Do you want to automatically translate your WordPress site into other languages?
There are different ways to translate your WordPress site: you can do manual translations yourself, hire translators, or use AI-based translation tools that have improved over the years.
In this article, we will show you how to automatically translate WordPress using machine learning (the easy method).
Benefits of Translating Your WordPress Website
The Internet and the World Wide Web were invented in English-speaking countries. The first websites and the first website were quickly developed and adopted by English-speaking countries.
But the world speaks more than 7,000 languages and English is just one of them.
Depending on where you look, statistics show that English is only the primary language of about 25% of internet users. Other important languages used online are Chinese (19.4%), Spanish (7.9%), Arabic (5.2%), and Indonesian / Malay (4.3%).
If your website is only targeting English speakers, you may be missing out on a large potential audience. Whether your motivation is business, educational, or otherwise, much of the world is excluded from your content.
This is reason enough to want to translate WordPress.
There are also other reasons why you might want to translate your website.
- Boost your SEO traffic
- Improved user experience
- Better conversions
Boost SEO traffic
No matter what type of website you operate, a boost to your SEO is a universal benefit. The translated pages of your site will be crawled in the same way as your English pages, but they will be considered independent and will be used in the search results in the local language.
For example, if this page were translated into Chinese and Spanish, it would rank in search engines for “translate WordPress”. It would also rank for “翻译 WordPress” (Simplified Chinese) and “Translate WordPress” (Spanish).
The term “translate WordPress” is competitive in English but not as competitive in Chinese or Spanish. The inclusion of translated content means that the site is suddenly competing in markets where it has a much better chance of dominating SEO.
Improved user experience
As a native English speaker, I tend to take the internet for granted. Most of the websites I visit are in my language and I rarely think twice. It is only when I write articles like this that I consider the rest of the world and how they have to adapt to the internet rather than the internet adapting to it.
Translate your WordPress site and it doesn’t have to happen. Visitors who speak other languages will feel included and will likely reward your attention with more frequent visits and perhaps a conversion.
Conversion is turning a website visitor into a customer. If that visitor speaks English as a second language, many traditional conversion techniques are less effective because they are optimized for English speakers.
Translating content into local languages with these conversion messages can only help you convert more.
Why Automatically Translate Your WordPress Site?
Automatic translation of your WordPress site makes it easy for you to deliver content in your users’ languages.
Whereas manual translation of your site takes time. You can create a multilingual WordPress website and pay translators to help you with translations, but your costs will increase as you add more languages or hire more translators.
Machine translation for your site is fast and affordable. You can translate some important pages or translate your entire site.
The quality of the translation may not be as good as that of manual translations. However, AI-based tools have improved a lot and can provide a faster and more cost-effective alternative.
With that said, let’s take a look at how to easily set up machine translation on a WordPress site.
How to Decide Which Languages to Translate Your Site Into?
If you are looking to broaden the appeal of your website, you may need to think about the exact languages to translate WordPress into.
You live in a country that speaks several languages
If you live in a multi-lingual country, the languages you choose are likely to be local. Eventually you could expand these languages, but you probably want to cover your local market first.
Google Ads Keyword Planner Traffic Sources
If you are looking for a wider audience, you can use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify languages with low competition for keyword terms.
In the example we used above, we already know that some English keyword terms can be very competitive. Translating them into different languages can allow you to compete much more effectively.
You can also use Google Analytics to identify where your visitors are coming from and target them. You can use the “Geo” reports in the Audience section of Google Analytics to identify where visitors are coming from.
- Login to Google Analytics
- Select Public from the menu on the left.
- Select Geo and location
If you receive international visitors, you can identify them from the data provided there.
Choosing a Solution for Translating Your WordPress Site
WordPress itself is translated into over 200 languages. This means that you can configure WordPress to have the backend in your native language. But what about the rest?
You should also translate your content into the language (s) of your choice so that your visitors can read in their native language as well.
You have several options if you want to translate WordPress.
- You can use machine translation tools like Google Translate, Linguee or Yandex Translate.
- You can use human translators. Professionals who speak your language and another language to such an extent that they can translate with precision.
