Best WordPress Multilingual Plugins

Written by Jean Galea
Written by Jean Galea

Last updated on 14 Dec 2022

Having a multilingual WordPress site is crucial for many businesses. We compare the three best WordPress multilingual plugins: TranslatePress vs WPML vs Weglot.

WP Mayor is supported by its audience. If you purchase through a link on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s why you can trust us.

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction

More businesses globally are turning to multilingual content marketing to drive more sales and conversion. One of the key elements of this trending marketing strategy is website translations. Thanks to WordPress multilingual plugins, creating translated versions of your site has never been much easier.

Translating your WordPress website is easy when you use the right plugin. There are several free and premium WordPress multilingual plugins available on the market. But while they all allow you to translate your site to other languages, their features and functionalities vary.

Generally, WordPress multilingual plugins work in two ways. They can either allow you to translate your content automatically or manually. The challenge with automatic translations, however, is that you may not get satisfactory translation results. While manual translations may take more time, they generally deliver a better user experience. Many WordPress multilingual plugins offer both options, with support for different translation services.

In this post, we’ll look at the top three WordPress multilingual plugins: TranslatePressWPML, and Weglot. We’ll dig deep into their features, advantages, and disadvantages so you can decide which to use. But first, let’s consider a few tips to help you choose the right option.

How to Choose the Right WordPress Multilingual Plugin

WordPress multilingual plugins don’t all work in the same way. They have unique features that cater to the specific needs of diverse user groups. Some come with free and paid plans, while others are strictly premium.

Expectedly, the paid ones are more feature-rich and support more cloud translation services. But a handful of free translation plugins also offer solid features that can help you set up a professional multilingual website quickly and easily. Basically, you need to know what kind of translation your website needs and what plugin solution offers the best value for money.

In this section, we’ll walk you through 6 essential factors to look out for when choosing a WordPress multilingual plugin.

1. Translation Interface

The majority of multilingual plugins allow you to translate your website content in three ways: on your site’s back end, the front end, or the plugin’s cloud interface. On the back end, you translate content directly from your WordPress admin dashboard.

On the other hand, the front-end method allows you to translate content while previewing your website’s pages just as your visitors get to see them. Some other plugins also provide a third-party cloud interface where you can translate your content.

We’d recommend the front-end option because it gives the most beginner-friendly and intuitive experience. Of all the plugins we tested, TranslatePress executes this best.

2. Number of Simultaneous Translations Supported

Multilingual plugins have different language support capacities. The more languages you can translate your website into, the better for your business. Some plugins limit the users to a specific number of languages they can add to their sites, while others offer unlimited translation languages. However, most plugins do generally offer several pricing plans covering different amounts of languages.

Additionally, if your target audience is in specific geographical areas, you’d need to ensure that the plugin you choose caters to your target audience’s preferred languages. This means that the specific languages the plugin offers is another important aspect to keep in mind. Even though some plugins might not offer as many languages, maybe they do offer the ones you specifically need.

3. Translation Method (Manual vs. Automatic)

We’ve already talked about how WordPress multilingual plugins allow you to translate your site either manually or automatically. Usually, a good plugin solution should let you choose seamlessly from either option.

Some WordPress site owners prefer automatic translation because it’s fast and requires minimal effort. But we generally recommend that you translate your content manually to achieve the most accurate results. Another valid alternative is to translate automatically and then employ the services of a professional to proofread the translations.

Of course, it’s also important that your plugin of choice allows you to modify translated content after translating automatically.

4. Multilingual SEO Features

When you run a multilingual website, Google treats each translated version of your site as a standalone website. Using the right SEO settings on each version of your site helps to boost your brand’s global reach and ensures that you enjoy the numerous benefits of multilingual SEO.

This is why you should consider a multilingual plugin that allows you to modify the SEO settings for each version of your website. Typically, you should be able to edit your URL slugs and other site metadata.

5. eCommerce (WooCommerce) Compatibility

If you’re receiving payments on your site or require other eCommerce features, this is an important factor to look out for. One common challenge with using some WordPress multilingual plugins is that they don’t allow you to translate WooCommerce-generated text.

This can impact the shopping experience on certain translated versions of your site. Though WooCommerce is translation-ready (it comes with its own language packs), being able to modify its gettext string translations always comes in handy.

This brings us to the last factor we recommend you pay attention to.

6. Ability to Translate Theme/Plugin Gettext Strings

Website content is not limited to what you create. The plugins and themes you install on your website also generate different kinds of content. These content types might remain in the same language when translating your site because not all multilingual plugins can translate them.

Before choosing a multilingual plugin, you should be sure that it’s not limited to user-generated content only.

Apart from the tips above, your multilingual plugin must give you complete translation control by allowing you to store your translations in your website’s database. This ensures that you can retrieve or transfer your translations whenever the need arises.

We also don’t recommend plugins that require regular payment to maintain translations. Since your translations are a critical part of your multilingual site, you wouldn’t want to lose access to them if you miss a payment or even stop paying in the first place.

Now that you know what to look out for when choosing a WordPress multilingual plugin for your website, let’s check out our top two picks.

