Maintaining Multiple Language Blogs

In this article, I’ll explain how you can easily maintain your blog in different languages. We’re not talking about adding the free Google or Babelfish translation widget, but actually getting professionally translated text and posting it in images of your blog in multiple languages.

Hosted WordPress or BLogger

If your blog is on wordpress.com or blogger.com, it doesn’t get any easier than this. Just create a new blog from your admin control panel and select the language.

Blogger.com

Blogger.com control panelThis is blogger.com‘s control panel. You can see two blogs – one in English and another in German.

I just clicked on the Create a Blog link to create both of them.

Now, click on Settings, for the German language blog to change the visitor’s language.


Blogger.com language selection
In the Settings tab, click on Formatting and look for Language (it’s actually a bit lower down the page, I moved it up in the screen shot).

Select your visitors’ language and you’re done.

Remember that you’re not changing the contents of the blog with these settings. You’re just selecting the language for Blogger’s text (such as the date and navigation). You can see the final result in this German Blogger.com example.

On wordpress.com, the process is very similar – almost identical. The only difference is in the way the controls are arranged on the screen.

A blog installed on your server

The story becomes a bit more complicated when your blog is installed on your server. This is what you’ll need to take care of:

  1. Register a domain name for each new language you add
  2. Attach the domain name to your blog, using your control panel
  3. Install the blog in the new domain or enable the same blog software for multiple domains
  4. Install language packs for the translated blogs

Multiple independent installs

The easy way to do this would be to start from scratch and handle each domain as a completely different website. In this case, you’ll have to download and install the blog software for each domain separately.

Then, grab your theme and copy it to the other language blog.

The obvious advantage to this approach is that it’s easy to set up. Just like your original blog install. The downside is that you’ll have to maintain every copy separately. It’s a pretty major downside. This will include applying updates, installing plug-ins and updating your theme.

A shared install for multiple languages

A better way for maintaining your blog in multiple languages is to use the exact same blog installation and have it serve multiple languages. You can see how we’ve done it using WordPress at our instructions for installing WordPress for multiple language blogs.

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