How to Create a Multilingual WordPress site with WPML


Creating a multilingual WordPress Site with WPML


A latest study shows that most of the sites use English as the primary language and there is a huge scope for other languages. This is exactly why many site owners and bloggers are working on building sites in languages other than English. Using WordPress you can actually build sites in many languages. The WordPress does not come with a default setting to use multiple languages this is why we are writing this article so that the readers get to know how exactly they can develop their WordPress sites in many different languages. To do this you will have to use the WPML plugin.

Why do you need to create a multilingual site in WordPress?

Many users may feel why they need to create a site in different languages apart from English. After all most of the people using the internet understand English and they want to see articles in English only. This is not exactly true there is a huge demand for sites and articles in languages apart from English. There are many countries that still do not use and teach English as an official language.

As a WordPress user you must know that WordPress allows you to use any language that you want to develop your sites. It is very easy to create multi lingual websites using WordPress. You must also be aware of the fact that WordPress is translation ready and it can easily translate the language used to build the site.

No matter what but WordPress can support only one language at a time as a default setting. If you want to use multiple languages so that you can get more and more readers to your site then you will have to use the WPML plugin. Many government sites, educational institutes and organisations doing international business have to develop a site that can use multiple languages at the same time because these institutes are catering to the needs of people across the world. Google translate is available but most professional organisations do not accept it as they find it incompetent on many levels.

If you want to offer multiple languages on your WordPress site then you can choose the option of installing WordPress in subdomains in each language. It sounds good but if you want to do it practically you will realise that it can be quite a challenge. You will have to manage the updates and backup all these installations done for each language.

This is exactly why WordPress has come up with a very good solution called the WPML (WordPress multilingual plugin) it can help the users to build WordPress sites in multiple languages and in no time. With this you will just need to use the same WordPress installation to build site in different languages.

When you start using WPML you will realise how well it can support different languages. It can also offer easy interface for managing all the translations. It will also let you add the language switching option so that the users can change the language preference.

So now that you know what WPML is and how you can use it in your sites we will move on to the next topic on how exactly you can use WPML and build WordPress sites in how many ever languages that you want.

How to create a multilingual WordPress site with the help of WPML plugin

The first step will be to download the WPML plugin. We have explained in our previous articles on how exactly you can download and install the WordPress plugins. Please follow the same steps and once you have activated the WPML plugin successfully you can move to the next step.

We must mention here that WordPress multilingual plugin is a paid plugin and it is worth the payment that you will be making. Many WordPress sites from across the world are using this very helpful and simple  to use plugin in order to create sites on multiple languages and we definitely recommend the WordPress multilingual plugin to all the WordPress users who need to create sites in multiple languages.

Once you have activated the WordPress multilingual plugin you will see a WPML labelled item appearing in the WordPress menu. Once you click on it you will get the plugin’s settings wizard that will look like what we have enclosed in the screenshot attached below. As you can see WPML will automatically choose English as the default language. You can however change the language preference if you want to else leave it as it is. After that you will have to click on the next button at the end of the page and you will be moving to the next step in the process.

With this you will come to the next screen that will appear somewhat like the screenshot that we have attached below. Here you will be asked to select all the languages that you want the site to support. Just tick the box and select the languages that you need. There is actually no limit to the number of languages that you can choose. If you have selected something by mistake just untick the button to remove it from the options. Even later you can come back and change the languages that you have selected. Once you are done with the selection just click on the next button and you are good to move to the next step.

You will be asked in the next step to choose the language switcher option. This option will ensure that the users can select a language that they want in order to view the site in the language that they prefer. If you select this option WPML will ensure that the content switcher appears in the sidebar widget or it can also appear in the navigation menu. You can also opt to display it as a plain list. Apart from this you can also choose to select text or flags for the language switcher. After you have made the choice you will just have to click on the next button.

After you have made all the changes that we are said above you will be asked to enter the site key and this will be the last step. In case you do not have the key just click on the “generate key for this site” button as shown in the screenshot attached below and the key will be generated for you.

