If you’re looking for a plugin to turn your WordPress blog into a multi language blog, then I advice you to take a closer look at WPML.
Update 10 April 2011: Since version 2.2.1 of the plugin, WPML has turned commercial and you can’t get it for free anymore. There are 2 versions: blog ($29) and CMS ($79). For more info please visit the website of WPML. The article below handles the free version.
Installation of WPML
Like most plugins, you can install WPML via “Plugins” > “Add new”. In the search box, search for “wpml”:
In the search results, click the “Install now” link to start the installation:
After the installation, do not forget to activate the plugin!
To configure this plugin, click on “Plugins” in the left menu. In the list with plugins, click on the “Configure” link:
First time configuration: step by step wizard
When you configure this plugin for the first time, a wizard existing of 3 steps will appear.
Step 1: Language for existing contents
Setup step 1
In this first step, you have to select the language in which the existing content is written.
Step 2: Select languages
Select the other languages
Select the other languages of your blog.
Step 3: Add a language switcher
This is the latest step of the wizard to configure WPML. Here you can choose how you language switcher will look like and where it will be located.
Click the “Finish” button to save your settings. To change these settings later, select “WPML” > “Languages” in the left menu.
Choose how your URLs will look like using WPML
If you want to change the settings of the WPML plugin, go to “WPML” > “Languages” in the left menu.
I already described how to select languages and the switcher options. But the option to choose how your URLs will look like is new:
I prefer the first option. WPML will add a 2 letter language description to the url:
Custom PHP Language switchers
If you design custom themes, it’s also possible to create your own language switchers. Linking to a page or post in another language isn’t difficult, just link to a hyperlink in a certain language. But when creating a menu, you have to know what in which language your current page is written. For this, you can use “ICL_LANGUAGE_CODE”. For example, check if the current language is English:
Commercial translation services
WPML is free to install and to use, but the company behind this great plugin (ICanLocalize) is actually offering translation services. The nice thing is that you don’t have to look yourself for someone to translate your pages and posts. WPML adds a menu in the screens for creating / updating a post or a page:
Just click the “Get language translations” hyperlink to look for translators.
There even is an estimated cost!
Creating multi-language posts / pages
Translating existing posts / pages
If you want to translate existing posts yourself:
Click on “Posts” or “Pages” in the left menu.
In the overview click next to the post / page you want to translate on the “+” under the language you want to translate that post / page in:
translating existing posts
Write your post / page like you would write a normal post / page.
Creating new multi-language posts / pages
If you want to create a new multi-language post / page, just add a new post / page. Your new post / page will be created in your default language. Afterwards you can add the translations.
This plugin comes with good support. Click on “WPML” > “Support” on the left menu to go to the support page. When using WPML you have free community support. But you can also buy professional support. For more info and details, check the support plans on the Support page.
I must say that I used WPML for a couple of my sites. It’s a great plugin and once you understand how it works, it’s very easy to work with. I can highly recommend this plugin, also if you’re beginner.WPML is free to use, but has professional support if you need it. So if you’re looking for a plugin to run a multi language blog or site, don’t forget to give WPML a try!