Top Multilingual Countries and their Legal Requirement for Online Publishing

Hi everyone.

On Monday, I volunteered at the WordPress Community Summit to do some research on the “top multilingual countries”, and their respective legal requirements when it comes to publishing content in multiple languages. The purpose of this research was to help us understand and define related specifications for how WordPress should/could handle content translations (regardless of context: coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, whatever), and what could be done now vs future iterations.

My initial searches lead me to Wikipedia’s huge list of multilingual countries and regions, which was in and of itself an eye opener (for me). If we weren’t sure there was a need, it’s difficult to negate when reading such an extensive list, especially when compounded with organizations such as the EU (publishes in 23-24 languages).

As we stand, the requirements most of those entities are bound to, such as Linguistic Rights, mean that they essentially cannot use WP (core) as a publishing platform, or must “hack their way” into doing so, be it through using multiple instances, multi-site or plugins, which are currently often far from ideal.

I had originally hoped that there might be discrete differences between each country in what is acceptable or not, allowing us to come up with a minimum viable product, but what is now clear is that we’re in an all-or-nothing context. There is no stop-gap solution that could get us part of the way.

With this in mind, I’ve discussed with the members of our core and polyglot contributors who happened to be at the same Summit, and I was pointed to the Babble plugin, by Code for the People, as the most likely contender of a plugin “doing it right”. Or at least as close to how core would likely do it itself, if it were to. Based on what I’ve seen when installing & trying it, it is indeed quite better than the others I am familiar with, but it’s not quite there yet. My personal opinion is that the plugin could become a viable contender for a feature plugin, therefore gaining the attention of the core community it deserves (should the original plugin developers be interested in doing so).

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