How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Website

How to Create a Multilingual WordPress WebsiteAlthough English is the de facto language of internet, there are still billions of people who use internet on a daily basis and don’t know English. If your target audience also covers this demographic, then maybe you should consider to build a multilingual website.

Having a multilingual website sounds good but there should be many questions roaming in your head, like;

  • How can I build a multilingual website ?
  • Do I have to build a seperate website for each language ?
  • Do I have to install wordpress for each language I will use ?
  • How will I organize the content for all of these different languages ?

No worries !

It may seem as a daunting task to build a website which speaks more than one language. But, if your website is built upon WordPress, than you can turn it into a multilingual website easily by just adding a plugin called Polylang.

Let’s see how to do this step by step;

Step 1 :

First log in to your WordPress account.

In your dashboard click Plugins / Add New

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Type Polylang inside the search box.

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Polylang should appear on the upper left hand side of the page.

Click Install Now button.

It will turn into a blue Activate button.

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Click Activate button.

Step 2 :

Now you have installed Polylang.

Let’s now configure it according to your needs.

Click Plugins / Installed Plugins

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You should see Polylang on the list.

Click Settings

Inside of the Polylang’s settings section, there are four tabs : Languages, Strings Translations, Settings and Lingotek.

Step 3 :

Click Languages

Here you will define which languages will be used in your website, including the default language.

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As an example; I choose “English-en_US” and “United States Flag” as the indicator of the chosen language. The language I choose appears on the language list (upper right hand side)

In addition to English, I also add 2 more languages : German and Catalan.

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You also identify your default language in this section.

For example, if you want German to be your default language, go to German language line and move your cursor to right until you reach to star column.

When you reach to star column, a “blue star” will appear.

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Click on the blue star. It will turn into a “black star”.

Now, German is your default language.

By switching between blue and black stars, you can set your website’s default language to whatever you want.

Step 4 :

Now click String Translations tab.

In this tab, you will translate your website’s phrases like “About”, “Site Title”, Copyright” etc. which was written in your default language to the other languages of your choice.

Here you also configure the date and time format for different countries.

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Step 5 :

Now, click Settings tab.

In Settings tab, you can make different modifications like URL Modifications.

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In URL modification section, you choose how your URLs will be seen.

There are examples under each radio button choice.

So it is pretty straightforward. Just choose the one that you want.

Don’t forget to save changes.

In Detect Browser Language part, you can set the language according to the browser preference when the front page is visited.

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In Lingotek tab, you will access to professional paid translation services provided by Lingotek.

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That is it.

You have completed the configuration of your website to publish in multiple languages.

Now, you may wish to read “How to Publish a Multilingual Post Using WordPress Polylang Plugin” post to prepare your first multilingual post.

Tolga Ayan

Writes articles about WordPress, CSS & Related Web Technologies. Resident of Alpharetta, GA.

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