Many people want to publish their blog in different languages or offer translations to their readers. Often a translation plugin is used offering automated translation via Google Translate or Babelfish. But if you speak/write several languages you can use the WPML plugin to publish your blog in several languages, and if you want to have each language on a separate (sub)domain.
The great thing about WPML is the ease to set the plugin up and stat using it, contrarily to other plugins. All you need to do is upload the plugin and fill in the settings.
The first settings panel after activating the plugin allows you to set the main language, this is the language an entry will be published in if you do not select an other language for that post. Note that this setting will not change the language of your WordPress admin backend, you still need to localize your WP install for this (more info on localization at the WordPress codex).
When using the basic settings, you now only have to opt what other languages you want to add to your site. Once you have selected the additional languages you only have to decide where you want the widget with the language switcher. If your theme does not use widgets, use
<?php do_action('icl_language_selector'); ?> in your theme. You can customize the display/colors of the language selector in the advanced settings.
Now your site is prepared to deal with multi-lingual content.
Publish Different Languages On Different Subdomains Or Domains
With WPML it is easy to set your blog up to display every language on a sub-domain or different domain for other language content. To set this up you must dive in the ‘Advanced settings’. The settings to make or change are rather obvious and self-explanatory and the plugin provides ample information when a setting can not be made (see second screenshot)
Adding sub-domains or new domains for other languages is simple. Note that these must have been setup prior to configuring WPML as WPML does not change any DNS entries. If you have not set the domains up, uncheck ‘Validate on save’. Tip: first set your (sub) domains up. 😉
Publishing Your Blog In Several Languages
Whenever you write an entry you can now select in what language this post has to be published and WPML will do the hard work for you. If you have a look at your entries in /post.php or /edit.php you will notice that there is a new column.
Next to every entry you can now see if posts have also published in the other language(s). Clicking on + for any post/language now shows a new option on the writing editor page: ‘This is a translation of with a drop-down menu of all your entries.
This concludes the main part of using WPML in an all-day situation. I need to mention that WPML has many more options such as translating plugin and theme strings or breadcrumb navigation. You can even change the CSS. An extensive documentation is available.
What I like most about WPML is how the plugin can be used for more than just multi-language sites. With a little creative thinking you could use it for different purposes and use the plugin as a ‘mini WPMU’ for large multi-authored sites.
A good example of this would be to use WPML to create a gaming site with similar structure to Joystiq: a sub-domain for every platform. With some minor tweaks you could change the name of languages and replace with the name of gaming platforms. Do the same for the flags and attribute every author a certain platform (language) in their profile and without any supplementary effort you now have a multi-gaming-platform with an easy way to review games with their own entry for each platform they have been released for without cluttering your main feed.
Read more about the plugin at the WPML website.