Top 5 Translation Plugins for Your WordPress Site
We get asked about translation a lot in our support forums, which isn’t at all surprising – a good chunk of our members speak English as a second language.
In fact, most of our support crew and developers are from non-English speaking countries―our staff is from more than 30 countries!
One of the easiest ways to translate your WordPress site and backend is with a plugin, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start searching for the right plugin, plus it can be tricky because not all translation tools are equally effective and each works differently.
This is the last post in our series on translating WordPress. Over the past week, we’ve featured a new post every day on translating different aspects of WordPress. If you have any requests please me know in the comments below.
Today we’re going to look at five free and premium plugins for translating your WordPress site.
This post is part of our Translation Week series:
- How to Translate a WordPress Theme
- How to Localize a WordPress Theme and Make it Translation Ready
- How to Set Up the WordPress Backend in Your Language
- Everything You Need to Know About Translating WordPress Plugins
- Collaborative Translations Now Available for WPMU DEV Products
- How to Translate a WordPress Plugin
Continue reading, or jump ahead using these links:
WPML has been around for a while and is the most popular premium plugin for turning your site multilingual.
The default install comes with more than 40 languages and you can also add language variants, such as local dialects, using the language editor.
The plugin comes with three pricing plans – Multilingual Blog, Multilingual CMS and Multilingual Agency. The Blog and CMS plans come with a year of updates and support, as well as a reduced renewal fee.
WPML is operated by OnTheGoSystems, which also runs ICanLocalize, a professional translation service. You can even access the service from the WPML dashboard in WordPress.
The buzz around this plugin is that support is excellent. Its blog also shows that it is regularly updated with new features.
Another great thing about WPML is that it is compatible with a number of plugins, including our own Hummingbird.
(Additional plugins can sometimes be needed, as translating can often slow down your site)
As of release 4.3, WPML has also changed the way string translation works. Meaning when used in combination with Hummingbird, your site won’t slow down to a snail’s pace.
Polylang is another highly popular plugin (700K+ users) for making your WordPress site multilingual.
Create your languages, add a language switcher, and you can start translating! Polylang perfectly integrates in the WordPress admin interface, duplicating content across languages for an efficient workflow.
Polylang doesn’t use any extra tables and doesn’t rely on shortcodes; it only uses WordPress’ built-in core features (taxonomies). Thus it doesn’t require a lot of memory or harm the performance of your website. And, it is compatible with most caching plugins.
Our best pro WP tools in one bundle
- Translating posts, pages, media, categories, post tags, custom post types and taxonomies, RSS feeds; RTL scripts are supported
- The language is either set by the language code in URL, or you can use a different sub-domain or domain per language.
- Automatic copy of categories, post tags and other metas when creating a new post or page translation.
- Translating menus and widgets.
- Customizable language switcher available as a widget or a navigation menu item.
COST: Free, with Pro versions ranging from €99 to €139.
The Pro version of Polylang adds additional features, such as:
- Better integration in the new Block Editor.
- Language switcher available as a block.
- Widget block editor and full Site Editing (FSE) compatibility.
- Duplicate and/or synchronize content across post translations.
- Improved compatibilities with other plugins such as ACF Pro.
- Share the same URL slug for posts or terms across languages.
- Translate the slugs in the URL for category and author bases, custom post types.
TranslatePress lets you translate your site directly from the front-end and includes full support for WooCommerce, complex themes and site builders.
If you are busy building complex client sites, TranslatePress can make translation easy using the simplest interface you can hope for.
Speed up your process by translating your entire site with Google Translate. You can then change only what’s not perfectly translated.
Plus, TranslatePress gives you a bunch of control over your editorial process. Editors can publish translations only when they are complete and create translator accounts for translating without navigating to the backend of WordPress.
COST: Free, with upgrade packages ranging from €79 to €199.
They have quality support and been actively releasing add-ons that extend even more the plugin functionality. Go with TranslatePress if you are looking for a safe and easy bet.
Weglot is a relatively new player in the multilingual solution environment but has quickly gained popularity, with more than 10,000 websites already using its service.
Weglot is quick and easy to install and use. From the plugin settings you can choose from 60+ languages customize the look and feel of items. You can even choose to use automatic translation or to manually do translations yourself via a straightforward editing platform.
The plugin comes with a free plan for small websites with less than 2,000 translated words and one extra language. Premium plans depend on your needs and usage, mainly based on the total number of translated words and extra languages.
When you sign up to Weglot, your account is also connected to professional translators agency from which you can order pro translations for selected content or pages.
COST: Weglot Translate is free for small websites (under 2,000 words) with one translation language. They also have premium plans, ranging from €99 to €4999.
Weglot is SEO optimized, following Google best practices, and is compatible with almost any theme or plugin. In addition, their support is friendly, fast and professional.
Transposh is another freely available translation plugin. It supports machine translations but unlike other plugins is allows visitors to your site to make edits to non-English language text.
This plugin comes packaged with 73 languages.
If you do not want users to edit translations (and potentially make embarrassing corrections) you can choose who you has permission to update translations.
Translations are important, but don’t have to be a headache. Try one of the above solutions, and have your site ready to read from all parts of the world.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.
[Originally Published: October 2013 / Revised: April 2022]