Easy Steps to Localize Your WordPress Website
WordPress has become an extremely popular place for many business owners and inspiring bloggers to create unique content and share their thoughts and services with the world. The only thing that can hold them back is if their WordPress website is only available in one language.
If you are also among the thriving entrepreneurs or aspiring bloggers and content creators who wish to take over the world, one of the main steps you should take is to localize your website. Studies have shown that 75% of online users prefer to read and shop in their native language. This proves that localization is becoming an inevitable process considering the increasing competition in numerous online industries.
Now, are you ready to take this step? If you are, just keep reading and you’ll find out how easy it can actually be to localize your WordPress website and introduce yourself to an international audience.
Difference between Localization and Translation
Before we get to the specific steps, it is crucial that you understand that localization and translation aren’t the same notions.
Translation is a direct, one-for-one translation of the original content into a targeted language. What differentiates localization from the translation is the cultural, social factor behind it.
Even though the translation is a part of localization when you decide to localize your website you will also need to adapt the content to a specific culture in which the targeted language is spoken.
For example, users from Japan and the US won’t have the same understanding of the same sentence or phrase if translated word-for-word. Let’s say that your business’s slogan is an idiom or a phrase which is used only in the US. If you just translate it to a different language it won’t make any sense because they aren’t familiar with your culture.
That is why people who want to provide high-quality content and service always choose to localize their websites rather than just translate it.
Benefits of Website Localization
Now, let’s just take a quick look at some of the reasons why you should pay close attention to localization:
- Expanded overall online visibility
- Increase in search engine ranking
- Wider audience reach
- Attract international investors
- High RoI
If you are aware of all the good aspects of localization and you are prepared to start with the process, just make sure that you are proficient enough to do the localization yourself. Don’t hesitate to hire some help if you are not, because this is a big step and you should provide only high-quality content to your international audience.
You can always look up some online translation services to help you out and you can even use a translation review websites such as PickWriters to find the best option.
How to Localize a WordPress Website
The easiest way to start with your website localization is to log into your dashboard, click on Settings > General, scroll down to the bottom of your page to Site Language and select your desired language from the dropdown.
Note that this only changes the language used in the backend of your WordPress site. If your posts are in English, they will remain in English. Your theme and any plugins you may be using will still be in English.
Luckily, WordPress is designed for localization and there are a number of plugins to assist you.
Another way of localizing your WordPress installation is by downloading and uploading the .mo language file to your /wp-content/languages/ or /wp-includes/languages/ folder. First, you’ll need to create a new folder called “languages” in the wp-content directory.
Once you have uploaded all the .mo and .po files that came with your language, the next thing you’ll need to do is to tell WordPress to use these language files. Achieve that by opening your wp-config.php file and change the following line:
Now, just replace fr_FR with your language and country code. The first two letters represent the language code and the other two letters represent the country code.
After you’ve added that text to your wp-config.php file, WordPress should display the admin area in your language.
As we mentioned in the previous method, this will only change the language of WordPress administration areas. For localization of your theme and plugins, you’ll need to use a plugin.
Plugins for Theme and Plugin Localization
Now, let’s see some of the options for plugins that will help with preparing themes and plugins for translation.
POEditor WordPress Translation Plugin
With POEditor, you can manage the import and export in your POEditor translation projects directly from your WordPress dashboard. For this plugin, you will need a POEditor.com account which you will connect to the plugin after you have installed it on your site. Then just enter the API key and you are ready to start translating by creating a new project, adding a language, and assigning a language file.
This is a paid plugin available from Code Canyon. It will prepare an updated translation file for you, where all the strings you have translated before will be added and then you can add in the strings that need to be changed or translated without having to start from scratch.
This plugin gives you a built-in translation editor in your WordPress dashboard. Once you find the theme or plugin that you want to translate, simply click on New Language, and then Start Translating.
This free plugin allows you to write posts, pages, and create categories and post tags as usual, and then define the language for each of them. The translation of a post, whether it is in the default language or not, is optional, and you can set the language switcher to hide mode if a translation for the post currently displayed is not available.
WPML is a very popular multilingual plugin. It works as a localization plugin by translating strings derived from your plugins and theme. It also lets you translate pages, posts, taxonomies, and menus. In addition, WPML follows Google Webmasters’ specifications for multilingual sites, helping your site rank high on local search results.
Over to You
There is no reason why you should limit yourself only to English-speaking users when you have a voice that needs to be heard. Nowadays, localization has become a standardized process and by following these easy steps you’ll be able to show the world what you have to offer.
Carefully choose the languages which you want to add considering the markets that you are targeting. Lastly, don’t forget to provide high-quality translation and localization because your users will notice your effort. Good luck!