MOBILE SEO: Why it Matters and How ... Previous Post
How To Create GEO-Targeted Landing ... Home Comment
These days, the web allows you to make your local business a global one. But in order to do that effectively, you need to speak the language. WPML Multilingual CMS can make translating your website much easier. While it is a paid plugin, I think you will find that it’s well worth the cost. But keep in mind that it doesn’t actually translate the pages for you, it only sets up sister pages so you can keep your site organized and mirror you site for all the languages you’d like to use.
For my most recent site, I was able to use the cheapest version, Multilingual Blog, but you will need to buy a higher version if you want e-commerce support, to translate widgets, translate texts in theme and plugins admin, and manage attachments in different languages.
Even the lowest price version has quite a few options so you can make the translation capabilities as simple or detailed as you like. To begin, you will want to translate your main pages and your menus into another language. Later you will also have the ability to translate your posts, custom post types, and even your taxonomies, if you so desire.
1) Setting Up The Plugin
Once you install the plugin, you will want to find WPML in your dashboard menu and choose Languages. Then the first option is to choose the languages you’d like to use on your site. Simply check them off.
Then you will choose your Language URL format. You can choose to have different languages in different directories (this is what I prefer – yourwebsite.com/ja/translated-page), or a subdomain (ie ja.yourwebsite.com for your Japanese translation), or even just have it show as a parameter after the domain (ie yourwebsite.com?lang=ja).
Next choose how people will navigate to your translated pages. You can add an option in the main menu or a separate widget. You can choose to show just the flags, just the text, or both.
2) Translating Your Pages
As I mentioned, WPML doesn’t actually translate the pages for you, but there are options to get the translation done.
Once you’ve set up the plugins, when you look at All Pages in your dashboard, you will see your original pages, and then you will see a flag over each language you wish to translate your site into. The site below is being translated into Japanese only. Under the appropriate flag, you will see a pencil icon if that page has already been translated. Click the pencil to edit your translation. You will see the round arrow icon if that page has not yet been translated. Clicking that arrow will create a sister page to the current one where you can translate it into the new language.
3) Translating Menus
Once you’ve got your pages translated, you will need to give people a way to get to them. That means translating your menus. There are two ways to do that.
To do this, just go to where you would normally change your menus Appearance > Menus. From there, click on the language to start creating the menus in the different languages. This will be the menu that people will see when they use that language widget we talked about earlier.
So, your English menu that looks like this:
Will now look like this:
Automatic Sync Option
To use WPML’s menu sync, go to WPML > WP Menu Sync in your dashboard. WPML will show you what it’s going to do. You’ll see which entries will be added or removed from the translated menus. Click on the Sync button to perform the selected operations.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to have all the pages translated. This menu will be whatever you created in your dashboard to match that menu. If you have other menus, like a sidebar menus, sister menus in different languages can be created the same way.
WPML has many other options to translate the other areas of your site as well, but with minimal effort, you can get by in at least having some pages translated and translate the other areas as time and budget allow. With that being said, what is stopping you from reaching those global markets?