WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for businesses. About 64 million websites currently use it, with 400 million people visiting one of these sites every month. Companies that want to serve these massive audiences will need to think about translating content at some point or another. While the platform has many plugins and connectors to help, it’s essential to take some advanced steps to ensure an easier WordPress internationalization transition.
Internationalization is an overarching strategy for targeting new markets. It’s a way of getting your product and website ready for translation regardless of which country and language you decide to target. When dealing with WordPress specifically, there are five critical steps related to timing, collaboration, maintenance, and quality assurance that will help.
5 WordPress Internationalization Tips
WordPress internationalization involves getting your content ready for translation in any language. This process streamlines market entry when the time comes. Here are five tips for establishing a program that will pay dividends in the future.
#1: Start early
The bigger the site, the more complicated it is to internationalize. It’s best to start early before the site gets large and unwieldy. If you have a framework in mind for subdirectories, processes, and content translation automation, you’ll be 10 steps ahead when you are ready to translate to new markets.
#2: Don’t become reliant on proxies
Proxy services don’t translate content, but a lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking so when they sign up for them. They put a mask over your existing content that makes it appear as a new language. Google issues temporary URLs for these pages, so there are no subdirectories involved. While this sounds great, it creates many problems for bigger sites because you don’t have the translated content. You can’t just take it somewhere else if you want to change your program. It’s also bad for SEO, as Google doesn’t like temporary URLs. You also can’t customize sites based on language. Proxies can be a trap; once you’re in, it’s tough to get out. It’s best to avoid their use for anything but small, temporary projects.
#3: Select the right team
It would help if you thought beyond linguists when selecting a team for managing your internationalization process. You’ll want something called a customer success team, led by a person with a ton of experience customizing internationalization programs for companies. They will know what works and what doesn’t for companies like yours. They’ll also help you find and hire the right linguists for your project, not just to update content, but to also reflect your brand accurately in a new language.
#4: Establish the maintenance workflow
How are you going to ensure content is continuously updated for your site? Keep in mind that website translation is an advanced part of localization. Websites see constant updates and changes. You’ll need a workflow in place to ensure all your various language versions match. You’ll want to look into options like WordPress connectors, the WordPress Multilingual Plugin, and other tools like a localization management platform to facilitate continuous translation.
#5: Build a QA Process
It’s imperative to have a regular process in place, not just to check the text, but to also see how it displays once it goes live. You may have dilation problems, where content takes up more room than your text boxes allow. You could have issues with content that displays right to left, like Arabic or Persian. You could even see sentences break when the program mistakes punctuation for code. A robust quality assurance process will check for these issues before it goes live.
Staying Results-Focused in Internationalization
It’s essential to never get too attached to a process during internationalization. This is your opportunity to discover what works and what doesn’t for your company. Getting smaller problems out of the way will help you understand the various pitfalls of your program and correct them.
Data will be a critical tool here. You’ll want to use a platform that allows you to collect the data and create granular-level reports. You can see where your readers go on your site, your most popular content, and regions of potential opportunity. All this data is going to guide your localization strategy and help you make better business decisions.
Machine translation can also be a helpful tool. You can use it to translate lower-priority content at a low cost and then test the response from the market in various languages. You can send it on for more robust translation for the higher-demand content while eliminating languages that perform poorly. Just remember to make the reader aware that content is machine translated to head off misunderstandings.
A robust WordPress internationalization process will set you up for success early on. By working with a team of experts from the earliest stages and building out the proper method, you can streamline any market entry. This is a strategy that will preserve your content in any language and enhance your ROI.
Bureau Works helps guide your WordPress internationalization with a robust program and our expert customer success teams. Contact our team to discuss our solutions or request a demo to see our platform in action.