People all over the world do not speak the same language. And so, it’s always a good thing to make your website available in more than one language. First off, it’s smart marketing strategy. It signals to a world wide audience that you are looking for a wide reach and that you’re willing to take your content across borders and cultures. Not only that, it immediately makes your website appear truly international. Besides, reaching out to your target audience in their own language is most likely to increase subscribers, readers and customers, generate leads and increase revenues. As always with WordPress, there are plugins to help with every function. And for translation, you can rely on the many quality WordPress Multilingual Plugins.
If your website or blog has readers across the world, you may find it necessary to speak to your target audience in their own language. You may be aware that Google lets you translate anything instantly for free. To be able to publish content in different languages, you may want to actually translate it. Machines help you understand texts in different languages, but cannot fully translate texts in a manner that will appear native.
When you add a multilingual plugin to your site, the task of translating your website becomes much easier. These plugins work in two different ways. In the first method, the plugins access some online tool or service that automatically translates content. However, when it comes to machine translation, the quality of translation may not be up to the level you desire. In the second method, you’ll need to rewrite every bit of content on your website in the languages you want, and the plugins will help users switch between different language versions. Of course, the quality of translation will be much better in this method. Many plugins offer a combination of the two methods.
Free WordPress Multilingual Plugins
The plugins in this post are almost entirely sourced from the WordPress directory, as there are so many free and efficient plugins available there. Most plugins adopt a combination method, allowing automatic translation as well as manual editing / translation from scratch.
Polylang is an easy to use plugin. This plugin needs you to translate content by yourself without hooking up to any translation service. Therefore, it’s a good fit if you want to create and manage multiple language versions on your own or by hiring help. You can write post and pages, and create categories and tags the normal way, and then specify the language for each.
You can choose from close to a hundred languages on the settings screen. Not only that, you can choose the appearance of the name of the language on your screen and add the appropriate country flag. Then, go ahead and translate any post or page you want. You can translate all or only some of the pages and posts. Each language is identified with a two letter code, and this code forms part of the unique URL of each language version. Using a widget, users can switch from one language to another. A premium plugin with additional features starting at $99 is also available.More info / Download
Translate WordPress with GTranslate
Translate WordPress with GTranslate relies on Google Translate automatic translation service to translate your website into 104 languages. That makes your website available to almost 99% of the internet users. It combines automatic and human translations to make it easy for you to carry out translations. It hides the Google top frame after translation, as well as the suggestion to offer better translations. Besides pages and posts, it translates menus, widgets, categories, tags, themes and plugins and includes RTL support. A floating language selector that lazy loads country flags is also included. The menu items can carry country flags alongside and WooCommerce shops can be fully translated.
The premium version pays a great deal of attention to SEO and is designed to increase the international reach of your website. It allows manual correction of the translations, and adds in-context translation feature. It allows you to have sub directory or sub domain URL structure, translates for AMP pages, translates media and provides Live Chat support.More info / Download
Weglot Translate uses an intuitive API to detect any content on your website, and translates it into one of 60 languages. The automatic translation serves as a base version, which you can manually edit using a Contextual Editor in your Weglot account. A helpful feature for content heavy sites is that you can mark phrases as reviewed. This avoids repeat translation and saves you time. To improve quality in translation, you can choose to go with professional translation services from Weglot.
After installing the plugin on your website, you’ll need to create an account with Weglot and obtain an API key. Specify the original language of your website and the language of translation. You can exclude pages and content blocks from translation. Once you save the changes, language option buttons appear on the frontend. Users can switch buttons to view content in any of the language options you offer.
The Plugin complies with Google’s best practices for multilingual WordPress websites. It assigns unique URLs automatically to the new language pages. The plugin automatically detects and translates title, description, meta tags, categories, etc. With Weglot Translate, a user visiting the translated pages enjoys the same experience as a user on the original language pages. It maintains the selected language throughout the entire website. Site Admins can change the appearance and location of the language buttons.
Weglot is available for free for small websites (up to 2000 words). For other websites, the price you pay depends on the number of words needing translation and the number of language options you need. All packages have access to Pro translation services. If you exceed the word count of your current package, you’ll automatically be upgraded to the next package, without any interruption in service.More info / Download
Babble is an open source and fast plugin that you can download for free from the GitHub repository. The authors claim that it works 20% faster than other plugins, that too with 40% fewer queries. After activation, enable the new language in the settings and then click on any page or post that you’d like to translate. The interface places the original content and a blank space side by side on the same screen to make translation easier. When you complete the translation, add the Language Switcher Widget to the sidebar. Users can then switch from one language to another.
As you may have noticed, this plugin requires you to handle the translation by yourself, and does not use any external tool or service. Of course, you can hire help for the purpose. You can run your website using as many languages as you wish and be confident of quality, as the plugin’s developers are also core contributors to WordPress.More info / Download
Google Website Translator
Google Translate is a popular and handy tool to translate any kind of content that you need into more than a hundred languages. What’s more, it’s free for use. The translations are automatic, and rather basic. Google Website Translator harnesses the power of this Google tool to translate the content of any WordPress website. After installing and activating the plugin, you need to specify your original language and the languages to which you need translations. You can select all the languages on offer as well. The translation then happens automatically.