The Best WordPress Multilingual Plugins

After testing multiple WordPress multilingual plugins extensively and comparing their features, our pick for the best two options is TranslatePress and WPML. Both plugins hold their own in each department we highlighted in the previous section.

Though it’s difficult to go wrong with either solution, each excels more in certain areas. Let’s take a closer look at these key differences.

TranslatePress

TranslatePress WordPress multilingual plugin

Are you looking for a feature-packed WordPress multilingual plugin that checks all the boxes of the required features for your site? TranslatePress is just about right.

The plugin is a user-friendly multilingual translation solution that’s fully compatible with WordPress to give you a satisfactory website translation experience.

Probably, what makes TranslatePress stand out the most is that it allows even complete newbies to translate their site directly on the front end. This not only boosts its user-friendliness but also ensures that your site translation process is both fast and visually accurate.

This is all made possible by TranslatePress’ visual translation editor, which lets users translate their sites by simply clicking content from a live preview and inputting the translation in a sidebar.

TranslatePress translation editor

But, as you may be thinking, a WordPress website seldom includes other types of content that wouldn’t normally be visible on the front-end, such as emails sent to users or dynamically displayed content. Well, for all this content, the plugin offers the String Translation interface. Here, you’ll be able to access and translate URL slugs, emails, and any gettext strings coming from your theme or other plugins.

Let’s check out some of TranslatePress’ powerful features:

  • Simple and intuitive front-end translation interface that allows you to see the visitors’ view of your site;
  • Seamless automatic and manual translation options;
  • Image replacement in various language versions;
  • 100% optimization for multilingual SEO;
  • Allows you to translate content generated by themes and plugins;
  • TranslatePress is compatible with WooCommerce and allows you to translate your WooCommerce store;
  • Customizable language switcher box with multiple options to choose from;
  • It lets you store your translations in your website’s database, giving you complete control of your translations;
  • Allows you to translate your site into over 200 languages;
  • Automatic user language detection feature that allows visitors to view content in their preferred language;
  • 100% support for theme/plugin gettext strings;
  • Full user support.

TranslatePress is one of the best WordPress multilingual plugins for boosting site traffic and generating leads. It has both free and paid plans. And the best part is, if you only need two languages on your site, you can get away for free.

If, however, the features on the free version are not enough, you can opt for a more feature-rich premium TranslatePress plan anytime. But for starters, you can download TranslatePress for free and give it a test run.

WPML

WPML WordPress Multilingual Plugin

Another equally reliable WordPress multilingual plugin to check out is WPML. It’s a paid, feature-rich plugin that helps you to translate and run your website seamlessly. WPML offers a great user experience as it walks you through the different stages of translating your site. The best part is that with WPML, you don’t need special skills to translate your website.

Though the plugin uses its own proprietary Advanced Translation Editor, the editing experience is quite intuitive as well.

WPML translation editor

Let’s highlight some of its features:

  • Translates single language sites into multiple versions;
  • Integrations with multiple translation services that allow for a seamless exchange of translated content;
  • Advanced Translation Editor that generates translations in a short time;
  • Integrated features for theme localization;
  • It allows you to translate content manually or automatically;
  • Compatibility with SEO plugins that enable you to optimize your site for multilingual SEO;
  • Compatible with WooCommerce when you use WooCommerce Multilingual;
  • Offers chat support in case of any translation challenges;
  • Compatibility with many WordPress themes like Ocean WP, Astra, and Twenty Seventeen;
  • Compatibility with plugins like Akismet-Spam, Yoast SEO, and Gravity Forms;
  • It gives you complete translation control by letting you store translations in your database;
  • Integrated professional translation (optional feature for folks who need help translating).

WPML is s a premium plugin, meaning they do not offer a free version. However, they do offer several pricing tiers to accommodate most budgets. You can download WPML here.

Weglot

Weglot is another of the top WordPress multilingual plugins available for business users today. This powerful tool uses an intuitive API to detect content on your website, then translate it automatically into one of 60 languages. The output translation is available to customize however you choose, with the “Contextual Editor” within your Weglot account.

Weglot complies with Google’s best practices for multilingual WordPress websites, making it ideal for companies with a strong focus on SEO. The proprietary algorithm assigns updated URLs to the new language pages. Plus, the app also automatically detects and translates important SEO data, such as titles, descriptions, meta tags, and categories.

Let’s highlight some of its features:

  • Automatic content detection via an API that captures all of the text, images, and SEO meta-data of your site at the click of a button;
  • Integrated word-count tool to determine how much a professional translation might cost;
  • Integrated “Contextual editor” for optimizing your translated content;
  • Options to hire professional translators from within your Weglot account;
  • Annotations within your editor so you can mark each piece of text as “reviewed”;
  • Opportunities to exclude specific pages and content blocks from your translation;
  • Adherence to Google best practices for multilingual WordPress sites;
  • Glossary rules for automated translations;
  • Translation statistics, reports, and analytical insights;
  • Support for multiple websites (for customers with a premium plan);
  • Integrations with Shopify, WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, Webflow, and more;
  • Compatibility with all CMS and web technology via API connections.

