In a study by W3Techs, English was found to be the language used by 59.6% of websites surveyed, making it the most prominent language on the web by far. However, is English the language your audience uses to search or consume content with?
If your business is global or international, having a monolingual site may be slowing your penetration into key markets. On the other hand, creating brand-new content for additional languages can be arduous and time-consuming.
If you're on WordPress, one solution is to use a translation plugin to make the process easier.
With more than 100 translation languages available, Weglot Translate is a light-weight plugin that offers automatic translations and access to professional translators if needed. You're able to manage translated content from a single dashboard, and it includes the ability to make edits. The best part? It can even handle your WooCommerce product pages and checkout workflow.
Polylang is a free WordPress self-translation language plugin where you choose your preferred option from your profile and automatically download the corresponding language pack. It adds a widget in the nav menu for switching between languages, and it has the ability to separate versions of your site onto subdomains for each language.
While not an official Google plugin, Google Language Translator enables you to use translations directly from Google Translate onto your site. You can take advantage of the more than 80 languages Google Translate supports, and the plugin provides visitors with a way to switch language views.
The plugin can tackle both the multilingual management and the translation process itself. WPML gives you a choice of translations placed on either the same domain, a subdomain, or a wholly different domain.
Some features of the plugin include multilingual e-commerce support, translation widgets, and synchronization with ICanLocalize and cloud services for auto-translations. It quickly sends the content to your preferred translation tool and efficiently puts high-quality translated materials at your disposal.
The MultilingualPress plugin assumes that you are providing different languages to your clients using the WordPress Multisite functionality. It then allows you to connect your autonomously translated versions of the website.
One noticeable feature of this plugin is its robust fault tolerance to prevent data loss. Connected posts won’t disappear if a previous version is deleted. The translated pages will also be secured if they are handled one at a time. This saves you from needing to retranslate should accidental deletions happen.
Loco Translate is unique in that it will work with any automatic translation tool you use due to its built-in API. You can also update language files from the plugin, theme, or even browser. It can also extract strings and generate templates, making the plugin particularly handy for developers.
With this plugin, translations are displayed in real-time, and there's support for both manual and automatic translation methods. It's compatible with Gutenberg blocks, shortcodes, WooCommerce, and most themes. You'll also be able to translate meta data with its SEO pack, add language switchers with a simple shortcode, and translate dynamic gettext added by WordPress and your other plugins and themes.
GTranslate also uses Google Translate features but hides some of the unwanted displays that come with the API. It will auto-switch to the correct language based on the visitor's browser settings, and you can customize based on your preferences even down to alternate flag icons.
All of these plugins serve the bigger purpose of helping your WordPress site connect with more users. Once implemented, you're on your way to having your message heard — regardless of language.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Jun 3, 2020 12:20:00 PM, updated March 29 2021