Internationalization is a dreamland for every cloud-based business and yet it is the most overwhelming journey you can take. In WordPress, the help of the community and the open source principles behind it make it approachable from the very beginning. Here is our story.
Remember the first time you used WordPress? If you have started using your favorite CMS in your native language, I bet that your first approach to the platform has been easy and smooth, as WordPress certainly is. Otherwise, you may have found yourself confused by common terms used in a technical context, and by new technical terms that you had to learn.
When you start using a new plugin, it’s pretty much the same. Your user experience is better if you can read everything – from the readme to the meta-boxes and buttons – in your own language.
Nevertheless, to reach most of the users you need to use American English first because it’s kind of a lingua franca for anybody who is working on the web.
This is what we did when WordLift 1.0 was first launched in 2015. Until late 2016, the plugin was only available in American English, even if our text analysis already worked in many different languages. Then, as our community of user was getting larger and international, we started to feel the need of translating our plugin. It was crucial to offer a more accessible product, helping our users through their learning curve.
We started with our native language, which is Italian, and as soon as I translated WordLift using GlotPress, I realized that there were many more users from different countries that needed to use WordLift in their own language.
And here is where the community really entered the game and helped us. ?
The web is a Babel, WordPress and its plugins are polyglot
Today, WordPress multilingual is available in 109 languages – including their locales such as, for example, British, American, and Australian English. 62 languages have the full translation of WordPress, while many of them are constantly in progress. The cool thing is that thousands of people are contributing to the CMS translations, and if your language is not complete yet, you can easily join them and start contributing.
The same goes for plugins. When you install a new plugin, you certainly feel more comfortable if they are in your native language. Polyglots – the group in the WordPress community who is committed to translating WordPress – use to translate plugins and themes, starting from the most popular or from the ones they commonly use.
Thanks to the contributors to WordLift translations ❤️
Nevine Adel from InsideOut Today sent us a picture of her while translating WordLift
Our first external contributor was Rainer Edlinger, an Austrian blogger passionate about whiskey, who manages online marketing at SalzburgerLand Tourismus and translated our plugin into German.
Then, our developer Stanimir Stoyanov – who is also a superactive member of the WordPress community, and one of the organizers of the WordCamp Europe 2018 – decided to translate WordLift also in Bulgarian, his native language.
We were really impressed and almost moved when our friends at Nelio Software, enthusiast of WordLift, decided to translate our plugin in Spanish after meeting Gennaro Cuofano at the WordPress meetup in Barcelona. ?
WordLift will be soon available also in Arabic, thanks to Nevine Adel Abdel Rehim, who works for our sister company in Egypt, InsideOut.Today, and Danish, thanks to our friend Kim Renberg.
It’s been subtle and first reported by the Android Police a few hours ago: Android devices used to have a microphone button on the home screen widget along with the same button on the Google app itself to trigger a voice search and a list of supported commands (i.e. making phone calls, playing music and texting friends). This button is now being replaced by the Google Assistant and by the Actions supported by the Google Assistant app.
Why is the switch from Voice Search to the Google Assistant so important?
The introduction of Google Assistant shows us how Google is moving toward an “AI-first” user experience and it is getting closer to achieving the true underlying potential of its large semantic network that consistently changes the way we search and consume information. We are looking at the surface of this changes when for instance the Zero-Result SERP was first introduced.
The red microphone button that previously triggered a simple voice search can now – with the Google Assistant – help us accomplish a lot more tasks including actions implemented in third-party applications that offer services in a variety of different sectors. We recently analyzed the new directory that Google created to help users discover third-party Assistant actions and here is a breakdown of the top categories by the number of intents.
How did this happen?
On the latest Android devices running the Google Assistant, the Voice Search was causing an inconsistent user experience and it was hard to grasp why one voice search was popping up from the bottom of the screen why another one was coming from the top.
How can I optimize content for the Google Assistant?
Online publishers can make their content ready for the Google Assistant by adding support for AMP and the adequate structured data markup. The first types of structured content – for US publishers only – that the Google Assistant is able to pick up include Podcast, News, and Recipes. Moreover, publishers can create their own Google Action (read more about it in this article on how to create your own Action or contact us to learn more).
It’s important to move forward in this direction as we are starting to see divergent results from traditional Search and the Google Assistant.
Let me show you an example – the query “What is Semantic SEO?” when triggered from Chrome (Voice Search) will trigger a featured snippet generated from the website online-sales-marketing.com but, when the same question is asked to the Google Assistant, (or to a Google Home or Google Mini device) the response is scraped from the wordlift.io website.
What is Semantic SEO – Google Assistant responds with the content from the wordlift.io website
There is more, if you create your own Google Action, the Google Assistant might suggest your Action to the end-user for answering a specific question (you can find out more on the WooRank’s website to optimize your Google Action for increasing its reach).
See an example below where our Google Action is invoked to provide information about WordLift.
Ready to optimize your content for the Google Assistant? Book a demo!