Weglot is free to use for websites with up to 2,000 words of content. However, you will only be able to translate a single language. To access 3 or more languages, you’ll need a “Business” plan or above, billed on a monthly or yearly basis. Prices increase based on the number of languages you need and your number of words.

Comparing TranslatePress vs WPML vs Weglot

While TranslatePress has an intuitive front-end interface, translation with WPML works in the backend. Translating your site is relatively much easier with TranslatePress than with WPML. But WPML could be more flexible depending on your site’s specific needs.

Weglot integrates with the back-end of your website as well. However, the translations you create are kept on the Weglot server and are fetched each time a visitor views your website in a certain language. TranslatePress stores your translations on your own server, meaning you have full ownership over them, and you won’t lose access to them if you ever stop paying for the service.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of both WordPress multilingual plugins.

Advantages of Using TranslatePress

  1. It lets you easily translate your site automatically, then tweak the translations manually;
  2. It gives you a simple visual translation interface to work with;
  3. It offers a free plan with basic features for users who can’t afford pro plans;
  4. Highly compatible with other WordPress themes and plugins.

Disadvantages of Using TranslatePress

  1. A limited number of language options on the free version;
  2. The paid plans are pricier for starters.

Advantages of Using WPML

  1. More flexible and advanced settings give you higher translation control;
  2. Content analysis plugins work accurately;
  3. Language support for Microsoft Translate in addition to Google Translate and DeepL.

Disadvantages of Using WPML

  1. Slower translation because it only allows automatic translation in bits using the Advanced Translation Editor;
  2. Requires more tables for translation grouping;
  3. An intricate architecture that requires the plugin to filter many WordPress services and send back only content that corresponds to the language.

Advantages of Using Weglot

  1. You can translate your site manually or automatically, or you can even order translations from a professional translator;
  2. It gives you insights into translated content statistics and reports;
  3. The translation interface is very clean, making it easy to use even for beginners.
  4. Weglot is compatible with almost any Theme and plugin and is continuously updating its plugin to make sure it’s compatible.

Disadvantages of Using Weglot

  1. The free plan is very basic in terms of the number of words you can translate. Accessing more translation languages and words will cost a lot;
  2. All of your translations are stored with Weglot, however, Weglot users are the owner of the translations and can ask any time to get an export of their translations.

Final Verdict: Best WordPress Multilingual Plugin

In this article, we’ve walked you through tips for choosing a WordPress multilingual plugin for your website. We also highlighted the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the top three most powerful WordPress multilingual plugins: TranslatePress, WPML, and Weglot.

While WPML is undoubtedly a feature-loaded WordPress multilingual plugin, TranslatePress is a lighter plugin that offers a seamless translation experience. Weglot, another highly-rated plugin, allows you to translate your site instantly. They offer SaaS billing and a seamless plugin integration through WordPress.

Working around the feature-rich WPML, while very useful, can be quite complicated and tiring. So if you don’t want the technicalities that come with WPML, TranslatePress and Weglot are safer bets.

At the same time, Weglot provides a full website translation experience including multilingual SEO, translation management and editing tools, and neural machine translation. However, to access all the features you’ll need a paid monthly plan.
Finally, if you cancel you can get your translations in a CSV format but you would need to re-integrate them with another plugin.

We hope that with the tips and plugin highlights we’ve shared, you can now choose the best WordPress multilingual plugin for your site and for your specific needs.

Bonus: Don’t Forget About Hosting

Remember, adding new language versions to your site can become resource intensive. Before adding any significant new functionality to your WordPress sites, you need to consider whether your current hosting is capable of handling that strain.

Once you actually have traffic, you don’t want visitors to your site to be confronted with unexplained delays, not in any language. More importantly, you definitely don’t want them contacting you to ask why your site isn’t working!

The advice we always give is to make sure you get properly resourced hosting in place before you launch. We recommend two hosts that we have seen work out well for our readers, the choice between them comes down to money:

  1. If you are on a tight budget, SiteGround has a good reputation for well-managed and well-supported shared hosting at a good price. They are by far the best at that price level, consider in particular their GoGeek level.
  2. If, on the other hand, absolute reliability and performance are more important to you than price, WP Engine provides the best possible managed WordPress hosting, I use them for all of my most important sites, the ones that generate money. They even work out significantly cheaper than other managed WordPress hosts if you take advantage of the exclusive discount we have arranged for the readers of WP Mayor which, surprisingly, you can use in addition to their usual annual discount:
4 Months Free
WP Engine
WP Engine
WP Engine has been a constant recommendation here on WP Mayor. Every website we have hosted with them has been smooth sailing all the way. Get 4 months free all annual (or 20% off monthly) shared...Show More
WP Engine has been a constant recommendation here on WP Mayor. Every website we have hosted with them has been smooth sailing all the way. Get 4 months free all annual (or 20% off monthly) shared hosting today. Starting at just $20/mo. Show Less
<span style="font-weight: 400">Written by: </span>Jean Galea
Written by: Jean Galea

Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger.

He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast.

His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

Supported by our trusted partners

Quick Links

Did you find this article helpful?

Share Your Discovery

140 Responses

    1. Still early days for that plugin, I would still recommend WPML for now but it’s good to keep an eye on how WP Globus does in the coming years.

