Multilingual blogging with WordPress

I have meant to do it right from the start, but after few testings and playing around on my test blog, I have at last started to embark on billingual blogging. The plugin I am using is Basic Bilingual. On the way, I looked around other WordPress plugins for bilingual or multilingual support. I tried out few, but not all, so I thought I write a bit about it.

There are quite few plugins out there for a multilingual blogging, from relatively simple to complex. I looked around the plugin site, and decided to tryout few. They were:

Basic Bilingual

Basic Bilingual plugin is the simplest plugin out of the list above. It is for bloggers who write posts in two languages. Sometimes in one, and sometimes in another. This plugin will allow you to add an excerpt in another language. It will aslo allow to store the information on post’ language in meta format.

It is what Stephanie Booth, the author of this plugin, calls it “lazy multilingualism”. You find it difficult to produce a translated version for every posts, but by providing an excerpt in other language, they will at least able to know what the post is about.

Basic Multilingual

Basic Multilingual is based on Basic Bilingual. The idea of “lazy multilingualism” is still there. The difference is that the excerpt is not in other language, but in third language. Like the author of this plugin uses it on their site, I think its most useful if you can set english as the third language.

Polyglot

Polyglot is more of a complex plugin. It has a feature to detect the preffered language used in the visitor’s browser, and automatically select and show the version of articles written in that language. You can translate the title and the whole article.

Gengo

Gengo is probably the most complex and powerful multilingual plugin out there. It allows to write translations for the excerpt and the content of any posts. It also has a feature to generate the correctly marked up semantic informations, such as the language and links.

Like Plyglot, Gengo will select which language to be shown. You can switch between, say, English and Japanese, but not both at once. (Note that Gengo has been upgraded in relatively short intervals since its relase back in Feb. There for there might be some features I missed out since I played about with it.)

My choice

In the end, I decided to go with the Basic Bilingual plugin. Not because it is the best one out there, but it was the one that fit most to my needs. I decided that translating the whole article was a bit too much. I certainly wanted sometime to write in English, and sometime in Japanese. I also decided that I would like to not to select the language shown. I wanted both English and Japanese posts in same page. The Basic Bilingual plugin do just that.

If anyone is interested in doing multilingual blogging with the WordPress, I suggest that you play around with the test blog, if you can set it up. Definitely for a relative novice in PHP and MySql like me, as this type of plugin is unlikely to be “just activate and it works”, rather it will certainly involve certain amount of fiddling about.