Today, serving up relevant content to audiences around the world is highly important to businesses with a global footprint. Providing that content to audiences in their native language is even more critical, and WordPress does offer choices when it comes to installing a multi-language tool for your site.
Two main considerations go into whether a WordPress multi-language tool is necessary: size and location. If your company or agency is located in an area with a high concentration of non-native English speakers, this is certainly something you should consider.
Of course, being located in one area doesn’t mean you don’t do business elsewhere. This means that if your organization has grown to the point where people outside of your region take notice, a WordPress translation plugin might be beneficial.
Best Practices for Adding Languages To Your Website
The fact of the matter is that, even with a WordPress translation plugin, having multiple languages on your website is a complex task.. There are a few things you should know before you get started to ensure the best outcome.
- Have language options: Using multiple languages means little if it’s not easy to switch between them. Some people use different URL suffixes, and this is fine. There should still be an easy way to change languages on each page of your site just in case.
- Avoid idioms: Idioms are groupings of words that have meaning not conveyed by the actual word themselves. It’s raining cats and dogs or beating a dead horse, for instance, means something the actual words don’t convey. Unfortunately, idioms don’t always translate across languages, and you don’t want potential customers thinking you’re hitting dead horses with bats.
- Correctly place canonical tags: Canonical tags help search engines return accurate results when you have similar content on different pages or multiple versions of the same page. This can be a real issue when you’re translating a page. If you don’t know how to do this, it’s best to seek professional help, since dropping the ball here could have a negative effect on the way Google ranks your pages.
WordPress Translation Plugins
A lot of work goes into creating a multilingual website, but there’s very little doubt that a WordPress translation plugin can make things much easier. If you were to search on the WordPress site, however, you’d get over 6,500 results by querying “translation.”
Instead of going through trial and error to see what works for your site, the following are some of the best WordPress multilingual plugins available. When considering these, it’s important to look at translation ability, ease of access to new language folders, whether it works with multiple WordPress themes and how many languages the plugin supports.
When considering all of these factors, the following are the best WordPress translation plugins out there.
Polylang is a great WordPress translation plugin, but it also shows a distinction between two types of plugins. While some plugins will automatically translate language for you, others let you create the language. This can be more expensive because someone will have to translate everything, but the translations will also be more accurate.
This WordPress localization tool also allows the automatic download of language packets and works with a variety of themes.
Pros: Language packet downloads are automatic and RTL languages are fully supported. You can add up to 100 languages if desired.
Cons: Polylang requires you to add the multilingual text, so it can be more time-consuming.
Unlike the previous plugin, Weglot allows you to use automatic translation or manually enter translations into the website yourself. There are over 60 languages you can choose from and you can even order translations from professional agencies through the plugin. There are free and paid versions of this tool.
Pros: This WordPress multilingual plugin has a simple user interface. It’s also compatible with most other plugins and themes.
Cons: Many users complain that the free version of Weglot is essentially useless for commercial purposes.
Cost: There’s a free version of this tool. The starter pack is just over $12 a month, but you can go all the way to the Corporate version for nearly $1,000 a month.
The GTranslate plugin comes directly from Google, so you know it’s one of the best. The tool can create different domains for translated pages, and when someone in Germany searches for your page, your German-translated site will come up automatically. Users also have the ability to switch back and forth between translations if they choose to. The plugin can even translate URLs to ensure you’re getting the best out of search engine optimization.
Pros: Translations are automatic with this plugin and take place as soon as you install. You can also edit a translated page if there’s a problem with the machine translation.
Cons: The free version of this tool comes with only the most basic translation. If you want to manually input text, you’ll have to edit everything GTranslate entered automatically.
Cost: There is a free version available for this WordPress translation plugin. After that, basic pricing starts at $5.99 a month and goes to $34.99 a month for enterprise-level services.
The Amazon Polly plugin brings the power of AWS text-to-speech to WordPress and makes it easy to tap into this popular content delivery option. After the Polly plugin for WordPress was released, it was updated to include translation capabilities using Amazon Translate. Today, you can add Polly to your site and translate the text-to-speech feed into a growing list of languages.
Pros: You can tap into some of the most powerful translation technology around, which AWS is always tweaking and making better.
Cons: While the list of included languages is expanding, surely some will be left out.
Cost: Free of charge. You can download the Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress here.
WP Engine For Multilingual Websites
All of these WordPress translation plugins do great things, but unfortunately, creating an effective multilingual site requires much more than multiple languages. If you’re running a large website, things could already be running slow, and when you add additional languages to the mix, there’s no telling how the site will respond.
This is why WP Engine has built an infrastructure that’s ideal for websites of any size. If you’re adding additional languages, you should expect additional traffic, and WP Engine is capable of handling that traffic regardless of language. Take a look at how we can make the most out of your multilingual website today.