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The Best Translation Plugins to Make Your WordPress Site Multilingual

  Introduction
Offering your WordPress content in multiple languages is a smart move. You can do this via manual translation, or you can speed up the process using machine translation. Let's talk about the pros and cons of both approaches, and then explore some of the best WordPress translation plugins out there!
WP Mayor is supported by its audience. Our recommendations are based on our experts’ research and hands-on testing. If you purchase through a link on our website, we may earn a commission. Here’s why you can trust us.
 Table of contents
A globe of the world.

Translating your WordPress site into multiple languages is an excellent way to reach a wider audience. However, it can seem like an intimidating prospect, particularly if you don’t have a multilingual team to rely on. What’s more, the various options available can be confusing.

Ultimately, there are two main approaches you can take. You can have your site translated manually – i.e., by a human – or you can use machine translation to speed up the process. Both options have their pros and cons, which you’ll want to understand before making a decision.

In this post, we’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of opting for human or machine translation. Then, we’ll introduce a number of free and premium plugins that can help you make your WordPress site multilingual. Let’s get started!

The Pros and Cons of Translating Your Website Manually

Before you can make your site multilingual, you have a choice to make. Will you have it translated manually, or will you rely on machine translation?

The primary advantage of translating your site manually is that you’re better able to ensure total accuracy. With a human translating each page, you can avoid the kinds of mistakes that occur when a program tries to handle something as subjective as language.

However, manual translation does come with a few drawbacks:

  • The accuracy of your translations will rely on the person or people doing the job.
  • Manual translation can be expensive. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the cost, but it’s likely to have a significant impact on your budget.
  • This method of translation also takes longer to complete. Depending on the size of your site, it may take weeks to get the job done.

That’s not to say manual translation is never the right choice for your WordPress site. If you have the time and money to spare, it may be worth the effort. It’s also a solid option if you speak a few languages yourself, or have people on your team who are multilingual. Otherwise, you’ll need to do some research and hire a translator (Upwork is a good place to start).

A Primer on Machine Translation for Your WordPress Site

If the inconvenience or cost of manual translation gives you pause, there’s another option. You can use machine translation to speed up and simplify the process.

Anyone who’s ever used Google Translate has experienced machine translation at work. It simply refers to any program that’s designed to ‘read’ content in one language, and automatically translate it into another:

An example of Google Translate.

When it comes to WordPress, machine translation is almost always accomplished via a dedicated plugin. There are a lot of options available, and we’ll look at several of the best shortly. The benefits of machine translation include:

  • It’s a much quicker process – you can translate your entire website in just minutes.
  • With the right tool, you’ll be able to translate all parts of your site automatically.
  • You can save a lot of money. Many translation plugins are free, and premium tools are still much cheaper than hiring a translator.

The downside to this approach is that machines usually aren’t as accurate as human translators. However, most WordPress translation plugins enable you to review translations after they’re generated, in order to correct any mistakes. You can even hire a freelancer to go over the machine translations – this is still much cheaper than having someone do the entire job from scratch.

7 of the Best Translation Plugins to Make Your WordPress Site Multilingual

If you’re interested in using machine translation to make your site multilingual, all you need is the right plugin. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of choices. You’ll also need to consider whether to opt for a free or premium tool – the former are more budget-friendly, while the latter often provide more features.

To illustrate the point, let’s check out 7 of the top translation plugins for WordPress. We’ll look at both ‘freemium’ and fully-premium options, and talk about what each has to offer. Let’s jump right in!

1. WPML

The WPML plugin.

A plugin that we have recommended for many years, WPML is one of the most popular machine translation plugins available. As a premium-only tool, it offers a full selection of features to make translating your site quick and simple. Plus, it’s scalable enough to be useful on both small personal websites and large business or e-commerce sites.

Key features:

  • Enables you to translate posts, pages, custom post types and taxonomies, categories and tags, and menus
  • Offers more than 40 languages
  • Provides access to a language editor where you can manage translations
  • Lets you also translate custom fields, widgets, and admin text (higher-tier plans only)
  • Supports multilingual e-commerce, as well as page builders (higher-tier plans only)

Price: Licenses start at $29, with higher tiers available

2. Weglot Translate

The Weglot Translate plugin.

Weglot Translate is a popular machine translation tool that’s both powerful and simple to use. It provides you with a dashboard where you can easily see and work with all your site’s translations. Plus, you can also purchase professional translations through the Weglot platform.

