How to Create a WordPress Multilingual Website Fast and Easy
The Digital revolution has brought us together. Today, more than ever it’s easy to communicate with people who live in the other part of the globe. All you need is Internet and language knowledge. But, if you’re running a business that wants to target specific countries, you need more than a website in a local language. You need multilingual website support. Fortunately, this is no problem at all. With the TranslatePress plugin, anyone can start a WordPress multilingual website without any coding knowledge. Just find the right WordPress theme for your niche, install the TranslatePress plugin, and spread your business story anywhere in the world. Now, let’s dive deeper into TranslatePress’ functionalities and benefits.
TranslatePress – Translate Multilingual sites
We tested this plugin and liked it so much, we crafted this detailed tutorial with a guide on how to use it. The beauty of TranslatePress is in its simplicity. With it, even complete beginners can translate content directly from the frontend using a simple, user-friendly interface. You can translate the entire page at once, including the output from shortcodes, forms and page builders. What is also great about this tool, is its flexibility. This means you can place language switchers anywhere on your site. TranslatePress integrates with Google Translate, which means you can set up Automatic Translation with your own Google API key. Lastly, this plugin is fully compatible with WooCommerce so you can easily translate any online store. Plus, it works with all themes and plugins you could imagine.
If you want to successfully build a multilingual website, keep reading. This tutorial covers the following topics:
Before we jump into the subject, let’s clarify one thing. You have a free TranslatePress plugin version and a Pro version at your disposal that you can use depending on your needs. You can easily install free version of a plugin through your WordPress directory. On the other hand, the TranslatePress Pro version has different add-ons. We will analyze them later. After you purchase the pro version on the official website, go to your account where you can find all the important information.
Besides the information about your purchases (for plugins and their add-ons), you will find your license key here.
Also, you can have a look at the add-ons you’ve already downloaded, or check out the available add-ons you can download and activate in the future.
When it comes to the premium plugin, you will have to add it as a zip file, by uploading it from your computer, not by choosing it from the WordPress directory.
After you add and activate the plugin, you should activate the license key, as well. Go to Settings > TranslatePress and find the License tab.
When the installation is over, you can adjust the plugin further – go to Setting and find the Translate Press field.
First, click on the field General to choose the language in which your website will be available/translated.
The Default language is the general language of your website, and it’s the language of your content. The plugin will show you the default language you’ve chosen in Settings > General > Site language. Don’t forget that you’ve already set the original website language, as one of the first things when you started the website building.
The best part is you can choose the available language for translation with one click. In the All Languages option, you will set both the default language of your content and another language (or languages) in which your website will appear. After you choose the language, click on the Add button. Finally, don’t forget to save the changes.
In case you want just one language besides the default, the free version of this plugin will be enough. But, if you need multiple language options, the pro version is the way to go. Thanks to it you can add as many languages as you want, depending on your needs.
Let’s now have a look at the Native language name option. This option allows you to display the names of the available languages on your site in English or in their native names. If you want to go with the native language name, select Yes, or mark No for displaying a language’s name in English.
If you run a multilingual website, your default language can be easily chosen with TranslatePress. Use a subdirectory for the default language option allows you to choose between Yes or No. In other words, if you select No the default language will be your default website language, in our case it’s English. If you want to make Italian a default language for your users, you should mark Yes in the Use a subdirectory for the default language. Also, you should change the order of the languages to set language priorities. Do this by dragging the language fields. Moreover, choose option Yes to add the subdirectory in the URL for the default language. This will make sure that your default URL has the slug of your website language. In other words, the website www.mydomainname.com will have this specification: www.mydomainname.com/en.
If you want to go one step further you can use the Automatic User Language Detection Add-on. It detects the local language of your user, based on his IP address and browser settings. All the options for language detecting are shown in the picture below.
Force language in custom links is another addon worth mentioning. In a nutshell, all the page or post links on your website will be translated to the currently displayed language thanks to this useful tool.
When we talk about the language switcher appearance, you can customize it through the options shown here. Feel free to try different options so you can find the combo that works the best for you.
After we finished with general settings, it’s time for website translation. It’s pretty simple – just go to the Translate Site tab.
You can translate certain pages as well. Go to the page you want to translate and find the option Translate Site.
This option will open a visual translation editor from which you can translate everything you see. Thanks to the dashboard placed on the left, you can access the language variations and input the desired terms in different languages.
On the right side, you can see a live preview of your website.
Before you start to translate, have a look at the options that are available.
