If you’re looking to expand your customer base and unlock new, international markets, setting up a multilingual WordPress site should be a primary consideration for your company.
Native English language speakers account for only a quarter of all internet users, so by restricting your website to English only you are potentially missing out on a huge customer base.
Setting up a multilingual WordPress site has many benefits, such as being able to translate posts, pages, tags and categories into multiple languages without the need for multiple WordPress sites or separate WordPress installs. A multilingual site also opens you up to being found, with a localized SEO strategy of course, by non-English search engines and promotes the image of an established, international business.
So how do you make your existing WordPress site multilingual?
Using a WordPress translation plugin
The first step in making your WordPress multilingual is to research WordPress translation plugins. These basically extend the functionality of a WordPress site and typically require no technical or programming skills.
There are multiple translation plugins available, which vary in pricing structure and volume of languages available. WPML (WordPress MultiLingual) for example, is an incredibly popular (over 400,000 sites run WPML) plugin for WordPress sites that allows authors to write and translate content in different languages. It includes advanced features for translation management and an interface for professional content translation.
Some alternatives to WPML are PolyLang (a free plugin), GTranslate (a free Google Translate plugin) and other paid-for services such as Weglot.
Website Translation Options
You have a couple of choices when it comes to website translation. Machine and human translation (using a translation service) are two of the main ones. Depending on the content on your site, one may work better in achieving the best result or quality over the other. For FAQs and product descriptions for example, machine translation may be perfectly suitable, with or without a human editing step. For marketing content, including slogans and taglines, that need to evoke some type of emotion with your audience, human translation will be the preferred choice.
Using a WordPress translation connector or a proxy solution can help to speed up the process by eliminating manual copy and paste processes and provide context for translators to achieve the best possible translations. A translation connector allows you to select WordPress content for translation, submit it to a professional translation agency, receive translated content back into WordPress for review and publishing, all from within the CMS (Content Management System).
Which languages should you translate to?
Exactly which languages you should translate your website into depends on your site and its traffic. By translating your website into different languages you can tap into established, or growing and upcoming markets. Picking languages is a choice you’ll have to make, though two solid foundations from which to start include considering geographical or demographic areas you wish to expand to, as well as a keen observation of what language settings users have in their browser when navigating your site. This way, if you see that, for example, 15% of your traffic uses Spanish as their language, and only 3% use German, you’ll know which language to tackle first.
Spanish and French Website Translation
Spanish speakers make up a substantial percentage of internet users at 8%, yet only 5% of the top 10 million websites have Spanish content. By translating your website to Spanish you stand a much better chance of cornering the Spanish speaking market as opposed to providing the site solely in English.
With regards to iGaming specifically, it’s worth noting that Spanish is one of the top 10 languages for mobile app localization and also fuels a significant gamer population. It is also the most commonly spoken language in Latin America, which has a rapidly growing gaming industry, with the highest year-on-year growth for games in the world.
As the world’s fastest growing language, French takes on even more importance. Owing to population growth in Africa, where approximately 50% of native French speakers live, the total number of French speakers could rise to as much as 700 million by 2050.
Chinese, Japanese and Arabic Website Translation
More people (1.2 billion) speak Chinese than any other language, meaning 16% of the world’s population speak the language, yet surprisingly it’s an underserved market when it comes to the internet. Of those 1.2 billion, 750 million are estimated to use the internet, making up 20% of the world’s internet users and placing them 2nd on the list of users by language. Despite making up 20% of all internet users, only 2% of the world’s top 10 million sites have Chinese language content. As a continent, Asia makes up 50% of all internet users. That’s a huge market, ready for you to break into. China’s influence on the internet is only set to increase, thanks to its ambitious ‘Internet Plus’ strategy that aims to integrate mobile internet and cloud computing.
Meanwhile, Arabic speaking internet users (around 168 million) rank 4th, whilst Japanese speakers (115 million) take 6th place. Translating your website into Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese would therefore open you up to almost a billion potential customers.
If you’re looking to expand your customer base and break into new markets, having a multilingual site is a no brainer. Do research on what language markets make sense for your business and decide on what translation method makes the most sense for your type of content. With a WordPress plugin and automation tools such as a WordPress translation connector, you’ll be able to launch multilingual web content quickly into your local markets without the hassles of manual copy and paste processes.