Learning to work in a virtual global village can be challenging but there are many WordPress Plugins that will help you get your message across, no matter what language you speak or read.
There are two types of WordPress Plugins to help cross the language barriers. Translation Plugins provide instant translations of your post content into other languages. Multilingual Blogging WordPress Plugins allow multilingual bloggers to blog in more than one language. You can use one or both types of WordPress Plugins together.
WordPress is set up to allow blogging in dozens of languages without any WordPress Plugins. For more information on blogging in WordPress in your language, see WordPress in Your Language on the WordPress Codex, the online manual for WordPress Users.
Translation WordPress Plugins
WordPress Plugins that translate your WordPress blog from one language to another help cross the language barrier that often divides us. They also help to clear up the confusion often found trying to communicate in another language when there is an option to translate the post into our native language.
WordPress Global Translator Plugin by Nothing2Hide is one of the most popular translation WordPress Plugins. It is a stand alone WordPress Plugin, which means it doesn’t require any additional files to work. Just activate the Plugin and it puts a small table of international flags in the header of your blog which, when clicked, will translate your blog content into that flag’s language.
Currently, 10 languages are supported, providing cross translation between English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic.
You can control the placement of the flags within your WordPress Theme. There are many options to controlling how the flags will look and be laid out on your WordPress Theme, too. You can have them in a single row, two rows, etc. However, the flags are stored in a table.
If you are an anti-table user like me, you can change this by editing the Plugin file and replacing the text code for the table with a DIV and adding the style to your stylesheet to layout the flags in whatever structure you would like. Remember to make a note of the change so you can repeat it when you next upgrade the Plugin. Hopefully a table-less layout will soon be available so you won’t have to edit the Plugin.
Angsuman’s Translator Plugin Pro For WordPress Blogs is also popular for translating your WordPress Plugin. It provides provides automatic machine translation of your blog in thirteen different languages – German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Dutch, Swedish, Greek, French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
Translated pages are cached, which means they are stored as “semi-static” pages to speed future loading and cut back on database demands. It is also available as a WordPress Widget. It works with curl (if available) or without curl support (uses fopen).
However, unlike many WordPress Plugins, Angsuman’s Translator Plugin Pro costs USD $30 to download. This includes six months free technical support and free lifetime upgrades. If you are serious about providing dedicated translation options, this is an inexpensive way to open your blog up to the world.
WordPress Translation Plugin by the Indo-European Language Blog offers another translation WordPress Plugin which adds translations from and into most language pairs offered by Google, Altavista and Tranexp. It doesn’t use flags but the names of the language in their language in text links. It’s very simple and easy to use and a great option if you don’t want to use flags to represent the different languages, creating a cleaner look on your blog’s design.
WordPress Translate by Monosyllabic Manifesto is another simple “drop-in” WordPress Plugins which adds a list of 11 language translations, with flags and text, in a horizontal or vertical layout.
GG_Translate WordPress Plugin provides links to translate your blog based on the languages the users has set up in their browser. Does not provide links where the users language is the same as the blog language. It adds an administration page to the plugin that allows users to select translation engine order of preference, base language for the blog, the url format for the translation links, and the maximum number of translation links to display.
Translate WordPress Widget by Trev’s Travels also works with Google to provide translations. It includes a translation flag bar.
Many bloggers today speak and write in different languages, and they want their blogs to be bilingual, too. This can mean that all posts in English need to have a French version or it can mean that the blogger can choose which language they want to blog in at any given moment.
It can also mean that the blogger will blog in only one language overall, but may want to occasionally add translations or snippets of other languages to their posts.
Not all language word characters are equal. There are different keyboards for different languages, and different character codes (character entities) for different language characters. Examples include ð, þ, ÿ, û, ñ, é, ¿, ç, æ, ð, ¡, and ø. Going from one language to another can create havoc and a nightmare for those who try to do it manually.
For example, in English, my name is Lorelle. In HTML character entities, is it spelled “lorelle” which actually looks like this under the surface:
To see Lorelle spelled in Hebrew, it would be לורל, which looks like:
How would you like to write in that all day?
WordPress Plugins can help take the pain of character codes out of the process of multilingual blogging.
jLanguage WordPress Plugin helps the browser automatically recognize language characters and converts them. It does not translate, but takes the letters in brackets in the Write Post panel and changes them into the appropriate language character code, allowing the characters to look “right” when viewed by readers.
The Plugin author offers this example of how you would write in the different languages in your WordPress Write Post panel:
[jLanguage default="english"][english]If you want something done right, consider doing it yourself. Unless you are too lazy like me.[/english] [danish]Hvis du skal have noget gjort rigtigt, så overvej at gøre det selv. Medmindre du er for doven ligesom mig.[/danish]
The Plugin would then translate the appropriate character codes for the browser to interpret.
For serious multilingual bloggers, there are several options which help you manage your WordPress blog in different languages.
Gengo Multi-Lingual Blogger WordPress Plugin, which I reviewed recently, is a WordPress Plugin that works for those who are blogging in more than one language. It’s not a complicated Plugin to use, but it does require some familiarity with WordPress template files and Themes. There is a very helpful Gengo WordPress Plugin Support Forum for when you get into trouble with the Plugin.
Polyglot 2.0 helps to make WordPress bilingual. The successor of Language Picker, it support different time and date formats, permalinks, localization of your WordPress blogs, and different languages for posts and Pages. For some tips on using this on WordPress 2.1, see Making WordPress multilingual.
Plugin YammYamm WordPress Plugin is another multilingual manager for WordPress. It requires some editing of your WordPress Theme template files.
An interesting companion to these multilingual WordPress Plugin managers is getBrowserLanguage. It accesses and returns the user’s browser languages, which would help multi-language WordPress Plugins or help multi-lingual or nationalistic advertising be targeted towards the visitor. There are lots of possibilities for this WordPress Plugin to target international users.
Opening Up to the World With Your WordPress Blog
The more internationally friendly the web becomes, the more international visitors you can expect to see on your blog. WordPress developers are working hard behind the scenes to make WordPress as lingually friendly as possible.
Currently, WordPress supports over 70 different languages with more on the way all the time. For a listing of all the various languages, see WordPress in Your Language and the WordPress Language File Repository. For information on using WordPress in your language, see Installing WordPress in Your Language.
Help is always welcome for translating WordPress and supporting WordPress in your native language. See Translating WordPress for more information on how you can help.
Do you use these translation WordPress Plugins? Or do you blog in different languages? Have these Plugins helped you? What do you recommend? How do you blog in your multilingual blogs?
- WordPress in Your Language
- Website Development – International Standards and Languages
- Translation – How Do You Know Which Language is Which to Translate
- Instantly Translate Your Blog
- Invitation to Hebrew and Arabic bloggers to blog with WordPress.com
- Translate WordPress: WordPress.com Home Pages in Hebrew, Farsi, Bulgarian, and More
- Blogging in More Than One Language
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network