  1. Hi, is the wpml support visual composer? and whether have a dropdown language selector instead just list in a row? Thanks.

  2. Hi, I’m wondering if any of the above plugins / solutions will help me with one of my client’s sites. Currently it is only serving English Canadian customers, but it needs to also serve French Canadian customers and English American customers.

    I’m wondering if the plugins would work because maybe I can just change the language, and not stipulate English Canadian vs. English American.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    1. Hi Robert,

      I am also Canadian.

      WPML is the solution that I use and it will serve your needs.

  3. Just came across your great article. Just read some of the comments and I am searching for the same things – a good comparison of the wordpress multilingual plugin Polylang vs WPML.
    Not sure if it’s worth spending the $ to purchase the premium or settle with Polylang for now as it seems to have no premium support.. so you rely on the forum I think.
    Anyway, great article! Thanks.

    1. If you want my advice I’d say go for WPML each and every time. You want to have a well-supported plugin that will be around for the long term, and right now only WPML can guarantee that.

  4. I’ve been using Polylang since the beginning of my Blog and it’s just amazing. Works perfectly with my bilingual blog.

    Plus, you have a lot of other plugins that work really well with polylang such as All in one SEO and K-news (newsletter)

    Here are examples of two pages:

    http://outofyourcomfortzone.net/how-to-buy-travel-insurance/ (English)
    http://foradazonadeconforto.com/como-escolher-e-comprar-seguro-de-viagem/ (Brazilian Portuguese)

    I recommend!

    1. Polylang is a good plugin but doesn’t have as many features as WPML. For example if you are using WooCommerce you really need to use WPML not Polylang.

  5. I find WPML to be extremely resource intensive and really slows down the performance of a website, drastic differences when it is turned on or off.

    Anyone experienced the same?

    1. Multilanguage plugins by their nature tend to slow down the website slightly, but a caching plugin will mitigate much of the performance issues. I don’t think it’s a problem specific to WPML.

    1. I don’t believe WPML does /en as default. Check the docs and you can also contact their helpful support team.

  6. Sorry for being so basic. How about ‘reproducing’ the web page to another and having that translated?

  7. The current multi language plugins do give to much headache, they just does not feel right, way to much features, slowing down everything. Ever tried to uninstall such a plugin? that is not how a multilanguage plugin should work, It just should enable multlanguage for all post, custom post types and taxonomies, nothing more. There is a kickstart project https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1160966540/a-free-wordpress-multilanguage-plugin?ref=nav_search

    1. There might be a market opportunity there, but it’s gonna be hard to garner any support when you spell WordPress with a lowercase ‘P’. It shows that you are not yet familiar with the WordPress community let alone ready to build a competitor to a titan such as WPML.

  8. So AGAIN, I am stuck having to purchase extensions from various sources and stick my credit card number everywhere, send my personal information around, etc., just because I am trying to use a CMS! I gave up on Joomla, because there were not able to provide a decent editor and I would to pay to get one. Now WordPress is doing me the same trick with extensions. This is way too time consuming to switch CMS and migrate all my contents, and I just cannot figure out which CMS to use, so always making mistakes after mistakes. There are morever three versions of WPML and I just don’t understand the difference between them. The web site lists large number of features available in one and not the other. I WILL make a mistake, because I don’t know if I will not need one of the feature not in the lower-tier version.

    1. My recommendation is to just go for the Multilingual CMS option, even if you won’t need some of the features right now you’ll need them in the near future, so it’s worth going for this option. If you go for the lower priced option you can moreover always upgrade.

  9. Hello everyone! I have a problem! I am trying to move from a server a wordpress site with multilang setup(plugin that i used is WPML), and when I move the site to on my local machine…, nothing works! I was modifying the wp-config.php, with the local database and pass, then the .htaccess file with the curent path. And when i was trying to acces the wp-login.php… nothing happens, it’s show just a blank page. What else should i try? 🙁

  10. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
    Your website offered us with helpful information to work on.
    You have done an impressive task and our whole group will
    be thankful to you.

  11. Every time I type in a new blog post in WordPress and publish it, Twitter posts it – which is fine, but it always starts off with the expression: “Nouvel article!” before the post and link. (I think this is French???) how do I get WordPress it to stop doing this? It’s annoying.

  12. WPML have also just released a specific plugin for translating WooCommerce content, so now you can have WooCommerce-powered multilingual e-commerce websites.

  13. On WPML Purchase page it says that, by purchasing WPML license, you are getting 1 year of support and upgrades.
    What WPML authors are hiding from you is that you are buying allowance for one year of installations only.
    After that period you are not allowed to install the plugin – not even versions released during the year of your “subscription” period!

    Buying WPML you are not purchasing the current version of the plugin. You are purchasing the subscription only.
    After one year you will be left without access to any version of WPML!

    1. When you buy an account for WPML, you get free upgrades and support for one year. Anything that you download, you can install during that year, or any time after it. The downloads and whatever you installed already will not expire.

      You can renew your account for additional years at 50% of the original cost and continue getting updates and support.

