This is the eighth multilingual site I build, and the fifth using Joomla!

Having tried extensions such as Joomfish, Falang and the Joomla native capabilities, there is a lot to be said about using an extension like Falang in terms of ease of use.

Builiding a multilingual site using Joomla 3.x capabilities is very labour intensive.  You have to build everything (Categories, articles, menus, modules etc.) in each language and then create the assignments to link items between languages, this is without counting the actual transaltions of the articles!.  There is no tool to tell you if you missed a translation or an assignment.

The good thing is that you are in total control.  The bad thing is that you have to check everything (and depending on the number of items and languages, it can be a lot).

There are some good tutorials on the web on how to go about building a multilingual site in Joomla 3, You can have a look at these:

Beginner's Guide by Eric Tiggeler

Talk by Ron Schalk (see Video Walk-through)

Peter Martin 10 steps