I have a client who wanted to have their Joomla Website available in several languages. There are basically two choices for this kind of request:
- Create a copy of the website for each language and have each copy of the site translated by a professional.
- Use Google Translate for Joomla aka GTranslate
There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.
Using Professional Translations: Creating copies of your website and having them professionally translated is the best way to get an accurate translation of your website. However, this is very expensive, especially if you want your site translated into several languages. Furthermore, every time you change or add content to your site, you also need to update all of your translations. You can see how this would quickly get VERY expensive.
Using Google Translate: Google Translate is free and instant for up to 40 different languages. Unfortunately, the translations are not very good. But they are close enough that the user can get the gist of what you are saying.
Unless you have LOTS of extra cash, I recommend Google Translate. And if you have a Joomla website, I recommend the GTranslate module for Joomla. It's easy to install and manage.
Once it's installed, turning on or off a language is as simple as clicking on the language and saving the module. When a user selects a language, GTranslate launches a temporary frame that loads Google Translate. But once the page has loaded, the Google Translate frame is gone. Pretty slick.
One other drawback: your translated site will not have search engine friendly URLs, will not be indexed by Google, and will show the Google translator IP address. If you do not want to see the Google Translate frame as the page translates, and you want to have SEO URLs, you can buy the pro version of GTranslate module for $ 80.
I highly recommend this great Google Translation module for Joomla websites.