WordPress has become one of the most popular open source Content Management Systems, and now powers and supports more than 23% of the world’s websites.
Since WordPress is so widely used all over the world, there is an inherent need for site contents to be displayed in different languages. Now with eCommerce sites also being constructed with WordPress, it is quite important to make one single site with multiple language compatibility. This can make the sites usable for people who speak different languages. Multilingual plugins from WordPress are developed for this very purpose.
Some of the best WordPress multilingual plugins and their features are listed here:
WPML comes with an easy setup of 40 languages right out of the box. Apart from that it allows the users to add their own language as and when needed. It also allows the users to add different variants of languages like Mexican Spanish, Canadian French, etc. It is also capable of making one single WordPress installation work fully as a multilingual site.
Features of WPML:
- Variant languages compatibility: Allows users to add their own language even if it is a variant of another language.
- Powerful translation management: Manages the translation by itself without creating any additional interference from the users.
- Multilingual CMS: It works well with Multilingual Content Management System sites powered by WordPress.
- Theme and plugin text translation: The text of a theme or plugin is available in English but this plugin can translate these texts into other languages that are known to it. This helps the those using other languages to make use of the plugin in their own sites or blogs.
- Translation of comments from the visitors: It automatically translates the comments of the visitors or subscribers into the preferred languages. Both site owners and other viewers can get the benefits of this facility by and large.
- Multilingual E-Commerce: WPML lets you easily build and run multilingual e-commerce sites with WooCommerce. It shows you which texts need translation and builds the complete translated store for you.
TranslatePress is a really easy to use WordPress translation plugin that lets you translate your entire site directly from the front-end. The interface allows you to translate the entire page at once, including output from shortcodes, forms, and page builders. It also works out of the box with WooCommerce.
TranslatePress’ list of features includes:
- Translate all your website content, directly from the front-end
- Works with ANY theme or plugin (no extra compatibility required)
- Support for both manual and automatic translation (via Google Translate)
- Customizable language switcher
- Support for dynamic ( gettext) strings added by WordPress, plugins, and themes
- WooCommerce compatible
- Translation blocks: translate larger blocks of HTML with a single translation, by joining multiple translation strings together
- GPL & self-hosted (built the WordPress way)
The premium version includes the following Pro Add-ons:
- Multiple Languages (for adding as many translation languages as you need)
- Automatic User Language Detection (first-time visitors will be redirected to their preferred language based on browser settings or IP address)
- SEO Pack (for boosting your multilingual ranking, includes Yoast SEO sitemap support)
- Translator Accounts (create translator accounts)
- Navigation Based on Language (helps you configure different menu items for different languages)
- Browse as User Role (helps you navigate and translate your website just like a particular user role would. Useful for dynamic content that appears for particular users)
This plugin from WordPress is highly recommended by the satisfied users. This plugin works perfectly with single sites as well as WordPress multisites, and there is also a Pro version with additional features as you can see below.
Features of the free version of Multilingual Press:
- It uses a customizable widget to link to all sites and you can set up unlimited site relationships in the site manager.
- It offers a Language Manager with 174 editable languages.
- View the translations for each post or page underneath the post editor.
- Show a list of links for all translations on each page in a flexible widget.
- Translate posts, pages and taxonomy terms like categories or tags.
- Add translation links to any nav menu.
- No lock-in: After deactivation, all sites will still work.
Some of the added features of MultilingualPress Pro:
- Support for custom post types.
- Automatically redirect to the user’s preferred language version of a post.
- Edit all translations for a post from the original post editor without the need to switch sites.
- Duplicate sites. Use one site as template for new site, copy everything: Posts, attachments, settings for plugins and themes, navigation menus, categories, tags and custom taxonomies.
- and much more…
Polylang allows you to create a bilingual or multilingual WordPress site. You write posts, pages and create categories and post tags as usual, and then define the language for each of them.
The translation of a post, whether it is in the default language or not, is optional. The translation has to be done by the site editor as Polylang does not integrate any automatic or professional translation service.
Here is a quick overview of the features on offer for Polylang:
- You can use as many languages as you want. RTL language scripts are supported. WordPress language packs are automatically downloaded and updated.
- You can translate posts, pages, media, categories, post tags, menus, widgets, etc.
- Custom post types, custom taxonomies, sticky posts and post formats, RSS feeds and all default WordPress widgets are supported.
- The language is either set by the content or by the language code in the URL, or you can use one different subdomain or domain per language.
- Categories, post tags as well as some other metas are automatically copied when adding a new post or page translation.
- A customizable language switcher is provided as a widget or in the nav menu.
- The admin interface is multilingual too and each user can set the WordPress admin language in his/her profile.
Transposh translation filter for WordPress offers a unique approach to blog translation. It allows your blog to combine automatic translation with human translation aided by your users with an easy to use in-context interface.
It offers a number of features, all of which can be seen below:
- Support for any language – including RTL/LTR layouts.
- Unique drag & drop interface for choosing viewable/translatable languages.
- Multiple options for widget appearances – with pluggable widgets and multiple instances.
- Translation of external plugins without a need for .po/.mo files.
- Automatic translation mode for all content (including comments)
- Professional translation by One Hour Translation.
- Use either Google Translate, MS Translate or Apertium backends – 92 languages supported in all.
- Automatic translation can be triggered on demand by the readers or on the server side.
- RSS feeds are translated too.
- Takes care of hidden elements, link tags, meta contents and titles.
- Translated languages are searchable.
- BuddyPress integration.
At the moment of updating this post there was an issue with WordPress.org, so the latest update of Transposh can be downloaded from their site.
This plugin is a descendant of qTranslate. While the back-end database framework is left almost intact, the design of editors is drastically changed and improved to be much less vulnerable to WP updates.
Instead of seeing multiple lines per each language for title, qTranslate-X provides language switching buttons, which once pressed, change all the text fields to be filled with the language chosen. The instant language change happens locally in your browser without sending an additional request to the server.
Here is a quick overview of some of the free version features:
- One-click local switching between the languages – Changing the language as easy as switching between Visual and HTML.
- Language customizations without changing the .mo files – It stores all the translations in the same post fields, while it shows it to the user for editing one by one depending on the language to edit chosen.
- Multilingual dates out of the box – translates dates and times for you.
- Theme custom fields can be configured to be translatable too.
- Comes with a number of languages already built-in – English, German, Simplified Chinese, for example, and many more.
- Choose one of 3 Modes to make your URLs look pretty and SEO-friendly. – The simple and beautiful /en/foo/, or nice and neat en.yoursite.com, and everywhere compatible ?lang=en.
- One language for each URL – Users and SEO will thank you for not mixing multilingual content.
- Supports unlimited number of languages, which can be easily added/modified/deleted via a comfortable Configuration Page.
- Custom CSS for “qTranslate Language Chooser” widget configurable via its properties.
- Menu item “Language Switcher” to enable language choosing from a menu.
- Use Google XML Sitemaps v3 for qTranslate plugin to rebuild your XML sitemap for better SEO support.
These plugins are quite powerful in handling the language compatibility of the users. All blogs and websites are directly related with these plugins. However, the eCommerce platforms with WordPress will be experiencing the best advantages of these plugins.
And if you’re looking for web hosting services for your websites, check out SiteGround, who provide fully managed WordPress services and have a 24/7 multi-lingual support, that includes WP themes and plugins assistance.
UPDATE: This post was updated in June 2015. Some plugins were removed due to not being updated for over a year, while others were added to the list.