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This thread is resolved. Here is a description of the problem and solution.

Problem: The content on the site's default language is in English (secondary language), but the default language of the site is set to German. Is it possible to move the English content to the second language (English) and then translate the site into the default language (German)? Solution: You can bulk duplicate all the content (English content) from German (default language) to English (second language) then delete it from the German language and only then translate into German. You can do the bulk duplication in WPML -> Translation Management -> Translation Dashboard (tab). Please read about it at the following link. Relevant Documentation: https://wpml.org/documentation/translating-your-contents/displaying-untranslated-content-on-pages-in-secondary-languages/using-content-duplication/

This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices.

Last updated by Bernhard 1 year, 8 months ago.

Assigned support staff: Itamar.

Author Posts
January 22, 2018 at 9:20 pm #1492827

Bernhard

Tell us what you are trying to do?

My site has German as WP's Website language, but the content is in English. Now as we decided to go multilingual, I installed WPML but unfortunately no first config wizard came up, where I could select, in which language the existing content is. WPML obviously detected german as the standard language.
Is there a way to tell WPML, that the actual content is in english? Maybe restart this wizard somehow? I am not aware of anything, I did wrong or clicked to close this wizard. In my view it just never came up.
WPML tells me, that there are two languages active German (Standard) and English, while in fact the content of German is in English.

Any idea, how to fix this? I did not start translating yet. Just want to be sure to have everything correctly in advance.

Regards,
Bernhard

January 23, 2018 at 9:42 pm #1494576

Itamar
Supporter

Languages: English (English ) Hebrew (עברית )

Timezone: Asia/Jerusalem (GMT+02:00)

Hello, Bernhard.

First, it is important for me to mention the following.
WPML does not 'know' that the content of the German language is actually in English. For WPML the content in the German language is in German.

From your description, it sounds like WPML was installed and configured for German and English on your site in the past and may be deactivated and removed, but its DB tables remained.
Is this a possible scenario?

You can reset WPML in WPML -> Support -> Troubleshooting (link). See the bottom section 'Reset'. The reset process will delete all the 'icl_' prefix tables (WPML's DB tables). Then you will be able to start the wizard process again.

**** Important! Please make a full site backup (files and DB) before you proceed with those steps****

But your scenario also requires another procedure. If I understand, correctly you want that German will remain the default language and English be the second language.
Is it correct?
And you need all the content from the German language to be copied to the English language (because it is in English). Then you will need to translate everything into German.
Is it correct?
If so you can bulk duplicate all the content from German to English then delete it from the German language and only then translate into German.
You can do the bulk duplication in WPML -> Translation Management -> Translation Dashboard (tab). Please read about it at the following link.
https://wpml.org/documentation/translating-your-contents/displaying-untranslated-content-on-pages-in-secondary-languages/using-content-duplication/

Also, if you need more help from me could you please share your Debug information with me?
You can read a detailed explanation about it here.
http://wpml.org/faq/provide-debug-information-faster-support
The debug info will give me a lot of information about how your site is configured and will help me understand the source of the problem.

Thanks,
Itamar.

January 27, 2018 at 10:58 am #1498976

Bernhard

Hello Itamar,
thanks for this great rerply and sorry for the delay. Let me answer step by step:

1. Yes, it is possible, that WPML was installed in the past. So this is the reason for not seing the wizard now. Just to be 100% sure: Does resetting via WPML backend do exactly the same as just deleting all the tables with icl_prefix? Or is there some other place in the DB, where things have to be changed/deleted?

2. Now for my scenario: Let me first say, that this is a live-site and I have to avoid any downtime if possible. If doing the reset via (1. above), and the wizard will show up (which I really hope), which option shall I choose? You are right, german should then be the default language and english the second. If the wizard asks, in which language the actual content is, what shall I choose?