Lingotek Translation is not a standalone plugin. It works in conjunction with Polylang and complements it by providing the necessary language skills. Lingotek is a top notch, cloud based translation network that offers three types of translation services. The first is a free machine translation up to 100,000 characters, and the second is community translation where you can translate content using a Lingotek text editor. The third option is to go with Lingotek’s professional translation services, with the help of professional translators. The last option ensures top notch translation quality.
You need to create a Lingotek account to work with this plugin. What the plugin does for you is to transfer your content to Lingotek’s servers for translation. You can watch the progress on a progress bar. Thereafter, the translated content is returned to your website. You can create posts, pages, media, categories, post tags, menus and widgets, and specify the language for each. Further, you can use a different subdomain or domain per language. To make it easy for users, add a language switcher in the menu or as a widget. Above all, the WordPress admin area can also be in any language you select.More info / Download
qTranslate X is another plugin that needs you to handle translations on your website itself, without the assistance of any online translation tool. While installing the plugin, you need to select the language versions you need and add a unique two letter code for each language. Some popular languages with country flags are already coded for you. Using the code, unique URLs are generated for each language version.
The plugin detects the language of the visitor’s browser and automatically presents content in that language, if available. Visitors can also switch languages using a widget. It’s possible to change the language of your WordPress dashboard by choosing options in the toolbar. You can translate content using the visual editor by selecting the language from the country flags, without needing to reload the screen. This allows you to carry out translation into multiple languages at the same time. This means you can translate select fields (such as button text) alone into another language, while retaining much of the content on the page or post in the original language. The plugin translates dates automatically, and theme customs fields can also be translated.More info / Download
MultilingualPress allows you to run each language on a separate site and connects them using a light user interface. A customizable widget acts as a link between any number of sites. A new field is created to link posts on all connected sites automatically. Users can switch between languages by clicking on the links or using the widget. This plugin relies on WordPress multisite feature to let you create any number of standalone sites for each language.
Keeping content on distinct websites does not hamper your translation efforts in any way, you can still edit all the languages from one screen. Further, you can easily duplicate a site and use it as a template for another language version. And in case, you deactivate the plugin, the different versions will remain unaffected.More info / Download
Multilanguage by BestWebSoft
Multilanguage by BestWebSoft helps you create content, categories and tags in the normal way. Thereafter, you can assign languages to each piece of content. It supports 80 languages, and you can add more if you wish, as well as select a default language. There’s an option to search the website in the current language only or in all the language versions. A language switcher with multiple options for styling, and country flag icons are also available.
The plugin works by using WordPress filters, so it’s compatible only with themes and plugins that adhere to the WordPress codex standards. Another point to note is, it does not hook up with any translation service, so you’ll have to do translations yourself or by hiring help.
Pro features include switching languages automatically based on the visitor’s IP, translating widget title and website title and tagline, creating separate menus for different languages and more.More info / Download
WPGlobus allows you to manually translate posts, pages, categories, tags, menus and widgets. This plugin offers all the basic features necessary for translating your site and managing the translations. It comes with a frontend language switcher, as well as an option to change language on the admin interface from the top bar.
This plugin is part of a group of plugins that helps with transforming your site into a multilingual one. It allows you to add one or more languages, and supports Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO Pack. Free add-ons are available for setting featured image separately for each language. Add-ons also enable this plugin on themes that use Visual Composer and impart multilingual editing capabilities to the visual editor widget. Premium add-ons are necessary for translating URLs, for language specific keywords, for translating WooCommerce and more.More info / Download
Premium WordPress Multilingual Plugins
There’s a lone premium only plugin on our list and it’s the old favorite WPML.
WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) is a popular translation plugin that can handle the translation needs of any website, be it a small blog or a huge corporate website. It helps translate content into 40+ languages and run them all off a single WordPress install. And because it allows you to place each language version on the same domain or sub-domain, it’s a good fit for multisites. You can also locate different translation versions on totally different domains.
WPML works equally well with both translation methods. It syncs with translation services for auto translation. For this purpose, you can send your content right from your WordPress dashboard to the service you select, and the translated version is returned to you. At the same time, it supports manual translations via the WPML’s translation editor or using your own desktop software. Using the editor, you can also add specific language variants. Where WPML scores is in syncing menu translations, translating pages created with page builders, SEO features, integration with translation services, flexible language URLs and RTL editing. The plugin is compatible with most standard WordPress themes and plugins
To use the plugin, you’ll need to purchase a license. The licenses range between $29 (ideal for a multilingual blog) and $195 (ideal for a multilingual CMS, required if you’re building multi language sites for clients). It’s the higher end licenses that provide the full range of features such as translation widgets and multilingual eCommerce support (with WooCommerce Mulitilingual). The multilingual eCommerce feature shows you which texts need translation and builds the complete translated store for you. They also help with translating the WordPress backend and creating Translator roles. So, if you have team members speaking different languages, this can prove to be a helpful feature.More info / Purchase
English is popular, but not everybody understands it all over the world. Surely, it makes sense to have a multilingual website to reach a wider global audience. With these WordPress Multilingual plugins, it’s not really hard to translate your website. As a side benefit, they have the potential to boost your search engine rankings. Multilingual sites are a great option for blogs, and websites such as job boards and travel sites. They can be of great help while launching products or services in new markets and give you brand visibility in new geographies.
We’ve pretty much covered the top plugins, but if your favorite is not on this list, let us know in the Comments below.