The Best WordPress Multilingual Plugin, WPML

One of the questions we get asked most here at WPMayor is how to build a WordPress multilingual website.

Turns out it’s quite straightforward if you have the right WordPress multilingual plugin on your side. Enter WPML. Although having a multilingual website is such an important requirement nowadays, there aren’t many WordPress multilingual plugins that are up to the job. Maybe this is because the WPML came in early and built up such a momentum that it was hard for anyone else to create a better plugin. After all, as we discovered in a recent interview with Amir Helzer, the WPML team consists of 15 people.

I don’t know of any other plugin which has so many people behind it providing dedicated support and constant evolution. To be fair, there is also a free plugin called qTranslate. However with a price of $79 and dedicated support, I would struggle for a valid reason not to go for a tried and trusted plugin with great support to boot, especially if it’s your first time building a multilingual WordPress site.

There is also a more limited version of WPML available at $29, but the higher end version is the best deal in my opinion. The great thing is that you can use the plugin on an unlimited number of sites, so when you work that out WPML is dead cheap. Ok, so how do we build a Multilingual site with WPML?

1. Download and install the plugin

Head over to the WPML site and purchase the Multilingual CMS plugin, you will get a download link. I recommend the Multilingual CMS version over the Multilingual blog version, because it has some essential features which you don’t want to be without. Then just upload the plugin and activate it as you do with any other WordPress plugin. Once you activate it you will also be asked to set up the plugin with a few steps using a wizard. The most important option is that of setting a base language e.g. English, and the additional languages you will have on your site.

2. Activate the Language Switcher Widget

How will users switch to other languages? Easy, WPML installs a new widget for you called a ‘language switcher’, which is basically a dropdown for language selection. It can be inserted in any of your widget-enabled areas on the site, else directly in the theme through the user of code.

3. Add Translated Content

It’s time to add your translated content through the WordPress multilingual plugin WPML. Within each post or page you will have the option to add the content in the other languages you selected during plugin setup. This is really neat and manageable, I think it’s the best way to manage multilingual content, much better than having to add a new post or page in another language, which can quickly get messy. The nice thing about WPML is that it is actually supported by a translation company called ICanLocalize.

Therefore you can easily get your content translated to languages you might not have expertise in, and the process is seamless. Through the plugin interface itself you can actually get an instant quote for your translation needs, as well as check out the translators eligible for the job, and choose the best ones.

There are more than 1000 translators working with the company, translating between over 30 languages, so you’re spoilt for choice. Hopefully this has served as a a quick start tutorial for getting you up and going with WordPress multilingual plugin WPML. If you’re still not sure whether you should purchase WPML, you might want to check out our comparison between WPML and qtranslate.

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Jean Galea
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.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for this, I’ve tried out WPML on a recent project and the client was really happy with the implementation. Will be buying a developer licence and use it for all future clients who want a multilanguage website.

  2. Excellent overview. I stumbled upon WPML about a year ago and have been using it with success ever since. It really makes life easy for blog owners trying to deliver content to audiences in different countries or regions, and saves you from having to duplicate your entire website on a different directory to reach these communities.

    1. Thanks Maverick, WPML is the plugin that is pushing the most boundaries when it comes to multilanguage WordPress. The new WooCommerce features are definitely going to be a big hit amongst people who are selling products online with that platform.

  3. Hey Jean – What are the primary difference between qTranslate and the WPML plugin? Would you recommend starting with qTranslate to see if it will meet my needs? I’m not too good with the technical-side of my site but I need something relatively easy to use to make a Portuguese version of my pages.

    Thanks!

    1. They work differently, the lowdown is that WPML has many more features and a complete team behind it, so you get lots of support if you need it, that might be an important factor since you are not a technical person. Since it doesn’t cost too much I’d go with WPML.

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