Multilingual WordPress: different methods

Translating WordPress sites to different languages can be accomplished with a plugin or network (multisite) installation.

Multilingual site using an 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 offers a different features and functions. For example some of the multilingual plugins offers a support for domain mapping for different languages and some don't. It is recommended to find out all the features of the plugin before choosing the right one. It might be pretty hard to change the plugin after the site has been translated.

Most popular multilingual plugins:

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

Multilingual site with 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 basically same as articles on WordPress site so 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 language, then the network installation might be a better suitable option. Then there is different e commerce stores and WooCommerce setups in different sites and languages.

Plugin translations

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

Some multilingual plugins can also translate plugins.

Change language from WordPress control panel

Default language for the WordPress control panel can be changed from Settings > General > Site Language:

This language will be the default language for all users.

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

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