How to translate our WordPress blog

5 Mar

This question bugs me for long time. I wish my blog is in Bulgarian, since it’s way easier to write in your mother-tongue but also it would be nice to be in English, for better search ranking. And there’s always no time to learn how.

With this article I’ll clock how much time I need for the tedious task of blog translation. Therefore I announce that this article was started on January 10 2015 in 11:59.

I finished with the installation of the translation plugin for the blog on January 10 2015 in 15:08 after 1 hour of work on this problem.

During this hour I tried a few plugins. First I told myself that translating an article takes too much time, so I installed a plugin that makes automatic translation of the articles and then gives the opportunity to change it to the author of the article. Great idea, but the realization wasn’t. Since I’m writing the article more than a month later, I don’t even remember the name of this plugin. But it doesn’t matter too much.

So I uninstalled this plugin and decided to go for something proven and idiotproof. Therefore I checked which plugin has the most users and the highest ranking and chose Polylang. Installing was of course a matter of seconds, since the blog is powered by WordPress and this plugin practically has no learning curve, which allowed me right after installing it to start translating.

Once Polylang is insalled, a new menu is present in the settings of the blog. In this new Languages menu one can add new language for the blog. This new language should be one of the many languages Polylang offers, but if your language is not in the dropdown box you have a problem. However there’s quite some choice not only for languages using Latin script but also Cyrillic based languages, Chinese, Arabic and many others I haven’t even heard of.

In the same menu there’s a tab for translating the common strings like blog name, widget content and even the format of the date. Depending on the number of languages added to the blog there are that many fields for translation.

And of course if this plugin is going to be usable, it has to cope with the posts in different languages, as well as the connections between the translation of every post. No problem at all! The selection of the language boils down to clicking on a flag button – just like you’ve seen it all over the Internet. The articles in German are shown when you click the German flag and the articles in English when the appropriate flag is clicked.

The cool thing is when you start a new article. On the right top corner of the editing page there’s a new widget that gives you the opportunity to add another language for the article, as well as to go and edit it in this new language.

So I guess there’s a reason so many people use the same thing: It’s simple, effective and robust. It makes you write the article N different times though. But I guess this won’t be solved soon, no matter whether you use WordPress or another blog platform.

Now I just have to translate all the old posts. I think this is going to take waaay too much time, so I won’t track the time I needed from now on :)