Thanks for mentioning the bulk duplication. A problem, that I see, is after declaring the actual content to be in english via the wizard and then setting german as the default, what will happen for visitors in the frontend? What will be shown as german language content i.e. under domain.de and domain.de/en/ ? It might be neccesary to set the new configuration via the wizard and then immediatley bulk duplicate the english content to the german version, just to avoid the german (default) version to be empty? Is this right?

I attached the Debug Info. Hopefully this will help you.

Thanks a lot,
Bernhard

January 28, 2018 at 4:47 pm #1499373

Itamar
Supporter

Languages: English (English ) Hebrew (עברית )

Timezone: Asia/Jerusalem (GMT+02:00)

Hi, Bernhard.

1. There is no other place in the DB where things have to be changed.
But please take a DB backup before you use the reset action.

2. Choose German.

You write: "A problem, that I see, is after declaring the actual content to be in english via the wizard and then setting german as the default, what will happen for visitors in the frontend? What will be shown as german language content i.e. under domain.de and domain.de/en/?"

The first step of the wizard will be to set the Current content language. And there you will need to choose German because you want German to be the default language of your site. At this stage, nothing will happen on the front-end. Your visitors will still see English content when they will visit domain.de. And since you have not started to duplicate/move the content into the English version of your site there will be no content on domain.de/en/.

You ask: "It might be neccesary to set the new configuration via the wizard and then immediatley bulk duplicate the english content to the german version, just to avoid the german (default) version to be empty? Is this right?"

The German language will not be empty it will have English content in it. That is what I meant in my first reply when I wrote: "WPML does not 'know' that the content of the German language is actually in English. For WPML the content in the German language is in German."
I hope that it is not confusing.
So what will happen after the duplication process is that you will have English content on domain.de and also on domain.de/en/.
OK, but you writing to me that your site is live, and you want to avoid downtime as much as possible. So how to solve this? How to replace the German content with real German content and not English. Two options came into my mind now.

A. Since I see that you do not have a lot of content (I see only 5 pages on your site) and if you are translating the content yourself, then the easiest way would be just to remove the English content and place the German content instead. I think that it is not a lot of work.

B. In the setup wizard instead of choosing German as the default language choose English as the default language. English will then be in domain.de (current situation). Then after the setup translated all the English into German the regular way the WPML enables you to translate content. And when you finish translating all of your content switch the default language from English into German in WPML -> Languages. Then German content will be in domain.de, and English content will be in domain.de/en/

In any case, take a full backup of your site before doing the above procedures.

You can also do all that on a staging site or a copy of your site on another server (or a local server on your machine), and when you are finished and checked that everything is alright, you can move your new site to the live server. You can use a plugin like Duplicator (https://wordpress.org/plugins/duplicator/) to make a copy of your site and makes those changes on another server. I use on a daily basis. But in this case, please read the instructions and know what you are doing.

I hope that this information is helpful for you.

Regards,
Itamar.

February 5, 2018 at 3:22 pm #1507352

Bernhard

Hello Itamar,
due to being ill the last days I can only start to test your proposal from today in the evening. I will report back then. Please keep this ticket open until then.
Kind regards,
Bernhard

February 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm #1507850

Itamar
Supporter

Languages: English (English ) Hebrew (עברית )

Timezone: Asia/Jerusalem (GMT+02:00)

No Problem, Bernhard, I'll wait for your response here.

Best Regards,
Itamar.

February 18, 2018 at 9:14 am #1521199

Bernhard

Hi Itamar,

I am really sorry for this delay. Thanks for your patience.

Now I had a longer conversation with my client and I explained, what you told above. We evaluated the pros/cons and finally he decided to stay with english as the default language and make german the second language.
The main reason for this is the huge SEO problem, that might appear, after google detects german content under all the URLs, that had english content before. I know, this might be only temporary, but my client very much depends on not getting penalized, even for a short period.

So what are my remaining questions? I would appreciate if you could rethink the process and confirm, if the following is a viable or best way:

1. I still have to reset WPML, as right now the system has german (actually english content) as the default language, right?
2. When the wizzard appears again after resetting, I have to select english as the language of the actual content, right?
3. Then I have to add german as the second language.

