- Posted by Stephen Whiteley
- On 07/11/2019
How can I make PHP website multilingual?
How to make PHP website multilingual? The goal of creating a website is to reach people from all over the world and connect with them more conveniently. Now, whether you are a simple blogger or a business owner, you must have tried to do search engine optimization (SEO) to rank your website better in order to reach a wider audience. However, did you know that turning your website multilingual is also a way to get more traffic or reach more people?
A website that supports multiple languages is accessible to a wider range of people with different cultural backgrounds. There are two ways to achieve this goal: hiring a translation agency and hiring a website developer. There are pros and cons to each and you should opt for the solution that suits you. In fact, you may utilize both solutions to witness better results.
Why you should hire a translation agency to make your website multilingual
If you know multiple languages, you may want to translate your website content into the languages that you know on your own. However, unless you have a small website, it can take a lot of time. Also, you will be limited to translating to the languages that you know. So, if you want your multilingual website to support more than 5 languages, you have no option but to hire a professional.
Hiring multiple translators may be feasible for some but you still have to find good translators who can follow deadlines and do a good job. Not to mention, you have to manage them all on your own. So, it makes more sense to hire a good translation agency that has access to multiple translators and can manage the team for you.
Why you should hire a website developer to make your website multilingual
Website developers can turn your PHP website multilingual by manipulating things from the back-end. Basically, they use methods like localization and internationalization (i18n) to enable your website to support multiple languages.
For localizing your PHP website, you have to create separate PHP files for each language (lang.en.php, lang.de.php) and define constant variables in it. Then, you must modify the MySQL table to support multi-language.
For internationalization, you can work with Gettext files such as PO (portable object) and MO (machine object) files. It is also important to maintain the proper directory structure and set the pluralization rules for different languages correctly.
If you have some knowledge of coding, you may try to do this process yourself but you should know that the whole setup can be very tricky to perform. If you want to maintain your sanity, it is better to hire a professional who knows what they are doing.
Hiring a translation agency vs hiring a website developer
If you hire a translation agency they will deliver you the same content in different languages. Thus, you have to create duplicate pages of each language that is supported by your website. This can take a lot of work. Plus, this service may be more expensive overall if you need to translate a big website. However, the end result will be the best possible quality you can hope to achieve.
Web developers will include language files, modify databases, and create rules in the backend of your website. They will do so to enforce automatic translation of the content based on the location from which your website is accessed. Ideally, you won’t have to lift a finger. However, automatic or machine translations will always be poor as it won’t be able to convey the nuances of different cultures.
If budget is not a concern, it is a good idea to hire both a translation agency and a web developer. That way you can maintain the same quality and meaning of the original content in different languages. Finally, you can make sure that your website remains as functional as possible.