WordPress originally supported single language at a time. The user base and applications of this platform increased manifold over time. Thankfully the WordPress community pointed out that single language is a big barrier against achieving maximum potential and sustained user experience. So they developed plugins and extensions that translates the content of WP websites into multiple languages. A great convenience for all of us, right?
Why Multiple Language Support is Even More Necessary Now
In many cases multi-language support is not just essential, it is a must. Suppose, you are a residential hotel owner in a city that is frequented by a lot of tourists from all over the world. Isn’t it obvious that many of them will not be competent in English or your native language? Google translate may offer the website visitors wee bit of help in this case. But isn’t it your duty to give them a great user experience?
Let me sum up the powerful reasons why you need multi-language support in your website:
- When you have a customer base spread across many countries. One example can be if you have a online store for downloadable products. You have uploaded audio tracks and e-books of more than 12 languages there. Now, in order to attract relevant traffic to your website, you need to make sure the contents are translated into those languages.
- You maybe creating a website for a region / country where the people uses multiple languages to communicate. For instance you can consider countries like Canada, Switzerland or India. Unless you offer multi-language support, your website is less likely to have expected traction and business outcomes.
- Search engine is a dominant way to gain traffic. The number of search engines are on the rise and these are becoming more regional by nature. So if your website has been built on a single language only, you miss out the opportunity to flourish your website.
How to Make Multilingual WordPress Website
The most popular and optimized way of making multilingual WordPress website is to use multi-language plugins. These plugins might function in different ways. Some of these use language files to perform translations for each post. Some other plugins lets the user create translated editions in different languages manually. Another way is to integrate the website with external translation service providers like Google translate. Or there are ways to create multi sites in different language on the same domain.
The plugins can have different internal process to give you the end result. However, you should keep certain factors in mind while deciding an option:
- Nature of Translation- Manual or machine driven?
- Size- Volume of contents you need to translate. Also, how dynamic are the contents?
- User Experience- Will translations have a negative impact on the user experience (i.e- loss of speed)?
- Budget- Premium plugin or a free version?
- Support- Would you like to have continuous support?
Reliable Multilingual WordPress Plugin for Your Website
In this section, we are going to inform you about some top notch multilingual plugins available out there. We will discuss about its work process, prices, other advanced features and so on. You can expect to get a fair idea about if the plugin is suitable for your website.
WPML is probably the most popular multi-language translation plugin right now. Remember the one post per language translation module we have mentioned before? This plugin follows that process and allows you to translate all the texts within your theme . After installing the plugin in your WordPress backend, you can select from over 40 languages and add new variations. You can also store multiple language contents in the same domain under different directories, in sub-domains, or in different domains. And you don’t need to worry about compatibility- WPML can be used with almost any WP theme.
However, you should keep in mind that WPML is not a free plugin. It has three different pricing packages for the customers. These are briefly mentioned here-
a) Multilingual Blog for $29 for the first year. It will translate posts, pages, custom types, tags, categories, custom taxonomy, and menus. It includes standard translation controls and browser language detection.
b) Multilingual CMS for $79 for the first year. It adds translation of custom fields, e-commerce support, translation of widgets, texts in theme and plugins, manage attachments in different languages, multi-user translation management, XLIFF interface, CMS navigation, and sticky links.
c) Multilingual CMS Lifetime for $195. It is a lifetime membership and never needs renewing.
Polylang is a free alternative to WPML that has become extremely popular among users. Apart from the fact that Polylang is free, its best part is that the plugin is pretty straightforward to use and the admin panel is neater than most of its counterparts.
However, you should keep in mind that Polylang does not provide automated translation; you need to manually translate it in one way or another. Polylang has a customizable language switcher for the users. In case the customization is not compatible with a theme, you can access the support forum for the codes you need.
Users have the option to flag the content for translation. It is a great thing to have, specially if you do not want to get everything translated.
QTranslate X is the latest version of QTranslate, a once popular plugin that was discontinued back in 2014. The best part of this plugin is that it is free and it has made localization easier for the users. You will find buttons while creating any post for different languages- therefore you will not need to interchange the language versions repeatedly. It has become editing process easier and less time consuming for the users.
23 language supports are offered by default, but you have the flexibility to add as many as you want. Also, you can set different date and time format for the languages you are providing. For now, it does not offer any translation services but the authors of this plugin will consider adding that in future if there is a high demand for it.
What Makes These Three Stand Out
Well, one thing is for sure. Creating multi sites for different languages or integrating with Google’s translation service are not optimal strategies. It creates more work for you and adds up a burden to maintain these sites on continuous basis. More often than not, users are dissatisfied with the quality of google’s automated translation.
Keeping these two observations in mind, we suggested you to use the aforementioned multilingual plugins. Their modules have been designed in such a way that it ensures a good user experience and high quality translation. However, you should keep exploring to find the one which would best serve your purpose.
At weDevs, we are committed to ensure greater convenience to our users. As a part of this effort, we always provide multi-language support for all our plugins and extensions. 🙂
Which plugin are you using? So far how is your experience with it? Comment below to share your opinion with us!