First of all, I do that.
Scrolling through different posts you can see that many of them are translated into Italian and English. As you can see, I don’t use a plug in but I rewrite the post (as a new piece) in the new language. But let’s degrees: I will explain shortly how and what I do to make my blog asccessible to Italian readers and to readers from all over the world.
Why to translate a blog? pros and cons
No need to say that, as a mere matter of numbers, it is preferable to have your own blog in two languages, your own language + English or Spanish or Chinese (it seems they are the three most spoken languages).
But almost all the Spanish and Chinese readers who love to read online can read in English, so useless for now to study charts reporting the figures of native speakers: what matters is the number of potential readers.
So you might ask me (and I was asked), why don’t you just blog in English?
My answers are:
- I love my language (Italian), it amuses me, it allows me to make style exercises and irony games that can’t be translated in other languages.
- I have some loyal readers who like to read in Italian and have been following me since my blog traffic was not even the least of my worries. These loyal and faithful people don’t match, in truth, a mind-boggling numbers, but I really don’t want to lose them.
- My mother reads only in Italian (and this could be the first and only good reason 🙂 I’m soooo Italian!)
My blog, for the three reasons mentioned above, has always been set in Italian language and on the search engines this matters.
Then you will wonder: why wasting time and not leaving everything in Italian only?
My answers are:
- No matter what the SEO says, gaining over time fixed foreign followers and readers is good for the ranking of the pages (and self-esteem)
- Blog ranking is also increased by back-links that you can put commenting on other blogs related to your articles (no, it is not spamming, this is a practice very popular among the worldwide bloggers)
- StumbleUpon has few Italian users users but this social helps sooooooo much with blog traffic!
The same for Pinterest.
- I LOVE SO MUCH the English language and it allows me to make puns and irony that would’t be understood in Italian.
- Most of the bloggers in fb groups that I’ve joined recently can’t read in Italian or use English as a vehicular language. Since these groups are funny and very inspiring (and useful) I don’t want to give them up, so I go on with English too.
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After this dissertation on good reasons (and counterparts) to have a blog in two languages despite not having a product to sell, but ‘only’ content to be shared, we come to understand how we can translate a blog in multiple languages.
I use three methods, two of them are based on the use of plugins, the other is a ‘trick’ that I use for my own blog.
Plugin for translation
I use plugins for my main customers: In the case of Aerialclick blog, that I’ve been writing for since 2012, the plugin is WPML Multilingual CMS.
Perfect for translating a blog and / or a website in two or more languages (Ita and Eng are the two that I use in this case), it costs $ 80 a year or $ 195 for good.
Very intuitive, it allows, after you’ve written and published a post in one language, to copy the contents from Italian and translate it manually (or to ask for a fairly low cost translation to a translator connected to the plugin company).
It allows you to set the SEO in multiple languages, dealing with translation as a new article.
For a customer that I’ve been working for since last November, (Salentodolcevita.com) I have instead adopted the free plugin qTranslateX plugin, which allows you to translate into many languages (I manage the Salentodolcevita blog in Italian, English and French).
After downloading qTranslateX, you have to download another plugin (qTranslateX slug) that serves as a widget to bring up the language flags next to each article.
Then you must place it at will from the widget section and follow the simple directions from the plugin settings (easier to do than to say, it takes 10 minutes).
While I have no contraindications for the first (after my customer has spent $ 200 for the plugin NO CONTRAINDICATION is my least expectation!), qTranslateX has some small flaws:
- Sometimes, clicking on the flags to read the translated post, the latter won’t appear immediately, but you need to click a second time
- once installed, it can no longer be uninstall, otherwise you lose a lot of posts (those translated).
- You can set the SEO in just one language
OBVIOUSLY, I say it for non-experts, but perhaps I should have said it at the beginning of this post, I’m not talking about an automatic translation! (every time you use google translate, a professional translator dies).
Then, there is the Sabrina’s way
As you can see from the articles in double language of my travel blog, there are no flags or buttons to switch the language. All the posts refer to a translation that is nothing more than another article with another SEO.
To read only the content in English, you can choose the category In English Only.
Why I don’t use one of the above mentioned plugins? (here we go with another list… sorry)
- because I don’t translate all the posts but only those suitable to the public reading in both languages (some posts are born in English, others in Italian and I decide from time to time whether each piece is not only translatable, but also localizable – technical term of the magical world of translation);
- because every translation is recognized as a new article, and this helps me (albeit little) in positioning because it turns out I’ve soooo much to write in moments of creative crisis (when I don’t know what to write, I translate an old post)
- because I often changed templates and graphics and maybe I’ll do it again if I had to find a new template suitable to the growth of my blog. Since the worpress templates don’t react always in the same way to the installed plugins (even more so for the more complex ones such as those for the translations), I prefer not to risk.
And that’s it.
Translating any post or much of them is objectively an effort and an investment of time, but I would never give up any of the two identities of my travelblog.
Because having to reset not only a language but the irony, semantics, puns and imagery itself is a real change of identity of a text and of an author. And it is one of the things I love most of the ‘translations’ side of my work.