Using Store Locator Plus On Multilingual Sites

Unlike single-language websites where all of the site content and administrative interfaces are operating under a single language, multilingual sites allow visitors to pick their language while viewing the website.

WPML

The most popular plugin for WordPress multilingual sites at the time of this writing is WPML.

Store Locator Plus has begun the journey into supporting multilingual sites with WPML.    Changes to WPML in late 2015 will require further revisions to the WPML compatibility layers.

Since version 4.3.06 Store Locator Plus added features that will help the plugin and add-on packs communicate with WPML for user-configurable translation strings.  While the entire fixed-text portion of Store Locator Plus uses gettext, a common language translation utility, there are many strings that appear as user-configurable settings.  Options such as search and results labels fall into this category.

When a site uses a multilingual plugin such as WPML, the administrators can use the WPML tool kit to translate any of the fixed text strings in Store Locator Plus and provider users with the ability to switch both the administrative and front-end interface between languages with the simple click of a button.  However, special interfaces need to be written between Store Locator Plus and WPML to do the same magic on database-stored values such as user-customizable labels.

Since 4.3.06 Store Locator Plus changed the way translations strings are entered to be compatible with the new WordPress upcoming release and requirements WPML (WordPress Multi-lingual) , a premium plug-in that helps support Word Press plug-in sites. WPML makes it easy for a single WordPress site to support multiple languages on both the admin and user interface side. SLP uses the WPML tool kit to provide on-the-fly translations of admin and user interface text strings that automatically change when your site user selects a new base language when visiting the site.

WPML continues to work with us to create an intelligent interface that facilitates the translation of Store Locator Plus strings and thus enables all Store Locator Plus text to be translated to any text at the click of a button.

Technical Background

These configurations require special software to allow users of the site to switch between languages.  In order for Store Locator Plus to operate with these third-party plugins or theme features, special coding has to be implemented.   Some of the coding is for simple text strings known as “gettext” variables , such as the static title on an admin page tab.    Other coding is more complex and deals with the way user-entered data is parsed and then written-to or read-from the database.   Data-driven text can be things like user-settable options like the label for the address search field or even the text description for a location.

Technical Considerations

To further complicate matters, special consideration needs to be made for sites that may switch between left-to-right (LTR) and right-to-left (RTL) languages, languages with UTF-8 or UTF-16 characters such as those found in many Asian dialects.

In addition, “which data fields should be translated” is always at question.  For instance, a description field most likely should be translated, but should street names be translated?  Some argue that street names should display in the results as they would appear “locally” for the sake of local navigation; whereas , others make the argument that they should be translated for readability by foreign users.