WooCommerce Multilingual is a newly released plugin from WPML, the developers behind the popular WordPress Multilingual plugin. This free plugin allows you to use the great features of WPML to build a multilingual WooCommerce powered eCommerce site. If you want to combine the best multilingual plugin for WordPress with one of the most popular store builders then this plugin is just for you.
Features and Usage
In order to use this plugin, it is necessary for your site to have a few other required plugins installed. These plugins are from WPML and are used to add the multilingual functionality to your WordPress site.
Once the required plugins and WooCommerce Multilingual have been installed, a new menu item entitled WooCommerce Multilingual will be added to the WPML submenu on the admin dashboard sidebar. From here you can access the settings for the plugin.
If you’ve already been using WPML on your site and have setup the different languages you are planning to use on your site, this plugin will use the same settings. However, if you are new to both WPML and the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin then now is the time to walk through the settings and define the languages for your site.
The developers have chosen to emulate the design and appearance of the WordPress dashboard admin area for the control panel of this plugin. This means moving between these settings and other pages of the admin area is a seamless experience.
When it comes to setting up the multilingual pages for your eCommerce store, the plugin can create copies of each of the essential WooCommerce Store Pages in the languages you have enabled. This takes just one click of a button and the pages will be created and translated where possible. For this review I was creating a German language version to run alongside and the English language version. The plugin was able to recreate the pages in the additional language, however, not all languages are catered for in the same way, requiring you to manually enter the translations.
As it’s highly likely your store will use categories, tags or custom taxonomies, they should be translated into all the different languages your site supports. If you haven’t created any of the necessary categories or tags for your store, then you should first do so in the default language for your site. This can be done from the WooCommerce Products > Categories or Tags admin page.
Once store taxonomies exist in the site’s default language, the plugin will display them in the control panel under the Product Categories or Product Tags sub-page. Here you can filter the taxonomies according to whether they’ve been translated or not, and you can also search for an individual plugin to translate. This functionality is helpful when it comes to working with sties that make use of a large amount of categories and tags.
The translation will have to be done manually at this point, but it is easy to enter the corresponding words, as it can be done by simply clicking on the category you wish to translate. This opens a small lightbox style popup window from where you can enter the word and save it without needing to refresh the page at any point.
From this part of the control panel, you can also enter the translation for the Product Category labels, including the singular and the plural versions.
The most important part of setting up your eCommerce store in another language will be translating the product pages. Once you’ve created the products as normal in your default language using the WooCommerce functionality, you can create the translated versions using this plugin.
This can be done from the WooCommerce Multilingual control panel, or options page, under the sub-page entitled Products.
As with the Categories sub-page, you can easily filter the products in your store to quickly identify those that need translating. As this plugin supports translations for multiple languages, each language will be given a column in which an icon will be displayed to indicate whether it has been translated or not.
When it comes to entering a translation, the alternate version can be entered directly from this page, using the popup method again. Simply click on a product name to see the fields that a translated version can be created for, such as Title, Content and any images.
From the popup window, you can choose to view the content already entered for a particular language or click on the ‘Edit translation’ button to enter the content in another language. This again uses the lightbox popup effect to display both the default language version and the target language side by side for easier translation. You also get access to the same toolbar menu items as you would when creating a new product or post in WordPress, allowing you to easily format the text.
If you save a product translation without completing all the available fields, the plugin will notify you of what pieces of content are still outstanding, such as the excerpt, title or purchase note.
When it comes to product variations, which could include different sizes or colours of existing products, or even a different price for a different region, WooCommerce Multilingual automatically creates corresponding variations for the additional languages of your store. You will still have to edit them to enter the translation, but all variations will be instantly created by the plugin, when they are created in the default language.
The plugin also provides support for translating the product image information including their associated fields such as the title, caption and description.
Once the product has been fully translated for a particular language, the icon will change to a check mark in that particular language’s column.
Managing the Products
When translating a product into an additional language, you are in effect creating a new product. The new products can be managed from the plugin control panel or via the WooCommerce Products menu. From here you can filter the product by language and also edit them in a particular language.
A great feature of the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin is its ability to manage the stock levels of products across multiple languages. This means that when you sell a product, the language version does not matter and the stock inventory levels will be updated for all language versions of that product. You only have to set the inventory levels in the default language and the plugin will automatically update the inventory for all languages. While this is what you would expect, the fact that this plugin does successfully manage to do this should not be overlooked.
End User Experience
Once the plugin has been configured and the products and other information for the store have been translated, visitors to the store will now be able to browse the inventory in the languages you have enabled. As part of the functionality of the WPML plugin, the site will feature a menu to allow the user to set the language.
Once set, the WooCommerce store pages and the other items that have been translated, either automatically via the plugin data or manually by you, will be displayed in the chosen language.
The WooCommerce Multilingual plugin is free but it requires the WPML plugin which is a premium product available on a number of price plans.
Support and Documentation
As WooCommerce Multilingual is available through the WordPress.org plugin repository, support issues can be raised using the relevant user forum. You can also receive support for the plugin in a range of languages at the support area of the WPML site.
How to set up the plugin is also well documented on the WPML site. The support page walks you through the steps for configuring the plugin.
Final Conclusion and Recommendations
If you want to setup a multilingual eCommerce website then the WooCommerce Multilingual plugin is the best solution. It builds on the excellent functionality of WPML and makes it very easy to create a WooCommerce store that works, and lists products in multiple languages.
The plugin menus and settings pages are very well delivered and there is no noticeable transition from the core WordPress function menus to those that are part of this plugin, creating a seamless user experience that is great for those developing sites for clients that want an easy to understand eCommerce store.
The documentation for the plugin also makes the setup process easy as every option is clearly covered. While the creation of multiple products, one for each language, might sound a little confusing, in practice the multiple versions are easy to manage, thanks to the filtering that the plugin adds to the product listing pages on the backend.
Although the plugin is free, it does work on top of the premium WPML plugin. But if you are serious about creating a multilingual site or store, then investing in WPML is the best option for achieving your goals.
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