How to Create Multilingual WordPress Site

In this step by step tutorial, we will show you how to easily create a multilingual WordPress site with WPML plugin.

We will compare different multilingual plugins. Together we will setup the plugin, languages, menu language picker and translate our first post and menu.

multilingual wordpress

Multilingual WordPress Plugins

There are multiple plugins for this purpose, whether paid or free. In addition to paid WPML, qTranslate X and Polylang are best known.

Plugin qTranslate X has not been updated for a long time and users report problems.

Polylang plugin also exists in a free version, but it has limited options.

Plugins Comparison

You can find a more detailed comparison in the table on this page of the WPML website.

For example, the table shows that WPML has the most functionalities. It’s another advantage is that it is compatible with many plugins and themes. It is worth mentioning that it also works with WooCommerce.

In addition to plugins, you can create multilingual WordPress website via WordPress multisite, where each site represent one language. However, there is more complicated administration of such website.

So we consider WPML as the best way to create a multilingual WordPress website. We also used it on our punchWP.com website.

1. How to install WPML

At first, you need to choose and buy the right license. It is possible to choose a Blog version or Multilingual CMS. We use the second one. It is more expensive, but it allows us to completely translate all parts of the website (widgets, custom fields, etc.).

WPML versions comparison

Sign in to your account and go to the section Downloads:

WPML downloads

Download WPML Multilingual CMS:

WPML multilingual CMS

Note: As you can see, there are more products to download that extend the functionality of the basic plugin. However, this is beyond the scope of this manual.

Upload the downloaded plugin to WordPress via Plugins -> Add new -> Upload plugin:

Wordpress upload plugin

Click on Install Now and Activate the plugin.

2. Setup WPML plugin

Click on Configure WPML:

Configure WPML

Select the language existing contents are written in:

wpml content language

Choose the Translation languages (you can also add and remove languages later):

wpml translation languages

In the next step choose the order of the languages, which you want to see in language switcher:

wpml language switcher

Click on Add a new language switcher to a widget area:

wpml menu language switcher

Setup menu language switcher based on your needs:

wpml setup menu switcher

TIP: You can see its appearance based on the setting in the top right corner.

In the last step, we will add a license key that we can get even after clicking the button Generate a key for this site:

wpml registration

Done, now we have the plugin set up and we can go to the post translation.

3. Post translation

Open the article, which you want to translate.

In the upper right corner of the window, check Duplicate and confirm with Duplicate:

wpml duplicate post

Switch to the duplicate post by clicking on the right language in the top menu:

wpml switch to duplicate

Click Translate independently to disable synchronization with original post:

wpml translate independently

Translate the post title, slug and body:

wpml translate post

Save the post. Now we have successfully translated our first post.

4. Menu translation

Open the menu, which you want to translate and click on right language:

wpml menu translation

Input Menu Name and menu items:

wpml save menu

Do not forget to Save Menu.

Summary

The purpose of this tutorial was to show you how to make a multilingual WordPress web. We showed the basic functionality of the WPML plugin. In the next tutorials, we’ll show you the more advanced features of this multilingual WordPress plugin.

How to Create Multilingual WordPress Site
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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at punchWP.com is a team of WordPress experts led by Vladimír Juroško.

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