There are many factors at play with a Mutli-lingual eCommerce website and though there are some “easy” solutions they may not serve you over the long haul. Here’s a guide to understanding the options and choosing the best solution to fit your multilingual website.
As far as Multi-lingual goes there are really two options:
- Automatic translation Plugin (Google Translator)
- Manual translation Plugin
The highest quality and best option for search is obviously going to be manual translation. Not only are you going to have higher quality translations but the translated content on your site is going to show up in search results and make you more easily found by the audience who you’ve translated for.
While manual translation is the ideal solution, it can be difficult and costly if you need to provide translations for lots of different languages. In this way automatic translation can provide a bridge for those languages you can’t provide for. Over time, if you see a rise in any particular language that you’re not providing manual translations for, it may be worth it to start getting your content translated for that growing audience.
When translating your site content it’s important to keep things organized and allows users to direct themselves or be automatically directed to their desired language. This is where a quality translation plugin comes in.
Though there are a host of translation plugins here is a list of my two favorite.
The first is a plugin called WordPress Multi-Lingual (WPML). WPML is probably the most popular multilingual plugin available for WP; and for good reason. It’s easy to setup, relatively easy to learn and has a lot of options for customization. WPML works best on single installs of WP and all thought it’s easy to get started it’s not so easy if you decide to ditch a language at some point in the future. WPML stores all of your various languages into the same database. This means that everything is, more or less, homogeneous. So discarding a language at a later date can become tedious. That said, if you’re a small team WPML is probably the option for you.
The other option I’ve used and love is Multilingual Press . This is a great plugin but where WPML is an easy setup, MLP takes a bit more elbow grease. MLP works on a multisite network and each language is handled as it’s own individual site. This is a fantastic option especially if you have multiple teams handling each site or want the structure or content to vary from region to region. All in all MLP gives you the options to create genuinely unique experiences for your different lingual audiences. Also, should you decide to ditch a language at some point, it couldn’t get any easier. With MLP your languages all use separate sites and thus separate databases so removing a language is as easy as clicking delete.
All that said, though MLP offers the ability for complete control it also comes at the cost of needing to control everything separately. If you don’t have separate teams or only have a small team then working/switching between sites can be a tedious and frustrating task
Though there is no “one ring” for multilingual support, finding the right setup for your eCommerce site is essential for keeping up with your growth and global markets. If your a small team and need limited flexibility then WMPL is and easy to use solution with very few barriers for getting started. On the other hand if you see growth in your future and flexibility is your MO then Multilingual Press could very well serve you the best.
Both of these plugins play nicely with WooCommerce so integration should be no problem. Good luck on your journey and keep us posted on your discoveries.
Have you already worked with either of these plugins? Let us know which route you went and how it’s worked out for you.