I always wanted to have a double language website, I did have one a few years ago when I found a good plugin called Xili language (I think) but then it was discontinued (as all the plugins for WordPress) so I decided to keep the English version and delete the Italian one.
But having an Italian version was always on my to do list, I tried other plugins but each one of them has flaws and I always ask: “will they keep up with new Wordpess version?”. So I decided to look for another way to have both languages.
At first I thought of stop using WordPress and start using Joomla since this “script” has a way to have a multi-language website, but I didn’t want to learn everything again, how to use it and how to code a theme, so I looked around a bit more.
At the end I opted for the multi-site version of WordPress. I think it’s the best way to have a multi-language website.
So I “installed” the multi-site option in my WordPress installation, created a new website for the Italian translations and use a plugin to switch between the versions. And you’ll ask: “but you’re still using a plugin!”. True, but it isn’t invasive, it doesn’t change the WordPress installation, since I don’t have to write multiple version of the same post or use codes in the same post to switch between languages (like in Xili language). If the plugin will stop to work, I will have two distinct websites, each one fully functionally and I still can have a link to each website to go to the other version. The only draw back is that I won’t have each post, each tag, each category or page linked to one another.
Now the tips… I hate google translator, I do, I think it doesn’t translate correctly and when I see people use it to translate part of an English fanfiction into Italian I get angry and don’t read the fanfiction anymore. But I think it’s useful for one word translation. And I do use it. First of all, the majority of my website is already written in English, so I take each paragraph and paste it in Google translator and translate it in Italian. Then I tidy up the Italian. Doing so helps me see my English mistakes. For example in my book reviews I keep writing summary like summery, obviously they have different meaning in Italian (well in English, too) so reading the google translated version in Italian I can see where I make mistake in English because the Italian version with the wrong word doesn’t make any sense to me, instead the English version “to me” make sense or rather I think it make sense…
Second tip, translate one category at the time. I started translating chronologically but it was tedious. So I opted to translate a category at the time and I find it more enjoyable.
Third tip, translate new content immediately so you have some content with the new site.
Don’t give up. This task could be tedious and boring but you will have more visibility after.