different language version is so different that simple translations of the articles, pages and menu items is not possible. In that case the WordPress network (multisite) installation is a better option than plugin.

In network installation you can create a different sites on the same WordPress installation. You can create a different language versions on subdomains or subdirectories. It is also possible to map different domain to each site.

Multilingual WooCommerce e-commerce store

WooCommerce products are the same as posts on WordPress site. The best option usually is to use a plugin, especially if the products are the same on different languages and all orders should be in one place.

If there is a need to separate all products and stock for different languages, then the network installation might be a better option. This way there will be separate e-commerce stores as well as WooCommerce setups on different sites (and languages).

Plugin translations

Sometimes there might be a need to translate a plugin. It is recommended first to check out if there is an update available that includes the needed translations.

Some multilingual plugins can also translate plugins.

Change the language in WordPress dashboard

Default language for the WordPress dashboard can be changed in the menu Settings > General > Site Language:

This language will be the default language for all users.

Users can also choose their preferred language in Users > Your Profile > Language.

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