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?
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.
Best Language Translation Plugins for WordPress
- Lingotek Translation
- Google Language Translator
- Google Website Translator
- Loco Translate
Price: Free, multiple tiered pricing plans starting at $120/year
With more than 100 translation languages available, Weglot Translate is a lightweight 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.
Compatible with virtually any website technology and with more than 50,000 businesses using the plugin, there’s a lot to like about Weglot. The free trial offers 1 language and 2,000 words so you can see for yourself how the plugin words — plans then range from 10,000 to 1,000,000 words per year and up to 10 translated languages.
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.
This open-source plugin supports as many languages as your site requires and also supports custom taxonomies, sticky posts and RSS feeds. It can also be combined with the next plugin on our list, Lingotek Translation, to enable automatic language translation.
Price: Not listed online — call or email for sales pricing
With Lingotek Translation, you have three choices for translating your content:
- Machine Translation - Uses the Microsoft Translation tool to generate content in your desired language and is free for the first 100,000 characters.
- Community Translation - Translations have to be self-made via the text editor built into the plugin’s workbench.
- Professional Translation - Requires you to invest some money and hire Lingotek’s experienced personnel to take care of the job.
This flexibility makes it a great option for those who want to start simple but grow into more complex language implementations. Leveraging a cloud-based translation and localization process makes it possible for Lingotek to quickly and accurately translate your content with help from more than 5,000 in-country translators, and the plugin works alongside Polylang to help make your site truly multilingual.
Worth noting? The plugin doesn’t list any of its pricing online — you’ll need to contact the company via phone or email to discuss pricing options.
Price: Free, multiple tiered pricing plans starting at $7.99/month
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.
According to its WordPress download page, this plugin now powers more than 500,000 multilingual sites worldwide and provides automatic Google analytics integration, the option to hide Google top frames, and the “suggest better translation” pop-up and also includes support for multilingual SEO to help improve your site rankings worldwide.
While the free version of this plugin offers support for all languages along with machine translation for unlimited words, you’ll need a paid plan to access translation editing or multilingual SEO.
Price: $50 one-time fee
This plugin lets you translate your webpage into more than 100 languages and features a simple setup process that makes it easy to get up and running. By storing all settings in a single database record, Google Website Translator has virtually no impact on page loads, making it a great fit for complex or content-heavy sites.
There’s no free version of the plugin, but a $50 one-time payment provides permanent access to all features.
With Babble, all you have to do is get a new language pack, install Babble, enable your new language, and translate. Once it's done, it tells your translators that it's ready for their attention.
From there, Babble displays two versions of the WordPress visual editor: one with the original content and the other with everything a translator needs before going live.
Babble is designed to be compatible with all core WordPress functions, lets you run your website in any language you want, and has an active open source community supporting further development. Babble’s official site highlights its performance, noting that it’s capable of generating pages up to 20% faster than leading premium plugins.
Price: Tiered pricing plans starting at $29 per year
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.
WPML was designed to be powerful enough for substantive corporate sites and simple enough for smaller business blogs. Described as complete, compatible, and dependable, this plugin lets you translate any part of your site — from pages to posts to menus and taxonomy — and is compatible with any plugin using WordPress API and provides full user support.
Price: Multiple pricing tiers, starting at $99/year
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.
The newest version of MultilingualPress offers support for the Advanced Custom Fields plugin, and it’s also optimized for WooCommerce. In addition, this translation plugin provides complete page builder compatibility with popular tools such as Beaver Builder and Elementor.
$99/year gets you 3 languages and 1 website for translation, while the $299/year plan provides support for 6 languages and 3 sites.
Price: Free, multiple pricing tiers starting at $5.95/month
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.
The plugin acts as a built-in translation editor for WordPress admin, and also offers integration with translation APIs including DeepL, Microsoft, Yandex, and Google.
In addition, Loco supports a variety of keyboard shortcuts to help streamline translations across your WordPress site. Worth noting? While the basic version is free, it only includes 2,000 translations. Upgrading to Pro gets you 5,000 translations, Business nets 25,000 and Agency offers 125,000.
Price: Multiple tiered pricing plans, starting at $96/year
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 metadata with its SEO pack, add language switchers with a simple shortcode, and translate dynamic gettext added by WordPress and your other plugins and themes.
TranslatePress currently has more than 100,000 active installations and is regularly updated by its developer community. The plugin makes it possible to translate your entire page at once, and since it’s a self-hosted service your translations stay with you rather than being stored off-site where they could be moved or deleted. One potential drawback? There is no free version of TranslatePress.
Price: Free, multiple pricing tiers starting at $7.99/ month
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.
With support for 103 languages and full SEO compatibility for paid versions of the plugin, GTranslate is a great choice if you’re looking to monetize your site by reaching the biggest audience worldwide. It’s also fast — by handling translations in the cloud, there’s virtually no impact to your site’s performance.
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 17, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated June 17 2021