Multilingual websites with WPML

We use the WPML plugin to translate websites into multiple languages. While WPML’s user guides are great for setting up the plugin and translating an existing website, they are not so hot for what to do when you want to create new content.

So this is a quick guide that covers how to create a new blog post or page on a website that has already been translated.

For this guide we’re assuming that you are creating a new post in the site’s original language (usually English), and then creating a second version in your second language.

We’re also assuming that you are doing the translation yourself and not using auto translation or translation management, which work differently.

And this guide isn’t pretending to be THE way to accomplish this, but it’s A way that helps you to find your way around the software. The more time you spend with it, the more you’ll find different ways to do things.

If this doesn’t cover what you’re looking for, there are more links further down the page.

Creating a new page or post, and adding its translation to your WordPress website.

Step 1: Log into your site and proceed to posts or pages as usual.

Posts admin area with translation versions circled.

You’ll notice your content is split according to the languages used on the site, in this case English and French (circled).

Since English is the base language of this site, select English to view the English posts.

(depending on your profile settings, this may happen automatically)

Step 2: Create a new post

Now you’re in the English posts screen, select Add New as you normally would to add a new post.

Step 3: Create your content in your original language

Write your post as usual, adding your title, text images etc. You don’t have to do it right now – if you want to can skip straight to the next step, which is to create your duplicate post in your site’s translated language.

Step 4: Create your duplicate post

First of all, in the settings on the right, make sure you select Post or Page, rather than Block.

When you have Block selected, scroll down until you see the Language section.

Tick the box under Duplicate and the Duplicate button will appear on underneath it, as in the screenshot here.

Click on the Duplicate button and things will happen. Wait a few seconds until the page reloads.

By the way the two boxes under media attachments are pre-ticked and will mean you’ll get translated language versions of those images. That means you can do captions/alt text and description in your second language.

Congratulations! You have now created a blog post (or a page) in two languages. But there’s a way to go yet before you can publish.

Step 5: Creating the translated version of your post

So we’ve created the duplicate post, but that is just a duplicate of your original post in English. You’re going to need to translate it.

Assuming you’ve finished writing your original (English) post, adding images etc (and don’t forget the Yoast SEO panel), you can now move on to editing your post in your translated language.

You can do this in one of two ways.

Either: Scroll back to the language section of the settings bar and you see it’s changed, with a little link to show translations.

Just click on the Show link and a link to the translated post will appear with a pencil icon next to it.

Click on that and you’ll be taken to your new duplicate post, ready for translation.

Note: These controls only appear in the original (English) version of the page. Controls in the translation are slightly different.

You can also get to the new duplicate post by saving your original, then going to All Posts, then selecting your translation language as before.

You’ll see your list of posts in your translation language, with your new duplicate post waiting for you at the top. Click on edit to start editing.

Now you’re in your post, you can add your translated content. But before you do that you need to make a quick change in the settings. In the settings bar once again scroll down to the Translations section.

WPML keeps track of changes between the original version of a post and the translated version, but if you’re doing independent translations, you don’t need this.

So to stop things getting really complicated, it’s best to switch it off. Just click on the Translate independently link.

Step 6: Publish your posts

Obviously you want both posts ready to give live at the same time, so when you’re happy with your content, all media and SEO are done, then it’s time to publish both of your posts, the main language one first.

Just hit publish as normal on each post and they will go live on your site.

Tip: It is possible for you to have completely different content on each version of your site. Say for example you might want some posts or pages to appear only in English, or only in your translation language – that’s fine. It just means the language flags won’t appear on the page that doesn’t have a translation.

Other WPML help links

WPML is complex software that can be used in many different ways. If you’re using a site that we have set up then the difficult part is done for you and generally all you need to worry about is adding to your content.

Here are some links to more advanced topics: