Developing a multilingual blog

by Talha Fazlani on November 24, 2011 · 18 comments






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During the early years of the internet, English used to be the predominant language on the web. Native English speakers accounted for the majority of the online population, but with the global spread of internet usage, they now only account for 26.5% users on the web.

During the last decade, the global growth of the Internet has resulted in increasing use of local languages online. Just last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), which are domain names in a language-specific script such as Arabic, Chinese or Russian. A total of 21 countries including China, India and Korea have already been granted language script-specific IDN’s and this is an indication of the changing online landscape.

As most bloggers are focused upon English, they could potentially be missing out on a vast readership right now and even more so in the future. A multilingual blog will increase global reach and cultivate a strong international following.

  • Creating a Multilingual Blog

Major blogging platforms like WordPress (Read multilingual WordPress) have a number of plugins that can be used to create a multilingual blog easily.

The available plugins have varying features, and it is good to assess them first in order to find a suitable one that is appropriate for you. For this purpose, a test site should be used to verify everything and a suitable plugin selected to provide content in different languages.

  • Which Languages to Select?

Language selection is very important and many bloggers would ask which languages should be selected for their blog?

Bloggers should choose languages based on the following factors:

Internet users by Language: The larger the internet base for a language, the more valuable it is for bloggers to target. Languages like Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese have grown considerably online; even regional languages like Telugu (one of the national languages of India) are being encoded for the internet so that Telugu speakers (74 mil worldwide) can access content in their own language.

Traffic can be vastly increased by targeting the top languages on the internet, and it would allow a blog to gain high visibility amongst a good percent of web users worldwide.

Languages of existing blog audience: Website analytic tools provide data on visitors by country/territory, and this information is very useful for creating content that is relevant to your audience. If you have a high amount of visitors from a specific country and/or region, it would be appropriate to select languages that are spoken there for content translation.

  • Translating Content

Once you have the ability to provide multilingual content, the main and reoccurring requirement of translation should be addressed. Online tools like Google Translate and Yahoo’s Babelfish are adequate to convey simple messages to a personal audience. However, if your blog is client-facing then they are not suitable because of the higher risk that the translations are inaccurate or convey a different meaning from that intended. The best possible solution for translation are to use a native speaker in the language being translated into with professional experience as a translators. As blogs have content posted on a regular basis, it’s advised to work with a single translator who develops an understanding of the writing style and the topics that are written about on the blog to provide accurate and consistent translations.

If the blog is managed by a person or a group of individuals who can speak different language(s), then it is good to provide blog content in those specific languages. Content is very important, and it is essential to have grammatically correct content.

  • Localization

The process of localization extends further than just translation; it encompasses cultural, social and legal norms to adapt a service or product for the target market. The translated content should be specific to the market it is aimed at so the images, examples and other illustrations used should resonate with the target audience. This would allow you to retain readers because localization has a positive impact on web users who prefer to read locally relevant content.

These simple steps are all that is required to create a multilingual blog, and the blogs which are able to provide multilingual content will lead the way in an increasingly multilingual web.

Have you tried making your blog multilingual?  Please let us know in the comments below.



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{ 18 comments }

Aanchal November 24, 2011 at 4:44 am

Hi Talha,

How can you find language specific blog, is there any way to search them?
Aanchal´s last blog post ..Web Design India

Talha November 24, 2011 at 9:52 am

As stated by ‘Online Marketing’, go to the search settings and choose the recommended language(s).

Once you have selected the language that you want to find results for, go to Google Blog Search (http://www.google.com/blogsearch) and search for any topic to locate language specific blogs.

If you don’t know a language, and you still want to find blogs in another language. Then go to options again, and select language tools. In the language tools you can write an English search term and select the languages you want to find results in. Google will automatically translate the search term and find suitable results for your search query.

Here is the URL of language tools by Google: http://www.google.com/language_tools?hl=en

Jasmine November 26, 2011 at 2:20 am

Great tips to search for language specific blogs. I have never though of that… Thanks ya!
Jasmine@Top Web Hosts´s last blog post ..HostGator Black Friday 2011: 50% Discount On All Hosting Plans

Talha November 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Hi Aanchal,

Go to Option > Search Settings and select a search language to find language specific blogs. Use Google Blog Search to find language specific blogs by topic after selecting a search language.

Similarly, if you do not know a language, but want to search content in that language. Go to Options > Language tools and use the translates search function for search queries. Through this, you can conduct a search in English, and obtain results in selected language(s).
Talha @ Translation Services´s last blog post ..[15.11.2011] Introduction to Multilingual SEO: International SEO Campaigns

kim November 24, 2011 at 6:48 am

This is a great idea because a lot of bloggers will benefit from this.Thanks for sharing this information with us.
kim´s last blog post ..My Arowana Is Not Eating No Matter What I Do !!!

Talha November 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thank you for commenting.

With greater demand for multilingual content, bloggers can gain a lot of benefits from targeting global web users.

Kavya Hari November 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

Multilingual blog will increase web reach and increase web traffic into the blog. Most of the blogging platforms like Word press and it has an number of plugins that can be used to create blog easily on here. Thanks a lot for sharing your post on here :)
Kavya Hari´s last blog post ..Amazing News For Webmasters!

Talha November 24, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks for your comment, there are a lot of opportunities to be gained from developing a multilingual blog. However, the amount of multilingual blogs on the iternet is still low and many have not considered providing multilingual content.
Talha @ Translation Agency´s last blog post ..[15.11.2011] Introduction to Multilingual SEO: International SEO Campaigns

Adie Andrews November 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

I am mostly pleased from the options which Wordpress platform is providing besides make your wordpress blog multilingual could be done in a few minutes. Even though I am pretty sure that in the future there will be much more options for adding different language to your blog or site using the already existing is a pretty good idea.

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Talha November 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

You are right, there are adequate plugins available for multilingual functionality right now. However there is still a lot of development that needs to be done that can provide a more holistic blogging platform.

Robin November 26, 2011 at 2:21 am

Language specific blogs are coming up fast and I see many blogs with three-four language options in it. Excellent post and thanks for the great idea.
Robin@Samsung Tablet´s last blog post ..Samsung Tablet PC – AT&T will provide Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G LTE from November 20’2011

Talha November 26, 2011 at 11:48 pm

You are welcome.

It is necessary to provide multi-language content, and more so in the coming future.

Jasmine November 26, 2011 at 2:21 am

Creating a multilingual blog will definitely be beneficial, we will be able to cater to more readers. Think for example, if we have content in Chinese, we can cater to the billions of users from China and get a lot of traffic! Cool eh? :)
Jasmine@Top Web Hosts´s last blog post ..HostGator Black Friday 2011: 50% Discount On All Hosting Plans

Talha November 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Like I said in my post, there are a lot of opportunities that will open up with a multilingual blog.

Its just a matter of implementation and providing accurately translated content.

Mukundan Srinivasan November 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I too wanted to create a multilingual site but it’s time consuming. i use google translate and some plugin but no plugin does the work perfectly.

Talha November 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

When there would be adequate demand, better plugin’s and tools will be available for development of multilingual site.

There are some good plugin’s out there, you need to test them before deciding on one.

Prasenjit November 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

THanks Talha for this wonderful article. I think there is a paid wordpress plugin which can do automated translations. But as far as I remember, that is quite expensive. Do you remember the plugin name by any chance?

Talha November 30, 2011 at 10:20 am

Hi Prasenjit,

There is qTranslate which can be used to obtain human and machine translations.

There is also Transposh, and Global Translator which provide automatic machine translations. These tools are also free for Wordpress users.

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