Let’s face it, even though English a popular international language, there are over 6,900 of other languages around the world.
According to Wikipedia, Chinese is the most popular language, followed by English, then Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, etc. So while English is popular, there are plenty 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?
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 in 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 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, 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.
So What Can You Do?
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’d probably wouldn’t be interested in this article if you’re a hardcore coder anyway), but the solutions are functional.
So here are some interesting approaches to building bilingual websites, with 3 of what we think are some of the best website builders in the industry today.
Multi-Language Website with Wix
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 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.
Wix has two templates that already has multiple languages built in. So once you choose these templates, all you have to do is rename the menu bar items, update the content with your own, and you’re almost done since the infrastructure of switching between languages has already been done by Wix.
Check out these two templates and you’ll see exactly what I mean:
Since the template is already built to cater to multiple languages, this makes it quite easy for you to get your site up and running very quickly.
Multi-Language Website with Weebly
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 offer a free trial period so you can test it out for free).
So 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.
Multi-Language Website with Squarespace
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.
Having said that, they do have a tutorial to show you how to build a website with multiple languages. They recommend using their Marquee and Pacific Adirondack templates, and actually show you a few steps on how to create your multi-language website.
If you visit the tutorial and click on the website images there, you’ll also see some live multi-language sites in action.
Conclusion – How to Build a Multi-Language Website
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