Choose Your Language

Joomla! vs. WordPress: Which CMS is Better for Multilingual Site?

Are you building a multilingual site? Good for you! It really is a smart move to create a site for multiple languages. After all, the English market has been saturated – with 51% of the world’s websites written in English, while only 20% of the world population actually speak it. As a result, if you build your site in a different language you’re going to have less competition and be far more likely to offer a service that people don’t yet have access too.

Joomla! vs. WordPress: Which CMS is Better for Multilingual Site?: eAskme
Joomla! vs. WordPress: Which CMS is Better for Multilingual Site?: eAskme

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Of course, if you are going to start a website in a different language, then the first decision you’ll want to make is where you want to host it. Now, if you check the internet they speak about two different platforms that are most often used for multilingual sites. These are Joomla! and WordPress.
What we’re going to explore today is which actually wins out.

What you need to think about

Does the platform I’m considering support all the languages I want to use?

This really is the first aspect you should consider. If either of the two platforms does not support the language that you want to run your website in, then it becomes a no brainer. You go with the other one!

Wordpress is available in 53 different language. You can find out if your language is supported on this page. Even if it isn’t, you can request your language be added (or even become part of the team that creates the language in the first place!).

Do note that to make Wordpress work in any additional language you need to install a plugin. That’s not a huge deal – particularly if you can actually read this article, because it means you already speak enough English – but it is an extra step.

For Joomla! this page will tell you whether it supports the language and what to do when you want to install that language. It will give you some important questions you should also consider, so that you’re not blind sighted by some unexpected problem you really should have solved when you set things up.

What’s great about Joomla! is that it can be installed in a language right from the get go.

Do all of the different aspects of a language translate?

It isn’t just the words which change when you change the language of a website, it’s also a lot of the conventions. For example, between British English and American English there are a number of differences, with the UK using the 24 hour clock and Americans using ‘am’ and ‘pm’.

If you’re going to set up a multilingual website, make sure that you check that these conventions are changeable. They often are, but it’s not necessarily the case. Here’s a quick checklist of things that change.
  •     How dates and times are written and in what order. This is a particularly pertinent question if your site uses the Roman calendar in one place and, say, the Chinese in another. 
  •     Special characters, like vowels with extra squiggly lines.
  •     How currencies and numbers are written (some use commas where others use periods). 
Here again, you’ll need to check with the individual platform to find out if your specific needs are supported. Note that even when it is not supported right out of the box, there might still be extensions and plugins which will give you that option. The only thing to watch out for is that the more extensions and plugins you have installed, the more chances there are for things to go wrong, as different extensions and updates don’t always play well with each other.

What will you use it for?

Joomla! and WordPress are built differently and therefore have different areas for expertise. If you’re going to be publishing a lot of articles, for example, then you’re better of using Wordpress as it was originally designed with blogging in mind.

If, on the other hand, it’s security that’s far more important for you, say because you're trying to build a professional translation service online and don’t want to get hacked, then Joomla is the better option. This is because Wordpress is the bigger platform, that’s what most people spend their time trying to hack.

The truth is that both can be turned to any purpose – though it is probably a little bit harder to do so with Joomla! as it’s generally considered a bit more complex than Wordpress.

Leaving all that aside

If after those steps you’re still not sure which platform is better and you can use one over the other, then it comes down to which is the better platform not just in terms of language use, but overall. In that case, it becomes a bit more a personal thing, but generally Wordpress is considered the better service.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Here are some of the main ones:

  1.     It is more user friendly. If you’ve never built a website before, then Wordpress is generally considered the better platform to begin with as you can get started quite quickly and then learn extra functionality as you go along.

  2.     It is used more widely. Sure, from a security perspective this isn’t great, but it does mean that once you learned how to build a Wordpress page, you’re going to be far more likely to use those skills somewhere else. After all, more than a quarter of websites are built on Wordpress, which makes it the clear market leader.

  3.     It has far more plugins. Again, this is due to the size of the user pool of WordPress. It means far more people are designing plugins for this service than the others. No, it’s not fair. Nonetheless, it does mean that it’s far easier to customize your WordPress in the way you want to.

  4.     The documentation is more extensive. Yes, for the same reason as that there are more plugins, there is more help out there for you to rely upon. This means that if you don’t understand one explanation, you can just find another page where somebody explained it better.

  5.     It just looks better. Okay, this is my personal opinion. You might prefer the Joomla! look. But for there is just a bit more polish to the products on offer at WordPress than at Joomla! and that extra bit of polish is important.

So there you have it 

There are a lot of things that you’ll need to consider before you choose which platform you will use. And there are definitely cases when Joomla will be the better choice. But all other things being equal, overall WordPress does win it most of the time.

And sure, that’s largely due to the inbuilt advantage of being the market leader. But that’s neither here nor there. This article wasn’t why one is better than the other and if that’s fair. It’s about which one is. And there the answer more often than not is WordPress.