Those in the know spotted it a long time ago: I’m making use of the WPML (WordPress Multilingual Plug-in) for this website. WPML provides a excellent example of how Language and Technology can be combined, which is precisely where Elangco’s area of interest lies. The makers of WPML have come up with a real winner here. To start with, WPML is free: Everybody who’s running a WordPress website can use it.
Language and technology are simply the ways and means used to communicate a message. The use of language and technology should go relatively unnoticed: One simple button on each page to select a language preference, that’s all we want to see. And, users only want to have to click the button once, after that everything should happen automatically.
The owner also has a preference for a highly user-friendly website. There is however, more than first meets the eye when managing a multilingual website: The language buttons on each page must link the user to exactly the right page in the other language. And, the structure of the whole website must be consistent… in both languages. (So far I’ve only been talking about two languages; when there are three or more, it only makes the situation more complex, it also demands a great degree of discipline in order to maintain consistency throughout the website.)
For years I maintained my website ‘by hand’, so I know what I’m talking about. WPML is a real breath of fresh air: It offers a complete structure, and helps to get (and keep!) everything in the right place.
But wait! There’s more: How do the makers of WPML make money, if they’re giving it away for free? They do it by offering a translation service; one which is seamlessly integrated into the website! Website administrators can send pages of text from their dashboard to the professional translators at ICanLocalize. (You’re not obliged to use the service, you could simply do the translation yourself, the choice is yours.)
Even though I could quite easily translate this page into English myself, I’ve chosen to send it to my trusty translator, with one click of a button. When the translation is ready it will appear automatically, exactly in the right place; on the English language section of my website. That’s exactly what I mean when I’m talking about the perfect combination of Language and Technology!
This post is also available in: Dutch