- Aug 18, 2017
- by Brad Litwin
The only thing better than having an excellent website is making it available in multiple languages. That way, more people will be able to enjoy your content, and you may even increase conversions. However, you might wonder how to go about creating a multilingual website – whether it’s with WordPress, or a different platform altogether.
That said, WordPress is our preferred option, as it makes the process rather straightforward (if you pick the correct plugin). Using a suitable solution should enable you to add new languages to your site, and even translate your themes and plugins if you want to go the extra mile.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the upsides of creating a multilingual WordPress website, then introduce you to three plugins to help you do it. We’ll even talk about non-WordPress options so you can cover all of your bases. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Create a Multilingual WordPress Website
The idea of building a website in several languages sounds daunting. However, there are a number of benefits, such as:
- Access to a wider audience. The more languages your site is available in, the bigger its potential audience. After all, not everyone speaks English!
- Easier currency conversions. If you’re running an online store, chances are you’ll also include currency conversions for any languages you choose to add. This makes it easier for potential buyers to calculate how much everything costs, increasing the chances they’ll make a purchase.
- It can make your site look much more professional. Most of the major websites around the world offer multiple languages. Sure, they may have larger budgets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add one or two extra tongues to your own site with some work.
If you’re sold on the idea of adding more languages to your WordPress site, the only question that’s left is how to do it. After all, this isn’t the kind of feature where you just click a button and everything’s done. However, plugins do make this feature much easier to implement than trying to do it all on your own.
3 of the Best Plugins to Create Multilingual WordPress Websites
There are plenty of solutions that can help you create multilingual WordPress websites, but these three are some of our favorites. Let’s talk about why that is.
Weglot Translate is one of the most powerful multilingual solutions for WordPress. We mentioned earlier how adding new languages to your site isn’t the kind of feature you can just enable with a single click, but Weglot comes close.
This plugin enables you to translate your content either automatically, or with the help of professionals. The first option is naturally cheaper, but it’s also (currently) the least accurate option.
Using Weglot, you can translate small sites (containing less than 2,000 words) to one additional language for free. For anything beyond that, you’ll have to subscribe to a premium plan. All in all, this is a great option if you want to use a plugin that doesn’t require much tinkering, and if you have the budget for it (or you don’t mind adding just a single extra language).
- Translates your content manually or automatically.
- Supports over 60 languages for automatic translation.
- Detects and translates new content as you add it to your site.
- Provides access to professional translators if needed.
- Comes with a language switch button to jump between options.
Weglot Translate is free for sites with 2,000 words and only one additional language. Premium plans start at approximately $11.35 per month.
Polylang is another highly popular WordPress multilingual plugin. This one enables you to add as many languages as you want to each of your posts and pages. You then work on each of those translations separately.
An accurate way to describe Polylang would be as a multilingual support system rather than a translation plugin. Machine translations aren’t an option, so you’ll need to either work on those yourself or outsource them, depending on what you want.
Once you’ve translated your content, your users will be able to switch between versions of any page using a simple drop-down menu you can place anywhere. Overall, Polylang is an excellent option if you don’t intend to rely on automatic translations, and it supports as many languages as you want free of cost.
- Translates your content into multiple languages.
- Supports the translation of pages, posts, categories, tags, menus, widgets, and more.
- Switches between languages using a simple drop-down menu.
Polylang is a free plugin, but there’s also a premium version available that includes additional features.
Loco Translate is a bit different from the tools we’ve covered so far. Instead of enabling you to translate your content, this plugin focuses on what’s behind the scenes. With it, you can translate your theme files, plugins, and even parts of your code.
Sure, WordPress itself is available in multiple languages, but the same can’t be said for all the tools that make it so popular. If you want the full multilingual experience (and you’re fluent in more than one language), you may want to translate all the themes and plugins you own. Loco Translate enables you to do this by helping you go through them line by line.
- Enables an editor for your WordPress admin content.
- Updates the language files for your themes and plugins.
- Adds comments and references to your translation files.
Loco Translate enables you to work on up to 2,000 words for free with unlimited contributors. Premium plans with higher limits start at $5.95 per month.
What to Do if You’re Not Using WordPress
WordPress makes it relatively easy to add more languages to your website, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for other types of sites. For example, Google Translate enables anyone to add more languages to any site by including a ‘switcher’ – the very same feature that most multilingual plugins offer.
Another option is the Bing Translator. This one also adds a translation widget to your site, and enables you to jump between languages seamlessly:
As far as quality goes, we can’t cast our vote for either Google or Bing. Machine translation is still not at a stage where you should feel comfortable using it for a professional website. If you’re in that position, the best course of action is probably to look for a serious translation service.
Creating a multilingual WordPress website isn’t as complicated as it sounds. At a base level, simply pick the right plugin and get to work on translating your content. That last step is up to you, but you can always look into automated tools such as Google Translate if you have a tight budget and are happy to manually check translations.
As far as WordPress goes, here are three of the best plugins to help you create a multilingual website:
- Weglot Translate: A polished option that supports both automatic and manual translations.
- Polylang: Enables you to include unlimited languages and add translations manually.
- Loco Translate: One of the best ways to translate your themes and plugins.
Image credit: Pixabay.