This guest post, brought to you by AIT Themes deals with the importance of having a multilingual site. They design multi-purpose themes and today they share with you why they decided to have most of them WPML ready.
WordPress website developers often believe that only large customers and international corporations need multilingual websites. That’s just a myth. In their opinion, multi language websites are useful for every type of business nowadays, even the smallest one. Let’s have a look why multilingual websites have such a potential.
Potential of multilingual sites:
Multilingual website can be surprisingly beneficial even for the businesses where you would not expect this to be the case, e.g.:
Most of the regular customers are the local ones, but if the restaurant is located in proximity to the international companies or in the tourist area, it can attract whole new segment of customers — tourists or business representatives from different countries who arrived to the city for a business trip.
Museums and galleries
Museums are most visited institutions worldwide from the tourism point of view. Why not to offer all the important information on current exhibitions or opening hours directly in visitor’s mother tongue?
Vineyards and farms
Tourists now prefer experience-based holidays rather than standard passive relaxation. Thanks to this even less traditional places gather more interest of tourism, e.g. vineyards offer visits of their wine cellars, wine testing or getting to know the local gastronomy. Small farms are popular destinations of the agritourism. And that is exactly the right motivation to create multilingual website for them too.
Statutory representatives of the companies set up subsidiaries around the world and often require legal advisory services. Provide them with all the important information on the legal framework and the services provided in their language.
“Even accountancy companies can provide their customers with translated content as the added value and gain unique competitive advantage on the market.”
Doctors and medical centers
Would you say that doctors, dentists, GPs or medical centers need multilingual website? Yes, of course! Medical tourism is becoming even more popular as a demand for various beauty treatments is on the rise too. Moreover, healthcare is more affordable in some countries. Dentists, specialized doctors or plastic surgeons — it is worth for all of them to invest some resources into their own multilingual website.
Business expansion to foreign markets
The ability to attract customer and build trust is the key to success of every business. When you provide your website visitors with the content in their mother tongue, you can get close to them easier. The biggest benefit, however, is opening of new opportunities — multilingual website unlocks new markets to your business. More languages available on your website mean larger audience, more potential customers. That sounds great, doesn’t it?
Language mutations without any communication issues
Some multilingual website administrators are afraid that they will be contacted by visitors in the language they do not understand. But there’s no reason to worry about this. If the main page of your multilingual website is in English (other pages are in other languages), your visitors are aware that the primary language for communication is English. That’s a major advantage in comparison to the website language mutations placed on different domains like .de, .es, .fr.
The main difference is that when separate website is available for every language, visitors assume that it is the home page or subsidiary in that country. Therefore visitors expect to have the conversation with customer service or support in that particular language.
Tips for successful page translation
We would like to provide you with several useful and practical tips that will help you to translate a page and use WordPress as multilingual website:
Selection of the right WordPress theme compatible with WPML plugin
The first step in the process of multilingual website creation is the selection of WordPress theme that is WPML ready, as not all the themes support third-party plugins. WPML is one of such plugins that require specific integration on the template side. Ideally you should decide for a reliable developer who will continue providing updates and bug fixes also in the future. For example you can pick one of WPML ready themes from AIT Themes which are fully compatible with WPML plugin and which will secure smooth work with your translations.
WPML plugin will ensure that you need only one WordPress installation for any number of languages.
How to translate a page and content
WPML plugin and its extensions offer different alternatives of content translation for multilingual WordPress theme. In order to make your website supporting other languages and becoming multilingual, core plugin WPML Multilingual CMS needs to be installed. This Plugin activates the functionality for adding other languages and reading pre-translated content from .mo file based on the language.
One of the practical extensions is add-on WPML String Translation, which enables text translation outside of the Posts, Pages and Taxonomies directly via administration interface. WPML Translation Management is also popular add-on, as it brings new ways of content translation within WordPress admin; among others also possibility to order content translation by an external translators who directly cooperate with WPML. This way you can rely on error free translations made by professionals which are subsequently automatically uploaded to your website once the content is fully translated. You can find the complete list of useful WPML extensions and plugins for your multilingual website in the WPML documentation.
We recommend that you do not rely on automatic translations provided directly by web browsers (via google translate). Your website will have much higher organic traffic when it is multilingual i.e. offering translated content in multiple languages.
Content differentiation based on country or cultural customs
Great benefit of WPML is the possibility to customize the content of your multilingual WordPress theme exactly according to your needs. You can translate only certain sections of your website — Homepage, About us, Contact us etc. — but for example E-shop section can be entirely hidden in other languages. This is useful for example when you’re selling fresh local products of your own local production only within your domestic country as the freshness of your products has to be maintained. But for the above mentioned sections like About us and Contact us, it is essential to have these translated to other languages, so that your bio farm website can reach customers from the neighbouring countries who can come to your farm too.
You can translate your website also based on the culture and legislation of the country where you’re planning the expansion of your online business.