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WPML Export and Import: Importing Multilingual Content

WPML Export and Import is an add-on plugin for WPML that allows you to easily migrate all types of multilingual content. This includes posts, pages, custom post types, taxonomies, and WooCommerce products.

You need WPML Export and Import when moving multilingual site data because it connects all your content and categories across all languages in your site.

It fully supports WP All Export and WP All Import plugins so you can keep using the export-import workflow you're used to.

WPML Export and Import also supports importing WooCommerce data from spreadsheets - a very popular case that we'll explain in detail in this tutorial.

How WPML Export and Import Works

Here's a quick overview of how WPML Export and Import works:

1. Export the content or prepare a spreadsheet manually

  • If you prepare the import spreadsheet manually, you have to add 3 columns that allow WPML Export and Import to connect data across languages.
  • If you use WP All Export to export data from the source site, the WPML Export and Import plugin automatically adds all multilingual information to the exported file.

2. Import the content

  • In general, you use WP All Import just as you normally would.
  • If you're importing data from a spreadsheet that you created manually, you’ll need to map the 3 columns with language information that you added to your spreadsheet.

3. Run WPML Export and Import

Finally, after importing your content using WP All Import, all you have to do is click one button in the WPML Export and Import plugin and it will automatically run a ‘clean-up’ and connect all your content across all languages.

Importing WooCommerce Data from Custom Spreadsheets

As mentioned above, let's see how to import WooCommerce categories and products from spreadsheets you create manually. The following video walks you through all the details of doing this.

Before You Start

Before starting the import process, ensure the following setup on your target site:

Preparing Your Spreadsheets

You have to prepare two separate spreadsheets, one with your product categories and the other with actual product data.

Product Categories Spreadsheet

WPML Export and Import - Product Categories Spreadsheet

Example of a spreadsheet containing product categories information

General Structure: 

  • Your spreadsheet should include columns for term ID, name, slug, etc. Import parent categories first to maintain hierarchy.

How to define IDs:

  • If you're importing new content, IDs are mostly used for reference so the import plugin can correctly connect related categories and content. 
  • But if your import will update existing data on the site, the IDs in your spreadsheet need to exactly match those in the site you're importing to.

Multilingual Columns: 

  • Add the _wpml_import_language_code column and into it, put the language code for each category and its translations. Use standard two-letter language codes.
  • Add the wpml_import_source_language_code column and into it, put the language code of the original, source language. Naturally, you only need to do this for translations.
  • Add the wpml_import_translation_group column. It allows connecting all translations with the correct product category in the default language. In our example, you use the same number, "5", for our Clothing category in English, then in French, and finally, in German.

Products Spreadsheet

WPML Export and Import - Products Spreadsheet

Example of a spreadsheet containing product data

Standard Information: 

  • Include columns for product ID, SKU, title, product type, etc. Ensure SKUs are unique and each product has the same SKU across all languages.
  • If you have parent products make sure to import them first. Then, you can retrieve their IDs from the site and use them in the Parent Product ID column.

Multilingual Setup: 

  • Add the _wpml_import_language_code column and into it, put the language code for each product and its translations. Again, use standard two-letter language codes.
  • Add the _wpml_import_source_language_code column and into it, put the language code of the original, source language. Naturally, you only need to do this for translations.
  • Add the _wpml_import_translation_group column. It allows connecting all translations with the correct product in the default language. As we're importing Products, the best way is to simply copy over the values from the SKU column.

Import Any CSV, XML, or Excel to WordPress

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Importing Data

Now that you've prepared your spreadsheets, you're ready to import them into our WooCommerce site.

As mentioned, you need to first import the product categories, and then the products themself.

Product Categories Import

In your site's admin, go to All Import > New Import. Start by uploading the product category spreadsheet to WP All Import and select that you're importing Taxonomies > Product Categories.

Mapping Fields: 

  • Assign spreadsheet columns to the corresponding fields in WP All Import. 
  • Pay special attention to mapping the three WPML-specific columns for multilingual data. To do this, expand the Term Meta section and drag-and-drop the 3 custom columns you added to your spreadsheet: _wpml_import_language_code, _wpml_import_source_language_code, and  _wpml_import_translation_group into the Value fields. Then, put the names of these columns into the Name fields.
WPML Export and Import - Product Categories Import

Mapping the 3 custom columns that hold multilingual information for product categories

When you're done mapping the fields, click to continue.

On the next screen, drag and drop the termid (ID of the product category) to be the unique identifier and click to proceed.

Click to continue, start the import process, and wait a bit, depending on the number of product categories you're importing.

Products Import

OK, now that your product categories are successfully imported, you can proceed with importing the actual product data.

Again, go to All Import > New Import. Start by uploading the products spreadsheet to WP All Import and select that you're importing WooCommerce Products.

Set Correct Publish Status:

  • Make sure to select the option to save imported products as drafts. This is necessary because after importing, all imported products will be mixed under the default language. If the import publishes them, the front-end of your store will display this mix of languages and look broken. Don't worry, WPML Export and Import will resolve this automatically when you run it.

Mapping Fields: 

  • Assign spreadsheet columns to the corresponding fields in WP All Import. 
  • Again, pay special attention to mapping the three WPML-specific columns for multilingual data. To do this, expand the Custom Fields section and drag-and-drop the 3 custom columns you added to your spreadsheet: _wpml_import_language_code, _wpml_import_source_language_code, and  _wpml_import_translation_group into the Value fields. Then, put the names of these columns into the Name fields.
WPML Export and Import - Products Import

Mapping the 3 custom columns that hold multilingual information for products

When you're done mapping the fields, click to continue.

On the next screen, drag and drop the Product ID column to be the unique identifier and click to proceed.

Click to continue, start the import process, and wait a bit, depending on the size of your spreadsheet.

Running WPML Export and Import

Once you're done importing your products, they should all be in the ‘draft’ status and mixed under your default language. It's time to run WPML Export and Import!

Go to WPML > Export and Import and click the Run WPML Import button. Wait until the plugin goes through your content and connects all product data across all languages.

When the process is done, check your products on the front-end. Confirm that everything appears as intended across different language settings, verifying translations and connections are accurate.

Conclusion

That's it! You just imported a custom-made spreadsheet with WooCommerce data into your WordPress website.

As you can see, the WP All Import workflows stay the same and WPML Export and Import makes sure that your product translations are correctly connected across languages.

WPML Export and Import is fully compatible with WP All Export and WP All Import plugins. It is the most featureful and recommended solution for migrating multilingual WordPress content. To read more about using these plugins for other applications and setups, check the official WPML Export and Import documentation.

Related Docs

Demonstrates how to import WooCommerce products using WP All Import.

Shows how to import variable products in WooCommerce using WP All Import.

Describes how to import WooCommerce Products with Images using WP All Import.

Explains how to synchronize stock levels for your existing WooCommerce products with new stock levels sent to you by a third party.

Demonstrates how to synchronize prices for your existing products with new prices sent to you by a supplier.

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