Weglot just got a localization upgrade! Ever needed to translate your website into a language that’s not on our list of 110+? Now you can add any language, and we mean any (think Dothraki, Klingon or Elvish) to your website with Weglot.
But, in all seriousness – though no judgment here if you want your website to speak Klingon – this feature is perfect for those looking to localize and cater their website to a specific audience.
Think about the language differences between Latin American Spanish and Spanish, or French and French Canadian, there are clear nuances and if you’re hoping to attract customers from these regions and countries, then the custom language feature is for you!
So in this article, we’ll take a look at how to add a custom language with Weglot and let’s not forget about making a custom subdomain/ subdirectory whilst we’re at it.
How custom languages can help you improve your localization
We’ve always championed localization when it comes to talking about translating websites. So being able to target your audience with a language filled with nuances your potential customers use on a day-to-day basis is likely to attract an even stronger following of your brand.
Where does this make sense? Well for example in Latin America and Spain. In person, you would most likely hear the differences between a Spanish speaker or a Latin American Spanish speaker due to pronunciation, and although they understand each other well if you’re targeting Latin American audiences, further precise localization of Spanish is required.
For example, a car is ‘coche’ in Spain, but ‘carro’ or ‘auto’ in Latin America. To really ‘speak’ to your target audiences it’s important to sound like you’re local too and incorporating these nuances into your website copy shows a higher level of personalization and one where you can expect to gain loyal fans.
Customers in Latin American would of course be able to read a Spanish-speaking website, but how would you feel as an English speaker from the UK to be reading an American English website. You might be searching for ‘trainers’ but seeing as they’re called ‘sneakers’ in America, even you might get lost in translation…
So, that brings us on to another use case for custom languages! British English and American English (or Australian English, Canadian English… you get the point!). There are big differences in British English and American English and if you’re selling in both markets, it can be a smart strategy to target these people as separate cultures, with big differences in language just like our Spanish example above.
What about if you have an ecommerce store targeting both markets, you could ultimately display different products on each store, display the correct currency for your potential customers, yet handle both ‘languages’ under 1 website and URL. Yey for custom languages!
How to add a custom language
Now we understand the different use cases for why adding a custom language makes sense in many instances (and those are by no means limited to the ones above), now it’s time to add one.
Note, you’ll need to be on a Weglot Advanced plan or higher to get access to this brand-new feature.
Firstly, navigate to your Weglot Dashboard, the ‘Translations’ tab, then click on the ‘Add language’ button.
Then, a popup will appear, simply click on ‘Not in the list? Create a customized language’.
You’ll then have access to the custom language settings:
This is where you can set up and create either a real language (or a fantasy one 😉). First add the ‘Language name’, which is what will appear on the front of your website – that’s if you choose to display the language name, rather than a flag for example.
Then, when it comes to ‘Language code’ sticking to the official language codes is key for consistency, such as ‘fr-ca’ for French Canadian – although if you’re adding a made up language, then, of course, you have the freedom to do as you wish.
The next box is optional – ‘Use automatic translation from’ where you can select a language from the dropdown menu if you’d like a base language to work from. In some instances languages such as French Canadian and UK English are actually available from MT providers, however, Latin American Spanish, for example, isn’t, and here you could choose Spanish to work from, or of course work from scratch.
For some of the more obvious custom language setups, such as Latin American Spanish, or Belgium French, we’ve created some pre-populated templates to help you.
For example, this is a pre-populate version of Spanish (Latino):
As you can see, we’ve created a specific language code and also chosen to use a first layer of machine translation from Spanish. In this instance, you could then simply add a translator to your Weglot Dashboard to fine-tune the nuances and make the Spanish perfectly targeted to the Latin American country of your choice.
Another important point to keep things localized and targeted is for those who are using flags to represent a language on your front-end language switcher. By default, we’ve chosen the Mexican flag for Spanish (Latino). That’s great if you’re targeting Mexico, but if not then you’ll want to adjust this.
To do that, click on the flag and scroll through the options to select the flag of your choice.
Or, you can even upload your own custom flag.
To finalize your custom language, click on ‘Add a custom language’ and you’ll then see your new custom language in your Translations List.
Don’t forget to visit the URL tab to synchronize your translations!
How to add a custom subdomain/ subdirectory
Let’s complete the localization process by adding a custom subdirectory or subdomain. For those using the WordPress integration, your new custom language subdirectory will be automatically set up.
For those using any other CMS or custom integration, there’s just a couple of small extra steps to carry out to finalize the process.
If you’ve set up a language before, then you’ll know this process, but for those that are starting from scratch, you’ll need access to your DNS in your domain name provider.
Go to the part in your domain name provider where you can edit your DNS entries, and add a new CNAME entry. Follow our tutorials here.
Once you’ve saved that you can go back to your Weglot Dashboard and check in your ‘Settings’, ‘Setup’ that your subdomains are online.
Don’t forget to also update the JS code in the <head> section of your HTML pages within your CMS – this is available and updated in your dashboard to simply copy and paste.
Add custom languages today!
So, there you have it, we’ve talked through the benefits of custom languages, how to add one (or many) with Weglot and how to make sure you’re still getting that SEO juice with our subdomain/ subdirectory setup.