Our planet has approximately 7.5 billion inhabitants, with over 6,500 different languages! Given this widespread of languages spoken, there is a clear advantage given to companies that can make their products and services available in multiple markets using that area’s native language and culture.
WordPress is the number one Content Management System (CMS) and powers more than 25% of websites currently on the internet. Setting up your WordPress site for internationalization and localization allows you to provide multilingual web content and grow your business internationally.
What is localization?
Before you can perform localization on a WordPress site, internationalization has to happen first. Internationalization, sometimes abbreviated as i18n (there are 18 letters between the “i” and the “n”), focuses on creating a mechanism to translate your WordPress theme and plugins into another language. This translation includes all aspects of the theme and its interfaces such as headers, buttons, and tags, but doesn’t include the actual content, such as text or images. Internationalization is completed by adding additional code to the WordPress PHP, providing direction for identifying where the user is geographically, and then reflecting that information in the theme itself.
Once internationalization has been completed, it’s time to move onto localization. Localization, sometimes abbreviated as i10n (there are ten letters between the “l” and the “n”), is when the content itself is translated to reflect the local language and culture. This includes not just the direct translation of words, but a more sophisticated interpretation that includes variances in local spellings, meanings, and cultural context.
An Example of Localization
Let’s walk through this process with an example. You have a WordPress site that was originally created in the United States using American English. On the home page, there is a Header Bar that says “Hello!” Under that is three paragraphs of text welcoming visitors to the website and explaining what the website does.
Internationalization adds information to the WordPress theme and plugins about that Header Bar. The PHP will read so that if a user opens the WordPress site in Spain, the Header Bar will say “Hola!” instead of “Hello.” It is a change to the code that made up the actual WordPress theme that is invisible to the front-end user.
Localization is the translation of the three paragraphs of text into the appropriate language within the wider cultural context. Localization means that the paragraph might read slightly differently in Mexico than in Spain, despite the two countries sharing a common language, due to their minor cultural variations. Localization is visible to the front-end user, as it is literally what they will see on the page.
How can localization improve your business?
Internationalization and localization mean that your WordPress site isn’t restricted to the geographic location in which it was originally created. It allows an easy process for your theme, plugins, and content to be competently translated so users who speak another language and live in another culture can interact with it natively.
How can you implement localization in WordPress with ease?
Although it’s possible to perform internationalization and localization on your WordPress site yourself, it can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. For many WordPress creators, their time would be better spent creating content for their site, as compared to completing these two processes on their own.
An easy way to implement internationalization and localization is by working with a company such as Acclaro that has a proven process making this translation and interpretation easy. Acclaro makes multilingual websites easy with their WordPress Translation Connector which allows for ease to build, launch, and maintain multilingual sites. This connector allows translation to occur without giving out direct access to your WordPress instance. It also eliminates the need for manual translation of the text on a page, a process that is often ripe with human error.
Are you ready to take your WordPress site to the international level, reaching more people around the globe in their native language? Reach out to one of our 729 Solutions team members today to discuss how we can make this happen with ease using Acclaro.