      Of course, we recommend that you keep your account valid and install current versions. We update WPML about once a month. These updates always include improvements, new functionality and fixes. When needed, they also include support for new WordPress features, as these come.

      So, what you wrote is not correct. If your account has expired, you can still install the older versions that you had when your account was valid. You will not be able to download from our site, but you can certainly install the versions that you’ve downloaded before.

  14. With qtranslate can you edit almost all your 10,000 words automatic French translation, for example, and the plugging doesn’t crash? I have that big issue with the plugging WPgTranslate, on my heavy packed with texts website.

  15. I have tried and installed WPML plugin and it works fine. Problem is footer.php is the same for all languages so I cannot add GA tracking script discinct on both languages. BUMP 🙁

    1. If you need to use different GA code, you can wrap its texts in a GetText call. However, I’m not sure about it. We use GA too (like mostly everyone else on the web) and I really don’t recommend having different analytics codes for different languages. What’s the benefit of doing so?

  16. Thanks for the article ! My favorite is Qtranslate… probably more by habtis… I will give a try to others when I have time !

  17. I am extremely frustrated with WPML. I am using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin and turns out the custom fields I set up on my English original just DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY from the translated pages.
    Also, my buttons don’t get translated either. So I have a “Book Now” button on my English page which appears untranslated on my other language pages! WTF??
    I’ve been trying to get WPML’s customer support to help me troubleshoot this and it’s been over a month and still no answer, their customer support SUCKS.
    If anyone has encountered this problem and can share any solutions to it, I’m all ears!!
    Thanks…

    1. Of course, we want to address all compatibility issues with themes and plugins and ACF is a major plugin for this goal.

      I would need more information about what’s happening. I guess that you have a support thread about it in WPML.org forum. Can you post the link to that thread here?

      Thanks!

  18. just downloaded WPML and getting to grips with it. I started building sites in wordpress last week, and I have already progressed to the multi language elements. Totally hooked on discovering the world of opportunities that have opened up

  19. Coming from qtranslate (because it was free) like many I quickly turned toward WPML as soon as I realized that their small API exactly offered what I needed. Nowadays there is no alternative to WPML – almost all major theme designers support WPML which makes it so great.
    We have been WPML Premium users since 2 years or more now and all projects went so well, I couldn’t think of any reason to switch after more than 160 websites built.

  20. First time I have to develop a WP bilingual site for a client and no clue so far how to start (used to work with joomla for a long time where things are different but switched to WP just a couple of months ago). So, many thanks for the comparison and pros and cons of the apparently leading tools. Will try WPML as this seems to be first choice.

  21. Jean, have you been able to test the newest version of Polylang and compare to WPML?

  22. Hi, can anyone tell me which plugin is better in the above two if I want to make a multilingual website in WordPress for English/Arabic? I am a programmer and can program almost anything in WordPress, just I don’t want to waste days testing and deciding both before starting the project. If anyone can give me a go ahead on what plugin is better for me. Thanks.

  23. Jean, You really should include Polylang, my company bought WPML but I still use Polylang, and the results are great.

    Furthermore, Chouby – which developed Polylang – is very helpful on the WordPress support forums offering free and useful support, something rare these days.

  24. It seems as very usefull comparison, great, thank you.

    Have a question. When using WPML, I do not need to pred-define any subdomain first for the individual languages, like language1.domain.com and language2.domain.com?
    (Though I still expect web-reader will see only one language; or a concrete post only in either default or the only available language).

    1. It is not a prerequisite to use subdomains with WPML, there are three methods of setting things up, I think I cover that in the video above.

  25. None of them is capable of detecting the browser language and automatically select content without the need of a special URL? the en.domain.com is unsuitable if you have multiple multilanguage subdomains.

    1. You don’t really need a plugin to do that, you can write a few lines of code that detect the browser language and redirect to that language’s URL. You don’t need to use a specific domain either for this to work.

  26. hi everybody… i am looking for a wp plugin which helps me build a multilanguage site, but not quite exactly the way described in your post:
    i need to set up a landing page where the user has to choose from two or three languages, say english and spanish. then he is being redirected to different sites each – with similar or even the same categories, but different content – completely different posts, that is.

    such a setting possible? have you got a suggestion for this? thanks in advance!

    1. Hi jan, why do you think you need a plugin for that? Why not use just simple links to the different sites? I suspect there is some other functionality you haven’t mentioned, so if you expand a bit more we might be able to offer a better solution.

  27. There is a light weight but powerful newcomer: Polylang.

    Since WPML is just too heavy and cumbersome for my clients sites, I used to choose qTranslate all the time. But since Polylang, my preference has changed. The plugin has hardly any impact on site performance (as opposed to qTranslate) and is fairly easy to set post/page language, widgets, categories, tags and menus per language.

    If you ever got time for a review, I can highly recommend it 🙂

    1. Thanks for letting us know RavanH. Polyland does indeed look promising. In what way do you find WPML heavy and cumbersome?

      1. I have found WPML heavy in many areas and in my case it hurt the server performance (even if I have used WP Super Cache and a dedicated server). In fact, given that most of the readers of my sites are coming from English speakers, I finally decided to get rid of WPML in favor of the server performance until I could find a replacemenent.