- You can use a WordPress plugin like TranslatePress, Polylang, or GTranslate.
- Machine translation tools are fast and inexpensive, but notoriously imprecise.
Human translators are the most accurate, but they are more expensive and slower than machine translation.
Using a WordPress plugin can make your life easier, but it always comes with its own complications.
Most WordPress plugins will require you to create separate pages for each language, by hand. Even if you use a page builder, it’s a lot of work!
Or you can use a combination of machine translation, manual translation, and a specific WordPress plugin that doesn’t require as much work.
Use a Plugin to Translate WordPress
For speed, efficiency, and ease of use, we recommend using a plugin called TranslatePress to help translate WordPress. Use a simple drag-and-drop page editor to help create translated pages.
So while you still have to create them manually, it’s a matter of minutes rather than hours of work.
The plugin can provide translations on demand or by detecting the language used in the visitor’s browser.
We consider this to be the most efficient option by far.
What to translate in WordPress?
Before moving on to actual translation, what exactly do you need to translate on your website?
We suggest that you translate the main site content, SEO metadata, URLs, and all relevant images.
Translated content is at the core of this exercise because we want to expand the appeal of a website. Try to translate as many pages and posts as possible.
If you also operate a WooCommerce store, you need to translate all of your store pages as well.
Translated SEO metadata is also important because you want your newly translated content to be indexed and ranked. Metadata is essential for this.
If you follow SEO guidelines and have keywords in your URLs and use “/% postname% /” in WordPress, you will need to translate the URLs to accurately reflect the translated keywords and post titles.
You can find your URL parameters in the WordPress dashboard under Settings> Permalinks.
If your images contain text or words, you should replace them with localized versions to avoid confusion. Be aware of the local culture regarding the use of images and image subjects.
Finally, don’t forget to edit the alt text of the image to maximize your SEO gain.
How to Translate WordPress Site Visually Using TranslatePress?
While there are many translation plugins out there, we love TranslatePress. It works slightly differently from most translation plugins. Rather than creating the same article over and over again in each language, TranslatePress uses a live editor to help you translate your content.
Let’s go through the whole process of translating a WordPress website. We will create a site from scratch, install the plugin and configure everything to be ready for translation. As we will also cover the translation of WooCommerce products, we will also cover your store setup.
You will need:
- A fully functional WordPress site
- WooCommerce installed (optional)
- Translated content (we may translate some automatically, but we recommend that human translators translate more complex content)
- A little time and patience
Setting up Your Website and Store
We won’t go into WordPress and host settings like we’ve already done here. However, we will cover the other fundamentals of a website.
- Connect to your WordPress installation
- Select Appearance, Themes and Add New
- Select Astra and install the theme
- Select Enable when option is available
- Select a theme from the range of excellent options. We installed Brandstore because it includes everything you need to run a website and store.
- Select Add-ons and Add New from the menu on the left.
- Type “woo” in the search box at the top right.
- Select WooCommerce and install it now
- Select Activate once option is available
We go into much more detail on how to set up a WooCommerce store in this article, so we will not repeat here.
Our final preparation is to install and configure TranslatePress.
- Select Plugins and Add New from the menu on the left of your WordPress dashboard.
- Type “TranslatePress” in the search box at the top right
- Select TranslatePress and install it now.
- Select Activate once the option is available
You should now see a new entry called TranslatePress in the Settings menu of your WordPress dashboard.
Before continuing, we must add our license key to use the full power of TranslatePress.
The free version allows you to translate only one language. To offer multiple languages, you will need to use the premium version of the plugin.
- Select TranslatePress in the WordPress dashboard and select the Plugins tab at the top.
- Select the Multiple Languages option and you will be directed to the TranslatePress website where you can sign up for a premium account.
- Once done, enter the license key that was provided to you in the license tab of the WordPress TranslatePress page.
Setting up TranslatePress
Now that we have a website, WordPress theme, WooCommerce, and TranslatePress installed, we can continue to configure how everything works.
- Select Settings and TranslatePress from the menu on the left of your WordPress dashboard
- Select the default language you want your site to use.
