WordPress.com Multilingual Blogs

hand and globeIf you are bilingual or multilingual and want to publish your free hosted WordPress.com in two or more languages but do not want to rely on machine translation that can be done.  You can have two or more blogs in different languages and interlink them via custom menus.  There’s also a workaround for publishing posts in two or more languages in the same blog.

Backgrounder

There is no FTP access to free hosted WordPress.COM blogs and we bloggers cannot install individual plugins such as Google translation widgets or any others for security reasons. Those found on the internet are for WordPress.ORG installs which run on different software.

We do not have bilingual or multilingual theme changers at WordPress.com. We can set only one interface language for our WordPress.com blogs.

When looking for a translation widget last year I uncovered the fact that although the Google translation widgets could not be used there was a workaround. You can view Translation page and it can also  note the “Translation available” link in the widget at the top of my sidebar. —  Related post: Translation widget for WordPress.com blogs

As there are bloggers who are fluent in more than one language, below is the three step workaround for publishing posts in two or more languages of in the same blog.

1.   Select the interface language

Though you can set only one interface language in any WordPress.com blog,  you can write and publish blog posts in two (or more) language versions of the entry on the same blog.

Dashboard > Settings > General

(You can also modify the interface language in your profile > Users > Personal Settings.)

Scroll down the page and locate this heading:
Language
Language this blog is primarily written in. ( Select one language from dropdown menu provided.)
Then scroll down and click “save changes”.

2.  Create a Category for each language

Dashboard > Posts > Categories

Create a Category for each language (example: English, Spanish) by using the guide Adding Categories via the Dashboard.
Later you will be Adding Categories via the Categories Module to the corresponding language versions of the posts prior to publishing them.

3.  Custom menu

You can create a custom menu and add the two dynamic Categories pages to it.

Dashboard > Appearance > Menus

Create a custom menu
Add Categories pages to the custom menu

(Category pages will have nothing to display until after you publish a post in the category.)
Note:  There are many common errors, misunderstandings and misconceptions when creating custom menus.

Your readers will be able to click the Category tab for the language of their choice in the custom menu and read and comment on the post in their preferred language.

Special Note: See Quillpad

29 thoughts on “WordPress.com Multilingual Blogs

  1. The problem is that the post will be published at the home page and the new menu, at the same time. I write in portuguese and would like to write in English too, but then I will have english posts on home and on “Posts in English”. Could you please give me some advice?
    Thanks

    • Actually, it is *not* necessary to display a single main page showing all of the posts.

      In the “Appearance” ==> “Menus” section of the dashboard, you can create a Menu, and then from the “Categories” subsection, you will add a menu-item for each of your language categories — say, English and Portuguese. Make sure that in the “Manage Locations” tab, you actually select this Menu that you just created.

      Then, in the “Settings” ==> “Reading” section of the dashboard, set your “Front page” to display a static page, but leave the “Posts page” empty (because that would show posts from all categories)! Your readers will be able to choose the “English” or “Portuguese” menu in order to see the posts in the corresponding language.

  2. Your workaround for mixing posts in different languages on the same blog will not work perfectly if the blog mixes both right-to-left languages (such as Hebrew or Arabic) and left-to-right languages (such as English).

    Although WP.com offers many themes that support the “RTL Language Support” feature, at any given moment these themes work either in “right-to-left” or in “left-to-right” mode, for the contents of the entire blog, depending on the “Language” setting in “General Settings.” There is no way to specify “Language” on a per-post basis.

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  5. Did you see me floundering through this blog and all the support pages at WP to figure this out last night, TimeThief? Basically I came to this conclusion too, playing in my test blog, and will be implementing shortly in live version. I am still struggling with a couple related things on RSS and the Category page, if I don’t figure them out soon, look for me on the Support Forum! Thanks very much!

  6. Sweet post, TT! I have a friend who is fluent in both English and Japanese. She may decide to publish in both languages. You can bet she’s getting an email linking to this blog post as soon as I finish typing this comment and hit “Enter!” ;)

      • Hi Kerwyn,
        No, of course I don’t mind. In fact, I thank you. I do hope what you shared will be shared over and over again within the WordPress.com community so as many as possible benefit from this 3 step workaround.

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