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).
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.
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!