Hello my dear friends! Today I have great news - Simple Life Blog finally becomes bilingual!
The idea of translation appeared when I was on blogspot platform (some of you may remember this), because I was surprised by statistics. My blog was very young, but it had already received an enormous foreign traffic. Therefore, I implemented the simplest translation mechanism via Google Translate: I selected top 5 countries and installed appropriate flags next to the blog's header. However, this method worked badly: despite the fact that the blog received some additional visits, the quality of such a translation has always been (and it is still) ugly. Moreover, when a visitor went through "translation links" my blog was loosing part of attendance, thus increasing bounce rate. So, I decided to postpone bilingual functionality for some time.
When the blog moved to WordPress, I was still asking myself on "how to integrate translation in the most convenient way". That's why I spent a lot of time on learning articles of foreign bloggers. By that time I had already tried a whole bunch of multilingual plugins, but neither of them met my requirements. Finally, I found one custom language switcher that caught my attention. Nothing extraordinary - just country flags, but this plugin worked like a charm and I understood that this is it - bingo! Then I searched WordPress Plugin Directory for the plugin that this custom switcher was based on and installed it on my DesktopServer. It has been a time ago and if there hadn't been a recent case, there would be no such a fast implementation.
It was my american fellow, who dropped me the following phrase: "I like your style. I didn't understand everything in details, but I was fascinated". This phrase left me stunned, like I was struck by a lightning! This conversation took place two weeks ago and shortly after that, I vowed to code this goddamn bilingual functionality! :-D During the last week I've tested the plugin and worked on css-styling. Everything went fine.
Articles delimitation and visualization
Initially I've planned to use a separate section for English articles, but I rejected this option later - I thought that reading English articles in "Russian environment" was not quite a good idea. A bit later I found that the plugin allows me to choose widgets that will be shown depending on the selected language. So, my blog automatically received another valuable feature - visual distinction, that is English part looks a bit different and there are only few necessary blocks in the sidebar. By the way, I also created a separate RSS feed for the English version.
When my blog had been on the blogolife theme, I drew an interesting and peculiar switcher in Photoshop using jack union flag elements. There was no doubt about its symbolism, so I was planning to use it as the main language indicator. However, some time later I found a specific article, which listed such incorrect variants. After that, I decided not to use flags. One simple example: if you've noticed, even Windows uses letters as language indicators despite the fact that graphic ones perceive much faster. As for programmable part of my plugin, everything is implemented correctly - you can switch between languages only in manual mode and it will not switch it back occasionally, even if you click on blog header. If you choose another language while reading an article, it will switch you between articles (as intended), not to the index page. If an article on the selected language is not exist, only in this case you will be redirected to the root page of English version: http://santa-agata.com/en/.
All English articles will have the /en/ postfix after the blog address. The activity in the English "branch" is expected to be average or even lower, so I decided to use only categories - it should be enough to search any existing articles.
That's it for now. This is a really really valuable update for me. Although, it was slightly protracted, but I don't care - perfect things are not instantaneous. We'll see :)
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