If reaching different speaking audiences is crucial to you and you're wondering if Duda's multilingual capabilities fit you, then this article is for you.
In addition to helping you decide if Duda's the right platform to handle your content translations, I'll provide tips to succeed with the Duda multi-language feature. It's rather easy, but there are a couple of gotchas.
There are reasons to leverage the Duda multi-language built-in tools, and there are reasons to not.
Let's explore this Duda feature and the scenarios that would persuade me to either use it or not.
I recently went through this analysis for a client and determined Duda multilingual was the right choice. It's been three months since we launched the website, so here we are going to look back at the results.
Note: I'll be covering manual translations. I don't have experience with the automated one, but I know it happens through Google Translate. My client has translators and wanted to go that route for accurate translations.
How Duda Multilingual Works
There are a lot of ways to add content to Duda.
We've got blogs, pages, collections, business info, and more.
Multilingual works on pages.
When enabling another language, Duda basically duplicates all your pages. Each set of pages are only seen in whichever language you are viewing (meaning you don't see duplicates right next to each other).
There are several consequences to this.
First, the multilingual capabilities are only on pages. Second, any changes made after adding a language (aka duplicating your site) have to be made for each language.
It's important to remember that adding a language essentially duplicates pages and adds the language code at the beginning of the URL (e.g., example.com/es).
Once I understood this, it made sense to me what was multilingual capable and what was not.
Pro Tip: If you are adding Spanish to the website, there are many countries to select from. I found it best to select Spain to get the "/es/" URL as Mexico gave us "/es-mx". Beyond the URL, it doesn't matter unless you use the countries flag on your website as the language switcher (we just used the language name).
The Pros to Duda's Multi-Language Implementation
There are two ways to implement translations on a website: frontend and backend. Duda uses the backend.
The benefit of doing translations on the backend is your website can rank for your translated text. When Google, and other search engines, crawl your website, they use whatever content is served up on the backend.
A frontend translation would give the page in English (or your default language) and then dynamically swap out text with your translations. Google doesn't work well with dynamically rendered text.
The backend translations led our website to have each version of the page indexed. When someone searches in Spanish, our Spanish pages are displayed in the search results.
The search engine factor was the deciding factor in our choice to use Duda's translations (opposed to a frontend tool like Google Translate).
We know that my client's consumers are searching in both English and Spanish, so it was vital to gain access to that traffic through an SEO-friendly translation tool.
A bit obvious but not to be overlooked. Having a built-in tool means it integrates nicely with Duda.
There are built-in language switchers on the website, and in the editor, their support can help you with multilingual features, and it's free!
The Cons to Duda's Multi-Language Implementation
The downsides are not to be overlooked. You need to weigh them and figure out if the pros outweigh the cons.
Every Content and Design Change is Duplicated
Once you enable another language, the two copies of your web pages exist independently of each other.
- If you add a page on one language you need to add it on the other.
- If you modify text on one page, you need to modify it on the other.
- If you change the background on one page, you need to... modify it on the other.
Keep this in mind. You'll have to almost double your hours for each content change and design change you make (it's not quite double because you can copy and paste between the languages).
Only Pages are Translatable
The full-page and its SEO fields are translatable. Blogs, collections, business info, and anything else that doesn't happen through pages are not translatable.
Pro Tip: We duplicated each collection and business text field and appended "Español" to it. Then on each Spanish page that connected to data, we changed the connection to the translated collection/field. This was a solid workaround.
200 Page Maximum
This won't be a problem for most, but there is a 200-page limit to use the multilingual feature.
6 Tips to Succeed
Assuming Duda's multi-language feature is right for you, I'd like to pass on some tips that helped me succeed.
- Don't enable a language until the website is as done as it can be. Every change after a language has been added needs to be made twice. The last step of our project was adding the translations. We had the translator prepare the copy on a separate document so that it was a matter of copy and pasting when the language was enabled.
- Pay attention to language codes before adding a language. We wanted "/es" not "/es-mx" so we selected Spain.
- After adding the language, add the language switcher widget to the desktop, tablet, and mobile on both versions of the website (English and Spanish, for example. That is six areas you need to add it (assuming you put the switcher in the header).
- My client needed translations for blogs, so we ended up creating two posts for each one and tagging one with English and one with Spanish. Then on the front end, we filtered on each website to pull in the articles with the proper tag. It's not perfect, but it suffices.
- Translate URLs before publishing. URLs matter for SEO, and changing them after Google knows about them means you would need to add redirects.
- Translate all fields for the best SEO results.
Still not sure if Duda is for you? Check out my Duda review.
Hope that's helped! Let me know if you have any questions.
PS, If you haven't signed up for Duda yet, you can use this link to get 10% off and use code "createtoday".