A couple students in John’s Monday afternoon section asked about best practices for making your website available in more than one language. I don’t have a definitive solution but there are a couple approaches you can take.
One solution would be to create a separate website for each language. For instance, Almudena Toral, from the class of 2010, created English and Spanish versions of her capstone project. They are actually two separate WordPress websites, the former on the primary domain and the latter on an “es” subdomain. From what I remember, she created the English version first, both content and design, and then ported all of it to the Spanish website. I’d imagine it took somewhere around a couple hours to rebuild the site with Spanish content. This approach can be a time-suck; I’d only recommend doing it this way when working on a one-off project or a website that won’t need to be updated often.
Another solution would be to have your website support multiple languages in creative ways. For instance, my friend Stijn Debrouwere has two versions of his homepage. Dutch:
The first homepage lives at http://stdout.be/ and the second at http://stdout.be/en.html. Visitors can switch between versions with the clearly marked language indicators in the top right. You could do something similar by creating homepages for each language using the WordPress Pages functionality, and then have one appear by default and the others in a navigation menu.
Stijn has also broken his blog into English and Dutch by creating a category for each. I don’t believe he translates every article, however.
If you have needs beyond these, feel free to take a look in the WordPress.org plugins directory and let us know what you need by filing a support ticket. Leave your tips on this topic in the comments.
Thanks very much! 🙂