        I didn’t try Polyland yet but what RavanH suggested sounds promising to me, too.

  28. Hi Jean, thanks for this page. I am working on a site that has qtranslate embedded deep into the wordpress theme. It works great and with a bit of creative programming can be made to do almost anything one’s heart desires.

    We have run into a problem though. It seems that qtranslate cannot keep up with the updates in WordPress. This is not a criticism as I understand that one guy made this great plugin and gave it to the world! But, it is important for this particular client to always keep their site secure. When there is always a lag for qtranslate to get up to speed, the site remains vulnerable.

    Does this seem a fair assessment from your perspective?

    1. Yes Don, that is a fair assessment indeed. It is totally understandable that qtranslate is sometimes not updated immediately, the sole developer does not profit from this plugin and I’m sure he has a lot of other paid work to take care of.

      In the light of this, while qtranslate remains an excellent plugin, I would always go WPML for client sites, the price to pay is very minimal when you consider how well the plugin is built, and the peace of mind that the plugin is always being updated and support is just an email away.

  29. Thanks for this clarifying article, exactly what I was looking for!

    I will try to implement QTranslate in my site, http://www.parisshuttle.net

    Maybe wpml to avoid the manual work, but I think that I’m around 80% certain that I will try to use QTranslate

    Thanks again!

  30. I have used both plugins, but when I first tried WPML, I never used qTranslate.
    WPML is so much powerful and I really can’t think of any limits it imposes.
    qTranslate have lack of features, such as, permalink for different languages, and the way it messes up the database, is a huge no-no for me.

  31. After trying out all the free plugins and ending up frustrated because they lacked some feature I needed, I came across this great post and bought this plugin.

    What can I say, it’s money very well spent (actually it’s probably undervalued), it’s the most advanced multilingual plugin for WordPress and the support staff is very helpful too. Thanks for the find Jean!

  32. Great article, thanks! I have been having a good look at Polylang (a wordpress plug in). You have to do manual translate so it wont be suitable for everyone. If you can translate yourself it looks like one of the best to go for.

  33. Thank you very much for posting and sharing this great article. It is so interesting. I want to know some other information about this site. So please give me this news quickly. I always will be aware of you.

  34. I used qtranslate until now , so far so good. But I have to say that if you are planning to use qtranslate, then double check the version of your current wp cause it tends to have couple bugs with wp tiny mce. Besides that qtranslate is all good.

  35. I find qTranslate very frustrating! It has pretty good features but when it comes to SEO it fails. You will find yourself with duplicate titles and duplicate meta tags for pretty much everything in your website. But that’s not the biggest problem! The biggest problem is its stability! When you want to post a new article it copies the contents from one language to another in your database! For example I have Romanian and English languages on my website and when I try to post an article, it either copies from Romanian to English or the other way around and it ruins me several hours of work. I found this problem happens even when editing an already published post if I switch from Visual to HTML editor. I’m starting to hate qTranslate, I think I’m gonna try WPML.

  36. I have used qtranslate before.
    I would like to add another disavantage I found on qTranslate. When a new wordpress version was out, it was auto disabling until an official new version of the plugin, that supports the wp version, was out. I don’t know if this is fixed now.

    Spyros

    1. qTranslate still auto disables when installing a new WP version. According to the plugin’s site the correct version comes out 1-2 weeks after a new WP version. Perhaps something to take in account before you update a client’s site and find yourself restoring a backup.

  37. Dear all,
    i will use two languages RTL & LTR with Qtranslate
    first language English(LRT) the pages come like this:
    Page1 Page2 Page3 Page4 (Left layout)
    Second language Arabic or Hebrew (RTL)
    Page4 Page3 Page2 Page1 (Right layout)
    how can i do that in Qtranslate?

    Best Regards

  38. to avoid slowdowns you can always use a caching plugin. In my latest project (www.palmbeachcustoms.com) that is image-heavy, the load time before caching was about 5 seconds. After w3 Cahce, the site loads for about 3 seconds. That’s 70% increase, and it takes about 15 minutes to make the caching work properly.
    As for on-site seo, my take is to always go with a multisite install. You can tweak till Jesus comes and you won’t cause a network-wide speed issues. With multisite, you can configure each language as a separate site, which gives you full control over everything. Yeah, the down side is that you will spend more time, but considering SEO benefits… I think it’s worth the effort.
    My 2 cents.

    1. Instead of multisite to try ManageWP (https://wpmayor.com/link/managewp/) –
      ManageWP helps you manage all your WordPress sites from one location, keeping them updated and secure + using WPML plugin for multi-language. Of course, all of this is not completely free, but if someone wants the best of the best and have some money – this is a perfect combination.

  39. I am looking at WPML for a small site. I’m trying to find out if it is possible to tweak all onpage elements of a translated posts in the same way that we would for a normal untranslated page (title tags, url slugs, custom menu labels, headers etc). Do you have any advice on these?

    Also quite a few people have mentioned the number of database queries it may make – what is the significance of this? Does it mean it’ll slow down the website completely?

