Let’s face it, even though English is a popular international language, there are over 6,900 other languages around the world.
According to Wikipedia, Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, followed by Spanish, then English, Hindi, Arabic, etc. While English is popular, there are loads of other popular languages being spoken and written on a daily basis.
So why the heck don’t website builders offer an easy and functional way of allowing you to create multi-language websites?
I have no idea either.
Okay, I get it. Website builders won’t do the tough translation work for you, which is fair enough. But wouldn’t it be awesome if they built in some language switching mechanism that allows your visitors to switch to another language?
While their solutions to this problem may not be perfect yet, I’m going to take a look at what you can do with some of our favorite website builders (Wix, Squarespace and Weebly) to create a multilingual website.
Google Translate – Not THAT Cool
A lot of people will tell you to embed the free Google translate widget into your website. Your visitors just have to click on the widget button and all your content will be auto-magically translated into another language of your visitors’ choice.
Sure it’s a pretty quick way of building a bilingual website, but you are completely subject to how Google chooses to translate your text.
It’s probably the easiest solution to implement, and yes as “smart” as Google is, its translation tool is never perfect and is borderline unprofessional if you have a business website.
It’s helpful in a way that your visitors will get the general idea of what you’re trying to say. But, if you want to impress your visitors, win new businesses, and sound professional, then Google Translate is probably not the best option for you.
You can never beat translating languages “by hand” so to speak.
Too Many Duplicate Pages On Your Menu Bar
So even if you’re willing to manually translate the text on your website, how are you going to create a website where the menu bar doesn’t show multiple pages of the same thing, but in different languages?
The last thing you want to see is a menu bar with 3 home pages in 3 different languages. 3 versions of every single page will overload your menu bar, and really diminish the user experience of your visitors.
This is definitely something to avoid, but what can you do instead? Keep reading to find out!
We’ve looked around our favorite website builders and couldn’t find any groundbreaking solutions (which made us really sad…)
However, we did find some tutorials to help you create a multilingual site. They’re not the best solutions in the world (I think you can only do that with a custom site – but you probably wouldn’t be interested in this article if you’re a hardcore coder anyway), but they are functional.
If you’re not familiar with these website builders, have a quick look at our comparison table to check out their features:
Wix is one of the best website builders available in the market today. They offer you a pure drag and drop user interface, so you can place content anywhere on your website, and you don’t need to know how to code at all.
If you haven’t seen Wix yet, one of the nice things about Wix is that they offer you templates that are already pre-populated with content. So you just have to pick a template and start editing the pre-populated content (text, images, slideshows, etc) to make them your own.
Wix has a free multiple language app, Language Menu, that gives you multiple language capability.
The App automatically redirects your visitors to the language based on their browser’s language. For instance, if your website offers content in English, French, and Spanish, your visitor will be automatically directed to your Spanish pages if the app detects that his browser is based in Spain.
In the past, Wix had two templates that already had multiple language functionality built in.
Now, thanks to the Language Menu App, all you have to do is add the app to any template and you get access to this capability – the infrastructure of switching between languages is already done for you by Wix.
Check out some of our favorite Wix templates that will work great with the Language Menu App:
Wix Language Menu gives you a choice of over 30 languages that you can redirect your international visitors to.
The app also has a simple step-by-step guide to creating a multilingual site, which makes it quite easy for you to get up and running very quickly.
Squarespace is one of the better drag and drop website builders available in the market today. Their design templates are all mobile responsive and look gorgeous.
Squarespace’s Help Center is fantastic and they have a great tutorial that shows you how to build a website with multiple languages.
The tutorial recommends the Adirondack, Nueva (or any template in the Brine family) and Pacific (or any template in the Pacific family) templates as the best for creating a multi-language site.
If you visit the tutorial and click on the website images there, you’ll also see some live multi-language sites in action.
Weebly is one of the easiest website builders to use.
But as easy as it is to use, they also don’t offer any native multi-language capabilities for you to use (boo….)
However, they do offer you a multi-language app in their App Center, which makes it easy for your website visitors to change the language of your website without touching any codes.
Just install the app with 1 click and you don’t have to worry about anything more complicated than that. See this tutorial from Weebly.
The downside is that it’s not free (they do offer a 2-week free trial period though so you can try it out before you commit).
We dug around and found a free tutorial on how you can convert a standard Weebly website to a multi-language website.
Now it does require you to modify the codes of the template to make things work, but the author of this tutorial has generously laid out all the step by step instructions, as well as included all the codes for you to download and insert into your Weebly website.
The final product is pretty good as you can see in his demo site here.
There aren’t any fantastic solutions to this problem, but it is possible to build a multi-language site with the website builders in this guide.
We hoped that some of the larger drag & drop website builders would build in some native functions to help people create a better website with multiple languages.
For countries aside from those that use English as the primary language, this is a very important feature to have especially for business-related websites.
The solution with Weebly is a bit code intensive which may be a bit advanced for some users, but it’s one of the more interesting ones we’ve seen.
For now, the 3 “hacks” above are temporary solutions until the website builders create a native tool to make creating multilingual sites easier.
Let’s hope they will build in this feature sooner rather than later!
But in the meantime, these are adequate solutions to the problem, so why not try out a website builder to create your multilingual website: