This seems hard to explain, I don't seem to be able to come up with a google search that will give me what I need. I think the concept of the question is quite simple though:

I'm building a site with a product catalog (no e-commerce, just a browsable catalog), the catalog uses custom post types ('products'), with custom taxonomies (e.g. 'type', 'collection', 'audience', 'regions-available' etc.).

The front end needs to display the site in various languages, WPML seems to be the industry standard way of doing this, but I'm confused at how it seems to work.

Conceptually, I want 1 set of products, and I want to display different names (labels) for things depending on which language the user is accessing the site through, but they should be viewing/editing the same underlying product (same database item).

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The way WPML seems to want to work is when I change language, say from English to French, it expects me to create a duplicate of the product for each language. This is obviously not what I want, as it would mean each change to a single product would need to be updated across all languages.

It may be possible this just isn't the way WPML works, in which case I need recommending a different solution/plugin.

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Note how in the 2nd screenshot "Toy Story Literie" is my French translation of "Toy Story Bedding", and I've been able to change which Regions they're available in, independently of each other.

To me it seems like, all I should really have is 1 product, then translate the labels for my custom taxonomy terms.

This has kind of worked, the 'Bedding' collection name becomes 'Literie' in the French tab.

I thought I'd done this following the instructions on translating taxonomy terms at the bottom of here: https://wpml.org/documentation/translating-your-contents/using-the-translation-editor/

But it seems no matter what I do, WPML wants to create a new 'product' for each language, each with individual settings that can diverge.

I don't want my client to have to manage a separate version of their catalog for each language.

Long winded explanation - I'm sure there must be a simple answer, or what advantage does WPML have over just building a multi-site? I must be missing something!

  • p.s. would hate to think there are people out there duplicating all of their content to every language like I'm potentially facing... – Mike Source Aug 10 '15 at 9:58
  • Not sure that I've understood the question completely, but are you perhaps searching for something similar like qTranslate (qianqin.de/qtranslate) way of work? – denis.stoyanov Aug 10 '15 at 10:46
  • If there is something similar that does what I want that would be an acceptable answer. My situation is that I'm working on a client site, they've bought a license for WPML (prior to me working on it) and expect me to provide a solution with it. My gut instinct is that if WPML works the way I think, its the wrong solution. Unless I've missed some setting to prevent content duplication, I was hoping someone would just know this. – Mike Source Aug 10 '15 at 10:59
  • What's difficult to understand about my question? – Mike Source Aug 10 '15 at 11:00
  • @Mike Source, did you already ask at #wordpress on the IRC channel? There are a lot of devs(and pro's) which have a lot of knowledge. Maybe they can help you pointing into the right direction if you not succeeding here. – Charles Aug 15 '15 at 4:08

The way WPML works is that you have a translation or a duplication across all languages of your content, that way each language has access to all content. You can duplicate or better yet batch duplicate any content that you need for all languages. WPML makes it easy to maintain that content across all languages. When you update your posts in the default language, all languages will get updated automatically. Make sure to get everything set up properly first though. For example, in order to make sure your images for a post change in all languages when changed in the default, you'll need the media module installed and set up. Also make sure to check the custom fields that you want copied. Spending the time setting up properly initially is worth it.

When you've done your set up and are ready to batch duplicate content, go to "translation dashboard" and depending on what content you have, select the post type or category to batch duplicate. Then all you have to do is update the original/default and your duplicates will also get the update.

  • I duplicated, and changing the custom taxonomies of the original/default DOESN'T update the duplicates (see 'region' in the screenshot). Try it yourself... like I said I feel like I'm missing an option or setting, or maybe WPML just doesn't do this. Thanks for the reply, but sorry no bounty. – Mike Source Aug 12 '15 at 16:07
  • Just so I understand correctly — you are trying to change the category names from say "audience" to "featured", actually physically changing the name? I know for certain that you can remove and add categories on the base/default language and the change takes hold across all the languages. Uncheck "audience" and add "featured" for example. – amespower Aug 12 '15 at 16:42
  • Almost, in my screenshots 'region' is a custom taxonomy, and this is not what happens for me, category is not a custom taxonomy (just a normal taxonomy). I've since switched to using qTranslate which works far more logically in my opinion. Perhaps WPML syncs only for categories? this is why I thought I was missing a setting. Could you screenshot any relevant settings? – Mike Source Aug 15 '15 at 20:03

If you still need help the best way is to ask in WPML forum. (Client can make special account for you, so you can ask question in WPML forum)

First check if all necessary plugins are installed:

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Probably they buy one simple version and this is not enough to translate all what you need.

Also, this will be useful for you. The Extra options when you edit the main post before you will translate something:

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As you can see here is alot of oprions to make some parts of your product to not translate, copy, etc.

I hope you can finish the job, but this plugin is very good and powerful.

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