    1. Yes most onpage elements can be tweaked, for details it’s better to ask the WPML authors directly and they’ll be able to help you on your specific case. As for queries definitely it won’t slow down your website completely, you might notice a few more milliseconds for loading, but you should also be using a caching plugin, in which case the performance hit will be non existent or very minimal.

  40. I have tested a lot of the free translators such as Google Ajax Translator mentioned earlier. As my wife speaks fluent Armenian and Russian I asked her to check the translated versions of her English jewellery tutorials blog in those and she said she could barelyu understand any of it. But if you translate a world news website such as bbc to those languages using Google translate it’s more than eligible.
    I guess choosing between free and paid translation services also depends on your site content is what i’m suggesting.

  41. I really like WPML translation Plugin, and I definitely try it..

    By the way great post and thanks for sharing..

  42. back to report the progress with my multilanguage approach, I’ve set up the network, and everything works like a charm. I pitched the suggestion to my potential client, so we’ll see how things work and if he decides to hire me. But even if he doesn’t this multi-site setup has given me some cool ideas, so it was definitely worth the time to play with multisite setups.

  43. Hi,

    I need to creat a multilanguge website. My defaut language is italian but one of the laguages needs to be bulgarian. As I had a problem with writting in cyrillic letter with pevious plugin i have installed and I read that many people actully have this problem. I would like to know whether WPML or Qtranslate support cyrillic letters?
    Tnak you!

    1. from my experience with cyrilic, what creates problems is the database creation process. My hosting provider has a default setting for each new database to be created in Sweedish (no idea why, since they’re actually located in Chicago), and I had to contact tech support to change the database in UTF-8, back them up, and restore them again, only to make them functioning properly and allow for cyrilic support.
      So, from what I know, the issue isn’t with the plugins, but with the database character coding set. UTF-8 supports cyrilic, I’m using it and works just fine. Also, make sure you have the obvious things done, eg. installed a Bulgarian keyboard on your system.
      Hope this helps.

  44. well, for the past hour or so I’ve set up the multisite (or network, whatever you prefer), and here’s what I’ve learned in the process:
    1. Install all plugins you’d like Before you enable the multisite
    2. Ideally the .com page should be just a language selector pointing to the networked sites, because the main site, the .com one, will get URLs like site.com/blog/…, while the others can be configured to have the URLs without the “blog” in them. Maybe there’s a way to get rid of this slug, but I’m still learning things and reporting as I do
    3. Get a Multisite plugin for easier management of the sites. I’m still researching which one will do things best. As I’m doing this for a client, the primary concern is to find a plugin that will make publishing new posts as easy as possible. The default option of switching between the networked sites just doesn’t seem elegant.
    4. Nor sure, which one will be point 4, but Im darn sure there will be other conclusions as I go down the road.

    The benefits of multisite vs. plugin? Well, first off, it’s completely free. Then, it is perfect for SEO as you can tweak everything from category slugs and descriptions to separate meta elements. Then, I intend on having the logo/slogan images done in separate languages, as well as some images with text on the home page and other landing pages. This level of fine tuning is hard to achieve with plugins I think, because the multisite approach is like having separate sites altogether, even though it’s a single WP instal.

    Cons: I’m not sure how if and how things would develop if for some reason one of the languages goes south, and how that would affect the others, since they’re all working from a single WP install. Then, I’m still not sure if and how some plugins will work with a multisite install. The first thing that comes to mind is what if there’s a premium plugin (like one ecommerce plugin I bought) and how that will work (if at all) on the different language sites.
    I’m sure I’ll find other pros and cons, but as I said previously, just reporting as I do things.
    FYI the test sites are:
    http://www.mebel-lacka.webmaxformance.com Main site, soon to be language selector
    http://www.mebel-lacka.webmaxformance.com/en English version
    http://www.mebel-lacka.webmaxformance.com/sq Albanian
    http://www.mebel-lacka.webmaxformance.com/mk Macedonian (cyrilic) version

    The main point that I couldn’t solve by sticking to a single regular no-plugin multilanguage site is the navigation. I thought of just using the category-based url and use three sets of sub categories for each language, but then… filtering of pages, meta elements, navigation-this all could be in a single language. So the multisite solved this problem very elegantly, as well as SEO issues, which were importat to the client.
    Hope this helps.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to report back, I’m sure this will be helpful for someone else. Please let us know when there are more updates, wish you best of luck with the rest of this project.

  45. Hi, nice post and thanks for sharing. I’m pitching a service to a potential client, this being the very first multilanguage site, so I’m quite new in how and what goes on behind the scenes of such a site. From what I’ve read, it may be the best and fail-safe way to just go with a multisite solution. It may be a bit more difficult/time consuming for populating the sites, but all in all, different sites (subdomain, folder whatever) offers tons of advantages for SEO, so I guess I’ll go with WPMS approach and see what happens.

  46. hi.
    i can’t seem to find the information, can you tell me whether WPML can translate product tags in WP-eCommerce?
    I’ve tried with qTranslate and it works fine, except for product tags as the setup page for these tags removes the specific tags you define languages with in qTranslate.

  47. did the QTranslate plugin support RTL lang also ?
    can i change css file for each lang ?

