How to Translate WordPress Websites: A Step-By-Step Guide

One of the best ways you can effectively expand your online presence and target more people is through translating your WordPress website. When you use translation plugins, you can effortlessly build a multilingual site.   

The Benefits of Translating Your WordPress Website

While having an English website with high quality content can help you rank high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and help you attract more visitors, translating your website can give you a more competitive edge.

Below are some of the remarkable benefits of translating your WordPress website:

  • You would grow your organic traffic significantly. When you cater to non-English readers, you will be attracting more visitors from around the globe.
  • You can improve your localization efforts. While it is okay to have an English site even when your company is based in Sweden, localization is something you should still look into if you want more visitors and more revenue. Consider localizing your website so more locals will patronize your brand.
  • You can have a multilingual website. If you are planning to market your brand to more people and scale your business dramatically, offering multiple language options on your website is the way to go.

Translating Your WordPress Website Using Plugins

Although it can seem like a lot of work at first glance, translating your WordPress website can be straightforward if you use plugins.

There are two types of translation plugins:

Automatic translation plugins

WordPress comes with preprogrammed plugins that translate content through automated translation services. While it is a faster and easier method, the quality might not be as good.

Manual translation plugins

If you have a dedicated translation team, using plugins that allow you to add translations manually is always preferable. While this process will entail both time and effort, the results are of better quality.

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WordPress Translation Plugins: Available Options

Below are three WordPress translation plugins you can use to help get your WordPress translation efforts off to a superb start:

1. PolyLang

PolyLang gives you the option to translate most parts of your site including the meta descriptions, URLs, pages, titles, posts, and SEO attributes. It also downloads WordPress language packs automatically and support RLT language scripts. 

The plugin’s workflow is somehow identical to the WordPress dashboard as it is based on the WordPress taxonomy feature. The good thing is learning to use the plugin is relatively easy.

Flexibility is another element PolyLang is good with. With the plugin, you have the option to decide if you want to display different languages based on subdirectory, subdomain, or content.

While the plugin has a free version, you can also get the pro version for $110 to enjoy more features.

Here is the step-by-step guide you should follow to manually translate your WordPress site using the plugin:

  1. From the dashboard, go to Plugins then Add New. Type in “PolyLang” in the search bar. Install the plugin after and activate it.
  2. Go to Languages and pick a language from the dropdown menu. The plugin fills in all the other fields for you. Press the Add New Language button after. Repeat the process if you want to add more languages. You can add as many languages as you wish.
  3. Go to the right panel and tap the Star button on the chosen language you would like to set as the site’s default.
  4. Go to language and click on String translations if you want to translate all the available texts throughout your website. Each string can be a part of a theme, plugin, or WordPress core features. For instance: tagline, menu item, widget title, etc.
  5. Navigate to Posts then go to All Posts if you want to translate your content. Pick an article and expand the Settings panel.
  6. Look for the Languages tab and press the plus symbol of the language you wish to add. Type in the translation of the post on your new post editor.
  7. Go to Posts then click on Categories. Click the plus button on a category so you can add a translation.
  8. Head over to Appearance then Widgets. Find the Language Switcher on the widgets list.
  9. Pick the location where you wish to display the widget (sidebar, footer, etc.). Add a title and customise it based on what you want. Click Save after.

Once done with all the steps mentioned above, check if your language switcher is working its magic.

PolyLang also comes with an add-on translation network called Lingotek that can make the whole process easier. It also gives you the option to work with professionals that can translate your website. You also have the option to opt for an automatic translator machine if that is what you prefer.

2. TranslatePress

If you cannot decide if you want a manual translation plugin or an automatic one, TranslatePress is your best bet. TranslatePress is a freemium translation plugin that comes with the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) interface. You also do not need to go back and forth between pages when you use this plugin.

TranslatePress also has an Automatic User Language Detection add-on. The feature instantly redirects visitors to a specific language that is based on their specific IP addresses. The core plugin can be downloaded for free. The paid version on the other hand can range from $88.20 to $222.18 yearly.

If you pick the paid version, you will enjoy tons of other beneficial features like the DeepL integration. You will also enjoy the luxury of editing machine-translated content. One of TranslatePress’s major selling points is you get to keep the translations even if you do not renew your license.

3. GTranslate

Looking for an automated translation service powered by Google? Look no further than GTranslate! The plugin has 109 different languages to help you attract more people and generate sales globally. With GTranslate, configurations can be done in just a few minutes from your WordPress dashboard.

Visitors also have the luxury to pick a preferred language from the customisable language selector. You can either make a menu with language codes, a list of flags, or a simple dropdown menu if that is more your thing. Here is something even more impressive: GTranslate works well with WooCommerce pages and integrates with Google Analytics.

This freemium translation plugin can also be relied on when you want to create a multilingual site with minimal stress. The paid version is between $5.99 and $34.99 monthly. It comes with innovative features such as neural translation, search engine indexing, and URL translation.

To automatically translate your WordPress site using GTranslate, follow the following step-by-step guide:

  1. Go to Plugins and Add New. Type in GTranslate in the search box. Look for Install and Activate GTranslate plugin.
  2. Go to Settings then look for GTranslate to set the widget appearance, enable Google Analytics, add languages, and so on. Click Save once done.
  3. Go to Appearance then look for Widgets. Add the GTranslate Language Switcher to your header, footer, or sidebar. You can also use the shortcode [gtranslate] and place it anywhere on your website.
  4. Check your website to assess if the language switcher is already working as it should.

Conclusion

Creating a multilanguage site is a lot easier when you use plugins. Check all the plugins above and weigh in all the pros and cons. Once you pick the best one for you, you can look forward to enjoying years of better traffic and significant revenue.