A frequently heard wish from customers is that they want to make their WordPress and/or Woocommerce webshop multilingual. Several solutions are possible for this. We list the two most obvious solutions with their pros and cons.
1. Multilingualism using. a Plugin (WPML for example):
Quick, you install a plugin and you can start translating
Cheap, you only need to buy the plugin
Well manageable, you keep 1 WordPress dashboard and 1 database
You can easily send your text to a translation agency. They can translate it directly in the WordPress environment after which you can give approval to publish it on your website
External links via the API (such as Channable) automatically understand which language to use
Learning curve is relatively high with WPML, it works very well but to understand it you need to put some time into it. There are good manuals available
You have 1 database, performance can be an issue as everything has to be read from 1 table (WP_POST). Although this is relatively easy to solve with good hosting
2. Multilingualism using. a Multisite environment
You are actually making a separate 2nd WordPress site. The advantage is that this WordPress uses its own table in the database, which can benefit the performance
Manageable via 1 dashboard/login. You can hang multiple separate WordPress sites in a dashboard with a Multisite environment
You can install different plugins and functionalities per language/wordpress installation
You have to re-add each page separately for each language, even products if you have a webshop. With option 1 (WPML) you can simply press a button to copy the product to another language. And only translate the fields (product images often remain the same per language, so you don’t have to enter it again).
You have multiple WordPress installations, which you will also have to maintain. The whole becomes larger and perhaps more obscure.
You have to come up with a solution for each website to properly arrange your HREFS tags, using. you can use these tags to let Google know that a different language version for a page is also available. With option 1 WPML this is automatically arranged properly.
You have to apply the language switcher / flags per website yourself
There is no synchronization between languages. For example, if you change a product photo in language A, it will not automatically change in language B. You will have to do it manually.
We ourselves are the most fan of option 1, we also notice that our customers find it best to work in practice. We have used both options for customers. Our experience says that option 1 is the most workable in practice. Of course there are several ways to Rome and it may also be that option 2 works better for you. If you would like to discuss how you can make your WordPress/Woocommerce multilingual, please do not hesitate to contact us.