After you are done with all this you will be taken to the WPML website. Here you will be asked to add the site that you are coming from to the WPML account. After you have added the site you can just click on it and get the site key. All that you will have to do is copy paste the key into the WordPress site. With this you have successfully finished the setting up of the WPML wizard. All that you have to do now is click on the “finish button” and you can exit the setup.

Adding Multilingual content into the WordPress site with WPML

With the help of the WPML you can easily translate every area of the WordPress site into different languages. Not only that you can easily translate the WordPress pages, posts, tags, categories and even themes into as many languages as you like.

How can you add multilingual pages and posts

You can check the posts that already exist by clicking on the posts menu. This will ensure that you get to see the language column next to the post titles. We are enclosing a screenshot to explain it.


We will now explain a little about how exactly WPML works. It simply assumes that the existing content that you have in your site is in the primary language. That is exactly why it will show add buttons for each and every language next to your post. All that you will have to do is just click on the add button that you can see under a language to translate the post. Sometimes you may have to translate the post in a different language by editing the post.

To manage the translations you will see a “language” meta box which will help you to do the job. We are enclosing a screenshot that will tell you exactly where you can find this box.

You can even add the translated content yourself and you can also add users and authors to your WordPress site and they will do the translations for you. As you start to use WPML you will slowly realise that it is also offering you better ways to manage the users who are working on translators on your site. You can also purchase the multilingual CMS plan and use the translation management module.

You must be wondering what the translation management module will actually do for you. Well the answer is that it will allow you to add users as translators irrespective of what role they have to play on your WordPress site. You can also add subscribers as translators.

Instead of editing the posts these translators can be added to the translations directly in WPML.

Adding translations for tags and categories

WPML will allow you to easily translate all the tags and the categories. It will also allow you to translate any other custom taxonomies that you have been using. To get this done you will have to visit the WPML page and then go to taxonomy translation and load the custom taxonomies that you actually want to translate.

It might be a little confusing so we are including a screenshot so that the readers can understand better what we are trying to say. In this particular screenshot we have selected categories and then displayed all the categories from the example site. All that you will have to do is click on the add button that you can see next to the taxonomy term and add the translation.

How can you translate the navigation menus ?

We will now move to the next topic on translation. WordPress has a very robust navigation menu system. With the help of WPML you can translate it exactly how you have been translating posts and taxonomies. To do this you will have to visit Appearance page and then go to Menu page on you site. It is possible that you actually have more than one menu if that is the case then just choose the menu you want to translate. Here you will see that in the right hand column there is the menu and the links that can be translated to other languages enabled already.

As soon as you click on the language you will get to create a new menu for that particular language. Also remember that you will have to add the same menu items as your primary language menu. The enclosed screenshot will explain this to you.

We hope that things are clear so far. If you are getting confused take it slowly and concentrate on one step at a time. The point to keep in mind here is that if you have pages and posts in navigation menu then you will first have to add them and only then you can translate them. You can add them from the tabs on the left side of the edit menu screen. As always do click on the save button to ensure that the changes are saved.

With the help of WPML you can also translate themes, plugins and other texts

With the help of WPML multilingual CMS you can choose between official translation themes and plugins or you can also use its string translator. What you will have to do is just go to WPML and then go to themes and plugins localization page. You will notice that by default “don’t use string translation to translate plugins” will be checked. Just below it you will also see a checkbox that will tell you how to automatically load the theme’s .mo file using the load_theme_textdomain. When you click on this box you will see if there are any translation files that are available for your theme. However, the point to keep in mind here is that this will work only for the themes that are downloaded from the theme director. This will mostly not work well with majority of the WordPress site so do try to use WPML’s string translation module only.


We have tried to explain in a step by step method how exactly you can build WordPress in multiple languages. We hope that you found this article informative and it will help you to build a site for your readers in multiple languages.