- Select the languages you want to translate to from All languages.
You can leave the other settings at their defaults if you like as they all work fine. You may want to check the language change rate to make sure it’s right for your needs, but we’ll talk more about that in a moment.
- Select the Automatic Translation tab
- Select Yes by activating automatic translation
- Select Google Translate or DeepL. We suggest you use Google Translate as DeepL requires the premium version of TranslatePress, but it is completely up to you.
- Select the link under the Google Translate API key to buy a key. Enter it in the box when done
- Select the blue Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.
Selecting a URL Structure
If you are not already using the /% postname% / URL structure, you should do so now. Just keep in mind that if you have an established website, more work will be needed to make sure all the links work normally afterwards.
- Select Settings and Permalinks from the menu on the left of your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the publication name in the common settings section. Otherwise, please enter “/% postname% /” in Custom Structure box as they are the same
- Select Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
Adding and Customizing a WordPress Language Switcher
The WordPress language switcher setting is configured automatically, but you can change it if you want.
- Select Settings and TranslatePress in the WordPress dashboard to access the settings menu
- Search for Language Switcher and check your options
- Select your preferred display option and configure
- Select the blue Save Changes button when done
- You have several options to choose from. There is no better option here, only the one that you like the most or that fits into the design of your website.
Visual translation of your site content
The really smart part of TranslatePress is the visual translator. If you are familiar with the visual editor of WordPress, this tool will be easy to use.
- Select the blue Translate Site tab on the WordPress TranslatePress options page. A new page will open with your website’s home page in a visual editor style window.
- Instead of the style options on the left panel, you will see translation options.
- Select a content item in the right pane to translate it
- Paste the translated content in the box below. For our example above, we set Spanish as the translated language. Therefore, we would paste our translated content into the box under “To Spanish”.
- Repeat the above process for each content on the page.
- Select Save translation when done.
- Repeat for each post and page on your website that you want to translate.
Translation of different elements: menu items, images, forms, sliders and pop-ups
You can use the exact same process as above to translate anything on the page using TranslatePress. This is why we love it so much!
You’ll notice on the translation site page that you can select from menus, sidebar items, images, and whatever else you see and interact with. Perform the same steps above for all of these to provide the most seamless experience for your visitors.
Translate the most important SEO elements of a page
TranslatePress covers the essentials of the page you want to translate, but for maximum SEO coverage you can explore the TranslatePress SEO Pack.
TranslatePress SEO Pack will help you translate URL slugs, page titles, page descriptions, image alt tags, and all social media titles and descriptions. Everything you need to cover the widest possible audience.
The TranslatePress SEO Pack plugin is part of the premium plan that you will need if you want to add multiple languages and DeepL translations. It’s worth checking out if you pass by.
Creating a multilingual XML sitemap with the TranslatePress SEO package
An important benefit of using the TranslatePress SEO Pack is the ability to create multilingual sitemaps. This is the easiest way we know of to create individual sitemaps for each translated language.
As you probably already know, a sitemap is what search engines use to know where to go when crawling your website. It is a fundamental part of SEO and should be part of your multilingual SEO strategy as well.
As you can see, while there is a lot going on in WordPress translation, it doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. The hardest part is acquiring the translated text so that you can use it.
By following our recommendation on combining machine translation with professionally translated content and final review by a human translator, you can deliver a high-quality international website at a relatively low cost.
If you could significantly increase your potential audience, we think it’s a worthwhile investment!
Have you used TranslatePress? Do you have any advice for users? Tell us your ideas below!
How do I translate a website in 2021?
Open the Chrome app and when visiting a webpage in another language select “More” and then the target language at the bottom of the page. Chrome will offer to translate the webpage one time or to always translate it.
How do I use Google Translate to translate a Web page?
1. On your computer, go to Google Translate.
2. In the text box, enter a URL.
3. To choose the language you want to translate to, at the top right, click the Down arrow .
4. On the right, click the URL that appears. The URL will open a new tab and the website will be translated.
What is the most accurate language translation site?
DeepL Translate: The world’s most accurate translator.