I am not sure, if I still need to reset, or if I can change the default language by just changing it in the WPML options.

Thanks for all your help.

Kind regards,
Bernhard

February 20, 2018 at 9:58 am #1523284

Itamar
Supporter

Languages: English (English ) Hebrew (עברית )

Timezone: Asia/Jerusalem (GMT+02:00)

Hi, Bernhard and sorry for the late response here.

First, I want to relate to your assumption that Google will penalize your site (even if for a short time) if you switch the content of your site in the main domain (domain.de) from English to German. OK, so I'm writing the next few lines out of what I know, but I must emphasize that I'm not an SEO or Google expert. What I want to say to you is that I'm not sure that you will not get penalized (if there is such a thing) for making English as the default language of your site after that you set up WPML. I'll explain now why. Currently, in the <head> of your HTML pages, there are tags that tell Google what is the current language of your site. The tags of on the <head> are those.

<html lang="de-DE">//just before the head tag.
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="<em><u>hidden link</u></em>" />

By adding those tags, you tell Google what the language of your site/page is. So I think that the current situation might be confusing for Google from the respect that you say. You tell Google my site/page is in German, but the actual content is in English. Now if after you install WPML and change English to be the default language the tags mentioned above will change like this for your main domain (domain.de)

<html lang="en-US">//just before the head tag.
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="<em><u>hidden link</u></em>" />

So just to repeat, when you switch the default language with WPML, it is switching the above tags to tell search engines what is the language of the site. WPML does that for you.
Please see the following link to our site and Google sources on this is an issue and also consult an SEO expert if needed.
https://wpml.org/documentation/support/multilingual-seo/
https://wpml.org/2017/09/multilingual-seo-8-hints-and-tasks-for-you/
https://wpml.org/2014/02/making-multilingual-site-ready-search-engine-indexing/
hidden link

And here are the direct answers to your questions.
1. Not necessarily, you can also switch the default language after WPMl is installed.
But if WPML's DB tables (_icl prefix) are from an old installation of WPML many versions ago then it might be a good procedure to reset WPML.
2. Yes, if you decided that you want to take this path (switch English to be the default language).
3. Yes.

I hope that I've shed some more light on this issue.
And I strongly recommend you not to make those changes on the live site but your local server or a staging site and only after you are sure that everything was cried out in the desired manner move the site to production on the live server</strong >.

Best regards,
Itamar.

February 22, 2018 at 9:42 pm #1526820

Bernhard

Hi Itamar,

your support was great! I did the resetting and afterwards could choose english as default language and then add german. Everything seems to work.
I did also hide german for now, as nobody should see these translations, until everything is ready.

Now I have a last question: I know, that there are some special things to to, if the pages are built with Visusal Composer. I tested on a local site and hope, that I got this right: WPML asks to activate the Translation Editor, in order to be able to see the VC blocks/elements side by side.

Do I really need this? What if I just do it the older way by creating the german version of a page as a copy of the english page and then modify the german page as a whole? Isn't the Translation Editor only useful, if both versions of a page have the same blocks? What if the two versions do not have the same blocks? Are there other advantages in using the Translation Manager?

Thanks again,
Bernhard

February 23, 2018 at 9:40 am #1527268

Vincenzo
Supporter

Languages: English (English ) Italian (Italiano )

Timezone: Europe/Rome (GMT+01:00)

Hello Bernhard, my name is Vincenzo.
Since Itamar currently is not available, I will temporarily replace him here in the forum.
I hope this is OK with you.

I'm glad to know that your main issue was solved.

It is not necessary to enable the Translation Editor and you use the manual translation method, especially because, as you stated, the content will not be exactly the same.

Please let us know if this helps.

Thank you

February 23, 2018 at 11:05 am #1527379

Bernhard

Hello Vincenzo,

thanks for your message. This was the last thing, I wanted to clarify. You can close this ticket now.
Great support!

Kind regards,
Bernhard