Building multiple non-English websites (Help Please)

I have a potential client/project, and I'm considering using WordPress.

I've never built a non-English site in Wordpress, or any other CMS before, though I have been building websites for 21 years.

This client will need a global site in English, and then 14 additional similar matching sites in different languages. Each site will have only the products and information available for that specific country, so the sites will be structurally the same, with the same design, but content will vary, and be somewhat different, as will many of the images with graphical call outs, as these ads/product images/call-outs will have graphical text displayed the various languages. The translated text will be provided by the client. Therefore, this isn't a case of just translating one site into many languages, as each site is specific to the content for each country, including images.

This is basically 15 different websites, but one domain.

I'm hoping you can advise me on the following questions, please:
(1) Is WordPress suitable for this type of project?
(2) Would I need a different WordPress site/hosting for each of the 14 non-english sites?
(3) Is it possible to build all 15 language sites in one instance of WordPress?
(4) What about the Admin? Is it possible to have the admin translated into the language of each site? Can you tell me how that would be possible?
(5) Are there any plug-ins that help with this type of development?
(6) I'm trying to understand what the admin would see when logging into the Chinese site? When they want to provided the translated text, that's fine for the user seeing the site, but when they are administrating the site, I'm thinking they need to see the Admin in their own language... Is that even possible?
(7) Are there any example sites that someone learning can view, login and see?
(8) I've only built a couple custom basic WordPress sites from scratch. I normally purchase premium themes and then customize the demo content for my clients. I'm not a PHP scriptwriter, but have some basic understanding of PHP, as I have programmed in ColdFusion for several years. I'm a resourceful re-user of free code, but not knowledgeable enough to build from scratch. I'm a monkey see, monkey do. [Hey, I'm supporting a family of 6, and I just do what I can to make a living :wink: ] I am versed in HTML 5, Bootstrap 3, CSS and some JQuery and JavaScript.

The challenge is the non-English languages... any advice on how to begin, what direction to take??

Anyway, if you could point me in the right direction on how to best tackle this WordPress project, I would be very grateful.

I realize I've asked a lot of questions. I'm sorry for that, but I really need this work, so I'm hoping to figure this all out.

Thanks.
elizabeth :wink:

  • Tyler Postle

    Hey Elizabeth,

    Hope you're doing well today!

    I'll answer each question individually for ya, best I can anyway :p

    (1) Is WordPress suitable for this type of project?

    Yes :slight_smile:

    (2) Would I need a different WordPress site/hosting for each of the 14 non-english sites?

    WordPress Multisite would be your best option for this based on what you've said so far. It will allow you to have separate sites but all controlled within the same network. So you have 1 login to domain.com, then can have each site at either site1.domain.com or domain.com/site1

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network

    Often users opt to go with the subdirectory look for different languages, so you could have domain.com/es/ for the spanish version.

    (3) Is it possible to build all 15 language sites in one instance of WordPress?

    I kind of answered this in my answer above, you can with multisite.

    (4) What about the Admin? Is it possible to have the admin translated into the language of each site? Can you tell me how that would be possible?

    Yup :slight_smile: you will want to go to: Settings > General > Select language for each site. That will change the language for all the default WordPress stuff, then you will need to add language files for any plugins or themes you add in. We actually have a community translation section that has a lot of languages already translated for our plugins: https://premium.wpmudev.org/translate/

    (5) Are there any plug-ins that help with this type of development?

    Multisite content copier and New Blog Templates would likely help you out here.

    Multisite content copier lets you copy content from one site in your network to others. Keep in mind you would need to translate this content after copying it over, but may be easier to have it there first and then translate it.

    New Blog Templates lets you setup a template to be used for all new sites. So you could have the basic layout of your site all setup right away as soon as the site is created then just add in your language specific content :slight_smile:

    (6) I'm trying to understand what the admin would see when logging into the Chinese site? When they want to provided the translated text, that's fine for the user seeing the site, but when they are administrating the site, I'm thinking they need to see the Admin in their own language... Is that even possible?

    You could use this plugin here to set different languages for the dashboard based on profile setting: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-native-dashboard/

    (7) Are there any example sites that someone learning can view, login and see?

    I don't have any examples of this to show, but hopefully this is painting a bit of a picture so far :slight_smile:

    (8) I've only built a couple custom basic WordPress sites from scratch. I normally purchase premium themes and then customize the demo content for my clients. I'm not a PHP scriptwriter, but have some basic understanding of PHP, as I have programmed in ColdFusion for several years. I'm a resourceful re-user of free code, but not knowledgeable enough to build from scratch. I'm a monkey see, monkey do. [Hey, I'm supporting a family of 6, and I just do what I can to make a living :wink: ] I am versed in HTML 5, Bootstrap 3, CSS and some JQuery and JavaScript.

    You could probably use this method without knowing any code at all, so you're ahead of the game :wink:

    The challenge is the non-English languages... any advice on how to begin, what direction to take??

    To sum up, you can use WordPress Multisite to create several sites each with a different language - once you have the basics of the first subsite setup then you can use New Blog Templates to use it as a template for all your future sites, saves a lot of time.

    Any posts/pages you want to sync over, at any point, you can use Multisite content copier - then go and translate them as needed.

    Hope that helps Elizabeth! If you have any follow up questions just let us know :slight_smile:

    All the best,
    Tyler

    PS. Another option you might want to look into is using WPML: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/multilingual-wordpress-wpml/

    Keep in mind, WPML is a paid plugin, but that blog post should give you a good understanding of how it works so you can decide which method will be better for you.

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