The first thing you can choose is the language in which you want to display your live website preview, placed on the right side. When the language you want to translate to is shown here, you can keep the track of what is already translated and what is not.
Select strings to translate field allows you to search for the items for translation. Thanks to this option, you don’t have to go through the page and change the language element by element. On the contrary, all it takes is to choose the strings available for translation from the drop-down menu.
Another great option we need to mention is View as. It allows us to adapt the translation for different users. This means we can distinguish users that are logged in and those who are not, by giving them different information. The free version of the TranslatePress plugin gives you the opportunity to adapt the translation for both current users or those that are logged in. In case you need to cover different user roles (Customer, Subscriber, Contributor…) you can use the Browse As User Role add-on that covers this kind of requirement.
Start the Translation
The easiest way to translate your website is to go through the page and click on small blue icons with a pencil sign that appears when you hover over a certain element. They are here to help you translate a text directly in your elements on a page. Click on the pencil and input the desired translation in the field that appears. Don’t forget to save the changes.
After you save the changes, you can go to the live page where you can notice the change right away.
When you’re translating the page to more than two different languages, it’s done easily too. There are fields for every language where you can enter the translation.
What is also great about TranslatePress is the fact it allows you to translate not only texts but images as well. When you want to show different images to users from different language spheres, TranslatePress will let you do it with ease. Although you can select a specific string for that image, our advice is to find the pencil on the live image, click on it and enter the image’s URL. It’s easy as it gets.
After you make these changes, your image will look like this in different languages.
How to Translate WooCommerce Shop
If you have an online shop, the good news is that you can translate it into many languages. Just find the pencil sign, and select the string in a dashboard as shown below. When your online shop is available in different languages, your customers will have more reasons to make the purchase. Thus, your sales will go up.
TranslatePress is fully compatible with the WooCommerce plugin. This means you can translate all the shop elements. But, when you’re translating default shop sections such as categories or button labels, you will notice that the pencil isn’t blue, but green. Also, you will notice that you can translate your shop into all the languages, even into the default language. This is especially practical when you’re not happy with the words choices WooCommerce suggests – just choose what works the best for you.
The reason why you can translate your shop into all the languages including the default language lies in the fact that WooCommerce integrates its own string package. These strings are packed with WooCommerce and they are completely independent of the strings included with the theme you use.
If you don’t want to translate by yourself, you can use the built in automatic translation. This functionality will allow you to enable and configure the automatic translation of your website content through the available machine translation services. TranslatePress supports both Google Translate and DeepL.
One of the options that deserve your attention is Limit machine translation / characters per day. It lets you limit the number of characters that the plugin translates through the selected translation API every day. The default limit is set at 1 000 000 characters. However, you can adjust this to your specific needs. This option will help you limit the overall costs that you experience from the translation API.
As we already mentioned, the TranslatePress pro version (with its add-ons) allows you to translate websites in multiple languages, adjust the translation to different user roles or automatically detect the user’s language. But, this is not all.
SEO Pack addon gives you the chance to optimize the website and its pages for specific language zones. Besides the website content, you can adjust slugs, meta descriptions, page titles, image alt tags, etc. Just find the strings you want to change and do it with no effort.
With this add-on you will also be able to adjust taxonomy slugs, term slugs, post slugs, post type base slugs and WooCommerce slugs. This can all be done in the String Translate field.
Translator Accounts Addon is useful if you want to give the role of translator to certain users, not necessarily to the website admin. When you want to hire someone to translate something on your website, without accessing the specific website’s pages, use this add-on to give him a Translator role. Go to Users > All users and find the profile of the desired user.
Navigation Based on Language add-on is another interesting tool. With it, you can have menu items displayed or hidden based on the current language. In other words, this addon helps you create multilingual menus that contain different menu items for different languages. Use it when you need to display different pages for different languages. Also, when a certain content of your site isn’t translated and you want to exclude it from the menu for that language, this addon will assist you.
Lastly, we want to mention DeepL Automatic Translation add-on. Use it to automatically translate your website through the DeepL API. As it’s backed by artificial intelligence and neural networks, you can be sure your translation will be done in a progressive style.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Having a multilingual website is beneficial in so many ways. Thanks to this you can not only reach people around the world who can buy your product with ease, but improve your SEO score. Luckily, the TranslatePress plugin is equipped with tons of features that will help you translate every aspect of your website professionally. Just install it and start your international website adventure!
We hope this article was helpful. If you liked it, feel free to check out some of these articles as well!