The number of people buying online from all over the world is growing every day. There is a massive potential of expanding your business by attracting more clients. This can be done by speaking their language. I call this process “Building a Multilingual Website“.
Having a multilingual website is a cost effective marketing tool as it allows you to reach more of your potential clients. Besides that, it demonstrates that you care about your customers and help you build trust. Offering your clients your website in their native language is crucial as it is a key factor for staying ahead of your competitors.
There are many plugins that translate WordPress sites. The majority of these plugins are complex and hard to use. In this post, we will go over an easy to use, reliable and affordable WordPress multilingual solution.
GTranslate is a WordPress multilingual plugin that provides free machine translation for your website. Setting up the plugin is as easy as drinking water. Once you configure GTranslate, your website will automatically be translated to the languages you choose.
We all know that the machine translation (Google’s translation) is not the best. This is why the pro version of GTranslate allows you to edit these translations.
Gtranslate will not slow your website as the translated version of your website is not being pulled from your website server. Instead, GTrasnlate hosts the translated content in there could network (also known as the translation delivery network). As a result, GTrasnlate will not impact your website performance in any way.
Before we delve into configuring and translating our website using Gtranslate let’s go over it’s main features.
- Instant content machine translation upon installation
- The ability to edit the machine translated content (paid version)
- URL translation (paid version)
- Meta-data translation (paid version)
- Woocommerce and Yoast SEO compatible
- Choose between Sub-directory and Sub-domin URL structures (paid version)
- Serch engine indexing for you translated version of the website (paid version)
- SEO freindly (paid version)
- Language hosting (paid version)
- Different styles of the language switcher to choose from
Watch this qucik overview video that illustrates how to set up and use GTranslate:
For this tutorial, we will translate a page we created using the Elementor page builder. We used the Homepage – Agency template. Gtranslate have more than 50,000 active installations and the rating of 4.7/5. Let’s dive into the translation process.
Installing and configuring GTranslate
You can download Gtranslate from the WordPress repository. You can also download it from within your WordPress dashboard. Navigate to Plugins -> Add New and search for Translate WordPress with GTranslate. Now click on the Install Now button then activate it.
After Activating the plugin, an admin notification will pop-up on your WordPress dashboard. The notification message includes:
- A link to leave a review on the plugin’s page on WordPress.org
- Link to the live chat of the Gtranslate website
- A link to the support forum
- Link to the documentation
- The option to never show the the notification on your WordPress dashboard
Setting GTranslate is really simple and it is all done from one screen. Navigate to Settings -> GTranslate. The configuration page is has 3 main sections:
- Widget options
- Widget preview
- Widget code
You will also see a link to the GTranslate Facebook page, the Gtranslate video tour and a video that explains the Translation Delivery Network. We will cover this later.
Let’s go over each of the main sections.
This is actually where you set everything up. You will see a drop-down menu where you can select the how the language switcher will look like. You have a few options there:
- Flags and dropdown
- Nice dropdown with flags
- Flags with language name
- Flags with language code
- Language names
- Language codes
On the Widget preview section you will see how the language switcher will look like in the front-end. I will choose the Flags with language name option. You are free to choose whatever style you see fit your website.
From the Translate from: drop-down, choose your default website language. In my case, it will be English.
Next, you can choose to enable or disable the translation Analytics. This will display the traffic of your translated version of the website.
Now, choose the URL structure. I will go with the Sub-domain URL structure, this will improve my website’s SEO. Note that the Sub-domain URL structure is a premium feature. Then, you can choose between enabling or disabling translating the URL. I don’t know why you wouldn’t enable it! I will choose to translate my URL(s) as this will help in indexing my translated content. You will also have the option to open the translated version of the page in a new window. In my opinion, this is not something that I have seen on any multilingual website. I am going to pass on this one.
You can set the language switcher to show on your menu by choosing the Primary Menu option from the Show in menu:, I will go with that. Control the position of your language switcher from the Show floating language selector: drop-down menu. I will set the language switcher to be on the Top left. Note that this is not the only way to display your language switcher. We will demonstrate alternative ways to display it. You can enable showing native language names.You also get to choose the size of the flags that will show up on your language switcher. I will go with the default setting (24px). It looks good in the preview section.
Now, you can choose the languages that you want to translate your website into. I will translate my site into French and Spanish. It is worth mentioning that GTranslate supports more than a hundred languages.
You can choose different flags to show on the language switcher for some of the languages. For example, you can choose the USA flag to represent English instead of the United Kingdom flag.
This is the code behind the language switcher widget. You can edit this to customize your language switcher. For example, have a different flag for a specific language.
This section also includes instructions on how to add the language switcher to a widget, page or post.
Dispalying the language switcher
Besides adding the language switcher to the main navigation menu, you can also add it to your sidebar as a widget or in any widget area that your theme provides. Additionally, you can add the Gtranslate shortcode to display the language switcher on any page or post.
Adding the language switcher to a widget
- Navigate to Appearance -> Widgets
- Locate the Gtranslate widget and add drag it to your desired widget area. I will add it to the sidebar
This is how the language switcher widget looks on the front-end:
Adding the language switcher to a page or a post
You can add the language switcher to a specific post or page by inserting the Gtranslate shortcode into it. Let’s see how it is done:
- Navigate to the page or post you want to add the language switcher into
- Add the [GTranslate] shortcode in the place you want it to be displayed on the page. I am using the Elementor page builder. To insert the shortcode I will add a Text element then add insert the shortcode and save. If you are using the default WordPress editor, simply add the short code
This is how the language switcher looks like on the page:
How your translated page looks on the front-end
I have translated my page into Spanish and French. Let me show you how it looks in the front-end.
I choose the Sub-domain URL structure. This is how my translated page URL looks like:
Editing the translation
Editing the translation is really simple. Type /?language_edit=1 at the end of the URL of the page you want to edit the translation for. Once you do that, you will see a pen icon next to each textual element in your page.
Click on the pen icon to edit the translation.
Update the translation and click the Save button. Wanted to note that updating the translation is a premium feature.
Documentation and support
In my opinion, GTranslate is a really simple plugin to use. Yet, There is FAQ section on the plugin’s page on the WordPress repository. Additionally, GTranalte has a vidoes page that explains how to use the plugin; not only for WordPress but also for other platforms.
GTranslate pro palns
There are many reasons why you would want to get the paid version of GTranslate:
- Search engine indexing
- Meta data translation
- Edit translations
- URL translation
- Language hosting
- SSL support
Here is a screenshot of the plans pricing:
I really like the idea of the custom plan, as it allows you to pay for the features that you need only.
GTranslate makes it really easy to have a multilingual website. All you need to do is install the plugin, activate it and go through one simple configuration page. Once you hit the Save Changes button you will get you website instantly translated.
The translation that you get is totally free. Yet, it is not that accurate as it is Google’s automatic translation. If you are willing to build a multilingual website, I strongly recommend that you revise the translation provided.
The pro plans start at $1.99/month. This is such a low budget to have a multilingual website!
Want to translate WordPress sites? GTrasnlate offers15 days free trial.
Are you already using GTranslate? Share your experience with us in the comments section.