Key features (free version):

  • Offers more than 60 translation languages
  • Translates plugin and theme content, along with the rest of your site
  • Provides built-in multilingual SEO

Key features (premium version):

  • Lets you translate more words on your site, and into multiple languages
  • Redirects visitors to their preferred languages
  • Supports WordPress Multisite, and provides statistics on your translated pages (higher-tier plans only)

Price: Free version available, premium plans start at €8.25 per month

3. Translate WordPress with GTranslate

The Translate WordPress with GTranslate plugin.

We already mentioned Google Translate – a service that enables you to access translations right through the search engine. Translate WordPress with GTranslate uses the Google translation service to make your WordPress site multilingual.

Key features (free version):

  • Automatically translates posts, pages, categories and tags, menus, widgets, and even theme and plugin content
  • Detects a visitor’s browser language, and switches your site’s language to match
  • Integrates with Google Analytics

Key features (premium version):

Price: Free version available, premium plans start at $5.99 per month

4. TranslatePress

The TranslatePress plugin.

Some WordPress translation plugins are good at translating posts and pages, but falter when it comes to other kinds of content. However, TranslatePress enables you to affect all text on a page, and provides a visual, user-friendly interface for managing your translations.

Key features (free version):

  • Translates pages and posts, the output from shortcodes, forms, and page builders, and content added via themes and plugins
  • Provides a live preview of translated pages
  • Lets you edit your translations, and supports manual translation

Key features (premium version):

  • Enables you to add unlimited languages to your site
  • Translates meta information for improved multilingual SEO
  • Provides access to various add-ons (higher-tier plans only)

Price: Free version available, premium plans start at $79 per year.

5. Polylang

The Polylang plugin.

Sometimes, you don’t want an overly-complicated tool that will clutter up your site with unnecessary options. Polylang is a simple, streamlined translation plugin that has a minimal impact on your site, yet still provides all the basic features needed to make your content multilingual.

Key features (free version):

  • Translates posts and pages, media, categories and tags, menus, and widgets
  • Supports custom post types and taxonomies
  • Lets you translate your site into as many languages as needed

Key features (premium version):

  • Translates URL slugs
  • Lets you enable or disable specific languages
  • Provides support for the REST API, and integration with various third-party plugins

Price: Free version available, premium plans start at 99€ per year

6. Translate WordPress with ConveyThis Translate

The Translate WordPress with ConveyThis Translate plugin.

Much like the first plugin on this list, Translate WordPress with ConveyThis Translate connects your site up to a popular third-party translation service. In this case, that service is ConveyThis. While the base solution isn’t platform-specific, this plugin enables you to seamlessly integrate it with WordPress.

Key features (free version):

  • Automatically translates site content, attributes, meta data, and URLs
  • Enables you to edit your translations
  • Provides a single interface where you can manage all your translations

Key features (premium version):

  • Provides access to professional translators you can hire
  • Enables you to translate your site into more than one additional language
  • Redirects visitors to the correct language based on their browser settings (higher-tier plans only)

Price: Free version available, premium plans start at $4.99 per month

7. Ajax Translator Revolution DropDown WP Plugin

The Ajax Translator Revolution DropDown WP Plugin.

While all the plugins on our list so far have been ‘freemium’, these last two are premium-only. The first, Ajax Translator Revolution DropDown WP Plugin, is a solid choice if you want to make sure that every single element on your site is translated properly.

Key features:

  • Translates all content on your site, including elements added via themes and plugins
  • Provides an easy-to-use dashboard for managing your translations
  • Enables you to edit translated content
  • Includes import and export functionality
  • Supports 103 languages

Price: A single-site license for this plugin costs $26.

Conclusion

There are a lot of reasons to translate your WordPress website. It provides you with access to a larger audience, makes your site more accessible, and can even improve traffic and conversions. However, it can be a tough task without the right tools.

If you have the time and budget to spare, you can hire a translator to make your site multilingual. Alternately, you can use one of the plugins introduced above to translate your site quickly and cheaply. Most let you edit your translations, and some even enable you to work alongside professionals, which means you can take advantage of the benefits of both manual and machine translation.

Have you used any of the translation plugins we’ve talked about? Share your experiences with them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pxhere.

Will Morris
Will Morris
Will Morris is a staff writer at WordCandy. When he's not writing about WordPress, he likes to gig his stand-up comedy routine on the local circuit.
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