WPML Pages Keep Reverting to Default Language

I’m working on a website that is using the WordPress Multilingual plugin (WPML) to support having the site translated into multiple other languages. I have English set as the default language and then 12 other languages activated. We added the content for all of the additional 12 languages, and everything was working great. We’ve now run into an issue, though, that every time we update the English version of the page, all of the other language versions reset back to English.

After some digging, I discovered that with WPML, it’s not enough to just create the alternate language versions of the page, you also have to go into each of those pages and tell it to stop syncing with the default language.

When you go into one of the translated pages, find the “Language” box. If you can’t find the “Language” box, click on the down arrow next to “Screen Options” in the upper right corner of the screen, and then check the box next to “Language”.

If the “Language” box says:

This document is a duplicate of Contact and it is maintained by WPML.

Click the button that says “Translate independently”, and the “Language” box will switch to list the language of the page and say that it is a translation of another page. It will then list all of the languages. This version of the page will now keep its own content and not revert back to the default language when the default language version of the page is updated.

If you ever want to switch it back to being sync’d with the default language, there will be a button at the bottom of the “Languages” box which says “Overwrite with <yourDefaultLanguage> content.” Click this, and it will reset the page back to the default language content and reactivate the syncing.

7 thoughts on “WPML Pages Keep Reverting to Default Language”

  1. G’Day! Beth,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, I have a wordpress theme in english and want it to translate in french, I was wondering is wpml does that automaticly or is this just a tool that help you translate?

    Same for a french blog with some articles, I want them in english too , so does this plugin translate articles automaticly?

    thank you
    Catch you again soon!

    1. WPML does not automatically do the translations for you, it just allows you a template that can support having pages in multiple languages within one website.

  2. This isn’t actually an issue.
    You got this behavior because you expressly clicked on the “Duplicate” button.
    This keeps the “translated” content in sync with the original.
    You can the do what you did, to disconnect the synchronization and start translating independently.
    But when you start with new content, it’s enough to click on the “+” icon next to each active language! to create a translation that keeps his status.

    1. We did not click on the duplicate button. We clicked on the “+” icon next to each active language and then added the content and saved it. It is not enough to use the “+” sign, you have to also click the button to translate independently. The “+” just creates a separate page for that language, but keeps it syncing with the original so your content will be continuously overwritten every time the base language page is updated.

  3. Thank you for the most informative article on this subject. I am running into the same problem, all the languages keep reverting to English. You expalined how to fix this problem, but what would be the easiest way to get back the original language pages once they have been reverted to English? I go into revisions but it will not let me revert to the most recent version in the needed language

    Thank you in advance

    1. I haven’t found an easy way to get the original language back other than copying it and pasting it back into the page. You could restore a backup of the database, but then you lose other changes that have been made in the meantime.

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