The Definitive Guide: Create a Multilingual WordPress Site

JavaScript for WordPress

Turning your website into a multilingual WordPress site has become an easier job than ever. In this guide, we will show you the best plugins you can use to translate your WordPress site to any language or languages you want.

Serious points you need to consider when you decide to create a multilingual WordPress site:

  1. Never use Google Translation to do it because your website will be penalized due to duplicate content.
  2. You do not have to use WordPress multisite, as it does not offer any extra features to create a multilingual WordPress site. WordPress multisite is used to create a network of sites using a single WordPress installation.

Options:

We will stick with translation plugins and themes on a single WordPress installation, we don’t use/recommend multisite to create a multilingual WordPress site.

1- WordPress Plugins

 

1.1 Polylang (Free – 99€/year)

polylang

The free version of Polylang has over 100,000 installs, which makes it the most popular multilingual plugin available on the WordPress repository. You can translate posts, pages, media, categories, tags, custom post types, custom taxonomies, widgets and navigation menus.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Light-weight plugin.
  • The possibility of using a professional or automatic translation service using Lingotek Translation addon.

Cons:

  • No support at WordPress forums although it’s a free plugin.
  • Lack of documentation.
  • There’s no a clear list of compatible themes and plugins. That’s mean, you cannot be sure if your theme/plugins will work perfectly with Polylang.

Polylang Pro version comes with 99€ for 1 site license and it has extra features that can be found here.

Download Polylang

1.2 Weglot Translate (Free – 290€/year)

weglot

Weglot is a new multilingual plugin on WordPress.org with more than 1000 active installs till May 2016. Version 1.0 was published in March 2016. Weglot first determines and translates your content to other languages then you can edit those translations via your control panel at Weglot website. You can have an overview of how the plugin works in this short video.

Pros:

  • Comes with 60 languages.
  • SEO friendly.
  • No need for .po/.mo files to translate your themes/plugins.

Cons:

  • New plugin, which means you’ll not find many answers on the web regarding this plugin.
  • Lack of documentation still needs huge improvements.
  • Free version supports only up to 2000 words, more than that you’ll have to pay up to 290€ per year.

Check our full review of Weglot plugin, step by step instructions to create a multilingual WordPress site using Weglot.

Download Weglot

1.3 WPML ($29 – $79/year)

wpml-web

WPML is the most popular multilingual plugin on the planet. We use it on our projects and thanks to it we are always able to translate everything in any project we work on.

Pros:

  • Support: WPML support is always there for the technical issues, not only in English but in other 8 languages (Spanish – Deutsche – Portuguese – Arabic – French – Italian – Chinese – Russian).
  • Updates: WPML is always updated, applying new features, fixing bugs, compatibility with every WordPress version.
  • SEO: Using SEO with multilingual sites is a big challenge, WPML does it perfectly following Google recommendations.
  • Documentation: Everything in WPML is documented.
  • Professional Translation: WPML team is working with leading translation services on the technical integration into WPML. Right now, you can choose among 9 professional translation services to translate your content by a professional translation agency, all is done via your WordPress admin.

Cons:

  • Additional tables in your database.
  • Some slowness in your WordPress admin.

In this guide, we explaining in details how to translate every element in your website using WPML, check it now!

Download WPML

2- WordPress themes with built-in multilingual system

If you don’t want to install a plugin to create your multilingual WordPress site, recently AitThemes created ready multilingual themes, quoting from them

First multilingual WordPress themes in the world with integrated multilingual system and language translations.

ait_themes

Their themes can be translated into 26 languages, and also themes strings are translated to those languages. Just type in content in your language and it’s done.

Pros:

  • Themes strings and texts are already translated.
  • No third-party plugins to translate your site.
  • Detailed documentation.

Cons:

  • You cannot use any theme but their themes.
  • Price, a single theme with the languages may cost you up to $125.

Go to AitThemes

Conclusion:

Choosing a multilingual solution depends on the size of your website and the professionality level you seek. Our recommendation will be WPML with no doubt. But if you have a small website, you can choose Polylang or give a try to the new plugin Weglot.

If you have any questions, feedback please feel free to post your comments below.

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