The Internet has around 4 billion active users and English is the most written and read language on it.
However, English makes up approximately 25% of communication online, while the other 75% are other languages.
If you produce top quality content, it makes sense to cater to a broader audience. If you’re selling, you can also sell to people who speak different languages, why not? Money knows no barriers.
If you’re using WordPress (and you should, as it’s one of the best content management systems out there), you’re in luck, because it has excellent solutions for broadening the linguistic reach of your content and allows you to run a real multilingual website.
There’s no better way to look global and inclusive by localizing your brand into different languages.
WordPress is flexible because it comes with plugins, think of these are tools to expand features on your website.
There are two types of multilingual plugins for WordPress:
- Manual translation – where you translate all the content yourself and the plugin provides the possibility to implement translations on your website easily. This is the preferred way, even though it’s more gruesome and time-consuming. It can also cost more as you’ll hire real human translators and editors to do the work.
- Automated translation – where the plugin does the job for you using Artificial Intelligence and other techniques. Although this is a cost effective technique , it’s less reliable as context or tone are rarely taken into account so translations will sound mechanical or lower quality.
Some plugins even allow you to combine these two, as they will automatically translate content for you and then allow you to make subtle changes. The best of both worlds.
Let’s take a look at some of the best translation plugins available for WordPress to localize your website and brand!
WPML is one of the most popular translation plugins available for WordPress. It supports both manual and automatic translations, over 60 languages, and you can add your own variants if needed. If you want to translate content manually, you can use the default WordPress editor, or you can use WPML’s Advanced Translations Editor, which provides a side-by-side look. Licenses start from $29 and go up to $159, but we believe the best buy option is the $79 plan as it provides the most bang for your buck.
Additionally, WPML allows you to ask your readers to provide translations for you if needed.
Price: Paid, no free version available
This plugin gives you the ability to translate content yourself, manually. It’s straightforward to use, so you can do the translations yourself (if you have strong language skills), or you can hire someone to do it for you. You can choose around 100 languages to start with, but you need to specify which languages your website will support in the Settings and select a two-letter code for each language you install. The plugin is customizable, so you can choose how it shows on your website and which flag it uses. Once the plugin is installed, you can selectively translate any post, page, category, custom post-type, menu, or tag.
Google Website Translator
This plugin uses the Google Translate tool to translate content on your website automatically. This isn’t the most reliable solution, but if you’ve ever used it – you know it works quite well for AI-based software. The plugin is very easy to use, and once you install and activate it – you only need to specify the website’s native language and select which languages you want the plugin to translate your content into. To show the language options to your readers – you can use a widget or custom shortcode in your pages or posts.
Lingotek is the cloud translation network that works on top of the Polylang plugin. There are three options you can choose from:
Machine translation – it uses Microsoft’s Translator software and is free up to 100,000 characters.
Community translation – where you or your users/collaborators can provide translations using the plugin’s professional Workbench editor right within your WordPress Dashboard.
Professional translation – where Lingotek handles all translations for you (if you have a budget for it) using their network of over 5000 vetted translators. The process is entirely automatic, and you get insights into the workflow to make adjustments.
Price: Free (paid plans available)
This plugin has a unique interface that allows you to translate your content right on the front-end of your website via their custom visual interface. At all times, you can see a preview of your website, and edit any content quickly by clicking the part you want to be changed. TranslatePress also supports the Google Translate API, so you can somewhat automate the process by having content automatically translated by Google, and then manually refine the results. The free version of the plugin supports searching for translations and allows you to browse your website as various user roles. In contrast, the paid version offers more multilingual SEO features (such as translating titles and descriptions or image alternative text), allows you to redirect readers to their preferred language, etc. automatically.
Price: Free (paid plans available)
The free version of this plugin uses Google Translate to translate your website into a different language automatically. It’s effortless to configure, and all you need to do is install and activate the plugin, select languages you want to offer to your readers, and then place the language switch to the desired position on your site. The downside of the free version is that you can’t adjust translations at all (completely automatic), and you don’t have any SEO mechanisms available.
The paid version is compatible with YoastSEO and allows you to create SEO-friendly versions of your website that can be indexed by search engines. Also, you can manually adjust your translations, including SEO metadata.
Price: Free (paid plans available)
Weglot is one of the most popular WordPress multilingual plugins. It’s a Software-as-a-Service solution (SaaS) that is integrated with WordPress via the plugin system. This means that all your translations are residing on Weglot’s servers, and everything is managed remotely, through their interface (as opposed to WordPress Dashboard). The benefits of this approach are that you can have a fully SEO-friendly website translated in minutes using machine learning. Weglot’s dashboard allows you to see all your translations side-by-side and preview them on your site if needed.
Price: Free, up to 2000 words per language (paid plans available)
If you use WordPress MultiSite – this plugin is for you. You can build different, standalone websites for each language and then connect them using this plugin. The translation process is smooth, as this plugin allows you to edit translations from one screen, and you don’t have to switch between websites. Your readers can use a widget to change the preferred language, or you can link different versions right within the posts/pages. What’s great about this plugin is that even if you disable or remove it – your translated websites will still exist and work properly.
Price: Free for the older version (version 3.0 is paid)
If you have time to do manual translations or a budget to pay for professional translations, you should consider expanding your reach and offering your website in multiple languages. This could give you an edge over your competition and create loyalty among your readers, which are great benefits and as always, lead to greater conversions and ultimately sales