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How To Create Multilingual WordPress Websites With Polylang

There might be a case when you want to create a multilingual WordPress website. Or your client wants to add another language to the website.

With WordPress, it is a very easy task to complete. You just need to install one plugin. And this plugin is Polylang.

Polylang makes it easy to translate WordPress websites quickly. You can add as many languages as you want.



It allows you to use the language switcher widget and place it on a website’s front-end. Polylang also has an additional plugin for Elementor page builder.

In this post, I will show how to translate a website, create pages for additional languages, and publish posts for different languages.

With this plugin, you can easily create multilingual WordPress websites. So. let’s dive in.


Install Polylang & Add Languages

First of all, you need to install the Polylang plugin in order to translate websites. Go to Plugins > Add New and search for Polylang.

install polylang

If you use Elementor as your page builder, I recommend installing the extension for Elementor. Will show you how it works later.

After the installation, you will see a new tab on the left side – Languages. GO there and from here you can add languages to your site.

When you have a bilingual or multilingual WordPress website, you have to pick a default language. So, you will have a main language for your website and others will be additional languages.

With Polylang, it is easy to add languages. Go to the new languages tab and in the Choose A Language input, pick a language and click Add New Language button.

add language

I added English and German languages and want English to be a default language. On the right side, where languages were added, you will see a star icon.

pick default language

That means that language that has a star is a default language. You can choose your default language very easily. Just tick the star icon and that will be a default language.


String Translation & Settings

Polylang allows you to translate default strings, URL modifications, post types translation, etc. For example, a theme can have some default text for widgets and you can translate them.

Also, you can synchronize templates, dates, fields, etc. Multilingual WordPress website creation is very easy. First, let’s look at strings translation and see how it works.

If you go to Strings Translations, you will see some default inputs and strings. You can easily translate them. For example, I translated user information and introduction as seen on the image.

multilingual wordpress

In the settings, you can modify your URLs. Do you want to see a language attribute in your URL or not. I don’t change these settings but you can.

url settings polylang

In the synchronization section, I tick everything because I want a translation to work in every section and part. The pro version has more options.

sync

You can automatically translate your multilingual WordPress websites with Lingotek, but I don’t use it because sometimes it doesn’t work correctly.


Translate Posts & Pages

Now it is time to translate pages and posts, and it’s straightforward. But, the only thing I don’t like in Polylang, is how it handles page & post translations.

It creates page copy for different languages. For example, if your website has 3 languages, it will create three different Home pages – one for each language.

So, if you have 5 pages and 2 languages, you will have 10 pages in total. The same goes for posts. It is not a bad thing, but it can be done better.

Now if you go to pages, next to a page you will see flags for each language. Languages that have a ‘+’ sign, means that there is no page for that language. The same goes for posts.

multilingual wordpress pages & posts

In order to translate them, you have to create pages and post in a default language and then press the ‘+’ icon and create the same page or post in other languages.

Posts inherit featured images and categories. You have to change titles and text, publish and you will have the same page or post in a different language. You have to do it for every language.


Add Language Switcher

In order to switch languages from the front-end, Polylang has a special widget for it. And it has different display options.

Go to Appearance > Widgets and there will be a new one – Language Switcher. You can add them to any widget area and it will display automatically.

polylang widget

Also, it allows you to tweak and change some settings. You can show flags and names, only flags, hide current language, etc. Your multilingual WordPress website will look professional.

If you use Elementor, it is effortless to add a switcher. When you edit your Elementor page, there will be a new widget for the language switcher.

elementor language switcher

You can add it anywhere and tweak it. Works exactly the same way as a widget. You can put it in the header, footer, sidebar, etc.

Conclusion

Creating a multilingual WordPress website with Polylang plugin is very easy. It gives you flexibility and ease of use. It allows you to add as many languages as you want.