    Best Regards,
    Yaniv

  48. Nice post Jean, I want to mention to your readers that we have a WP translation plugin which is one of the best ones out there. It is guaranteed to increase traffic and ad revenues. It is also one of the only plugins that does not rely on the Google API. Google is terminating the free translate API this year and most of the plugins that rely on Google will not be able to offer all of those languages. Our system is based on a self-owned server and software license and we are not dependent on anyone.

    You can check some of the software implemented in our plugin on http://webtranslator.gts-translation.com

    1. The best way to check is to install a plugin like ‘Debug Queries’ and test WPML on your installation, as it might also depend on what WPML modules you choose to install. I have not encountered any particular performance issues with WPML and it’s a very good platform. It has become more polished since it became a paid plugin.

      1. That’s a good method too. I was just hoping to get a sense of relatively how many queries it adds on a site before shelling out the $80 just to test that. Thought maybe that was something you’d have already tested after buying WPML or might want to test, with and without the plugin active. It’d be an interesting comparison, given from my test we know qtranslate adds 0 queries.

  49. Could you shed any light on how many queries WPML adds for you please?

    I tested qtranslate by using in my footer.php and compared both with and without the plugin activated. And it’s fast, adding no additional database queries! But I’m still considering WPML given it’s ability to translate urls as you mentioned (e.g. /characteristicas, instead of /es/features).

    Would be curious to hear how WPML affects your performance.

  50. qtranslate doesn t integrates with formbuilder and some other plugin and now i’m f*cked i can t uninstall it… WP sucks when it comes to multilanguage and i don t know why people still bother with WP just because it is a simple CMS… if you want complete multilanguage solutions choose joomla and joomfish

    if anyone knows how i can make qtranslate work with formbuilder or any other easy to handle free form please contact me guys… i need to finish this stupid project and i m stuck on the forms translations

  51. Presently I have a non-WordPress multi-lingual website in 8 languages that I’m thinking of moving to WordPress. One problem is that I have translators working on 10 additional languages—2 of those being Farsi and Hebrew. Do any of the present multi-language plugins for WordPress handle right-to-left well on the same page with left-to-right? Thanks. Rick

      1. Hi Rick Yes WPML handle this perfect , you get the best support and recently there is an article about right to left direction in combination with ltr sites https://wpml.org/2011/06/creating-right-to-left-rtl-wordpress-sites/, i work with it on 4 different websites i need in Hebrew and english and german.
        WPML ist worth its money! And i changed from Qtranslate to WPML and its a big difference mainly if you need rtl support!
        also there is a very good plugin for rtl direction for the Editor http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-rtl/
        Susanne

        1. I agree with Susanne, WPML is by far the most mature multilanguage plugin for WordPress today, and well worth the money.

  52. I’ve also been using WPML for couple of sites but since it became commercial I’m looking for an alternative. I don’t like qTranslate and other plugins because of the way they manage the translations.

    I’m now trying to solve multi-language sites by using WordPress Network (previously WordPressMU). You can use subdomains or sub-directories (en.domain.com or domain.com/en/) for switching languages, a single user can access more sites from WP 3.1 admin menu, …. So far it looks better than paying $80 for WPML 😉

    1. That’s a nifty solution Lenart, I think it’s also fair to say that WPML has improved significantly in terms of performance and features since it became commercial. Personally I find WPML well worth the money, since the cost is usually absorbed by the client anyway. However as always, the more options we have the better.

  53. It is worth noting that due to the complexity of WPML it can at times triple the number of databse queries per page load. It is much heavier than qTranslate.

    1. WPML probably has more DB queries than qTranslate, however they have improved the performance significantly lately.

  54. I have used Qtranslate (see http://marcopololand.ca) and like it very much. Of course it relies on the website owner to enter everything in multiple languages – but it automatically switches to display an available language if content isn’t there for the user’s choice and indicates this to them. The language tags are a great feature – but do require some manual effort and the syntax can be a little tricky – the biggest problem is that they don’t seem to be supported within plugins right out-of-the-box – I’m developing a reservation system plugin and the language tags display verbatim – still need to figure out how to solve this problem.

    Have you taken a look at the Google AJAX Translation plugin? This may be the simplest solution for those that just want approximate translations available to their users. I haven’t used it yet but plan to make it standard in my website implementations if it works ok.

    1. Thanks for your input Brad, Qtranslate seems to be a valid alternative, especially now that WPML is becoming a paid plugin.

      Will definitely take a look at Google AJAX Translation, and update the post accordingly.

      1. wordpress website i am trying for arabic translation for my website
        without pay any free solution wmpl language plugin

    2. hello.. i have problem with mod_rewrite by qtranslate in pre-pathlish … you have code with .htaccess, this archive is generic, but not compatible with qtanslate.. y like two lenguage (spanish /es/ and english /en/)

      thanks

      1. Best to ask for a solution in the WordPress forums, be sure to tag your question with the name of the plugin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 Discover more tips and tools. 
Join 5000+ designers, developers, and website builders that come to WP Mayor to find the best guides, tools, and services for their next website. One email every week.
WP Mayor Newsletter

2023 Reader Survey

What would make this article better for you?

What's missing?