Making Your WordPress Website Multilingual

The need for a Website

The internet has exploded into our lives with a lot of prominence,especially over the last few years. The internet was introduced into our lives as a result of personal computers being made more affordable. In the 1990’s it was traditionally the established businesses which were turning to the Internet to enhance their communication abilities with their colleagues. As the years quickly rolled on so did technology which allowed the Internet to be easily consumed by the masses. Personal computers were upgraded to laptops which themselves have since been superseded by smartphones as the most mobile way to engage with the Internet.
As the Internet became more prominent in our daily lives businesses turned to the Internet not only to use for communication or research purposes but to actually use for commerce. The reason behind the internet becoming a commercial tool is down to people finding the internet extremely resourceful to use and the reason behind the internet being so resourceful, well websites or rather the amount of websites on the Internet. As websites grew demand for data grew and is a circle that we continually find ourselves in.
Websites are the core of the Internet and can come in various forms (e.g. being programmed in either ASP or PHP). With websites being the shop front of any business or organisation it is crucial that the realm of the Internet is realised.

The Purpose of a Website

Simply having a website online does not mean that the website is primed for people all over the globe, it merely means that a website is online which can be understood by people who can read that specific language (in our case mostly English).
Websites are generally presented only in English in the mature internet markets such as USA and the UK. However what most of these businesses fail to comprehend is that English is not the largest spoken language in the world. In Brazil, for example only 5% of the population can read and speak English – but more interestingly it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Italy and Spain have less than 39% of the population who are comfortable with the English language.
This tells us that websites in English are not meant to be global. To reach a wider audience websites need to be accurately translated for each country.

Translating a WordPress website

The Translate is a WordPress plugin which can be installed which soothes the process involved ingetting a WordPress based website adequately translated. The best way to install it is to search for the plugin “qTranslate” and the results will show a plugin called qTranslate which is developed by Qian Qin. Upon installation and activation the default language will always be English however there is an option to add the languages to which you would want to translate to.
Figure 1. The Plugin Languages
The qTranslate plugin in action makes the translation of content even more fluid. It allows the content to be translated via a machine but for the professional websites it allows the option of getting human translators involved and allows the translations to be done on a page per page basis. The following image identifies this:
Figure 2. Translation of Posts
There are a couple of other plugins in the mould of what qTranslate does but they each operate in their own respective way. The advantage with qTranslate is that the user has an option to either use a language translator to get their content translated for free or for the extremely important pages use a human translation service. Machine led translations can make a website multilingual but the danger is the accuracy in the translations as the translation services of a human is often required. The beauty in this plugin is that this process is very seamless.

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