The majority of the top visited sites are multilingual. When building any website you want the website to have traffic and convert, regardless of what you are offering, right? Having a multilingual website increases your chances of getting more visitors. Simply because you are providing your content in more than one language; targetting more audience.
If you have ever noticed that almost every eCommerce website is multilingual. Have you ever asked yourself why? Well, having a multilingual website is an efficient and effective marketing strategy. Rather than spending money on online ads, you can simply translate your website into one or more languages (depending on the markets that you want to penetrate) and leave the rest for search engines. If you are following the basic SEO standards and your content is relevant to a user searching in French, the search engine will direct the user to you.
I must say that the WordPress ecosystem made creating multilingual websites as easy as 1-2-3! There are many multilingual plugins that facilitate the process of creating multilingual websites.
Today we will be reviewing TranslatePress. A multilingual WordPress plugin that allows you to translate your website from the front-end. How cool is that! TranslatePress is free with 3,000+ active installs and 5 stars rating. TranslatePress comes packed with many features that facilitate the process of building multilingual websites. Before we install, configure and translate our website using TranslatePress, let’s go over the main features that it offers:
- Offers machine/automatic translation
- Compatible with all the themes and plugins
- Comes with many addons that add features like creating translators accounts, we will cover all the addons later in this review
- Customizable language switcher
- Front-end translation
- Allows the translation of theme and plugins strings
- Supports translating WooCommerce sites
It is worth mentioning that there are basic features that you want your multilingual plugin of choice to have. Building a multilingual website is a huge investment as it consumes a lot of time, effort and money. Before purchasing a multilingual plugin you need to make sure that it fulfills all your needs. Check our 13-Point Checklist for Purchasing a WordPress Multilingual Plugin article. It includes all the information you need before taking the purchase decision. Let’s see together if TranslatePress misses anything of our checklist. Without any further ado, let’s see what TranslatePress has to offer.
Installing and configuring Translate Press
You can download the TranslatePress form the WordPress repository. TranslatePress doesn’t have a premium version of the main plugin yet, it offers addons the adds premium features. Once you have it installed and activated on your website, you will see Translate Site menu item on the admin toolbar. Clicking the Translate Site will show the Settings sub item, which takes you to the settings screen where we will configure TranslatePress together. You can also acess the Settings screen by navigating to Settings -> TranslatePress.
As you can see in the screenshot above the settings screen has 3 tabs:
- Translate Site
On the General tab you get to set the following options:
- Choose the site’s default language
- Add the languages that you want to translate your website into. I have choose Spanish
- Select displaying the language names in their native names or in English
- Set if you want to add a subdirectory to the defualt language
- Enabling and disabling automatic translation. It is true that automatice translation saves a lot of effort. Yet,
we all know that it inaccurate. I will enable the automatic translation option for illustration purposes only. I don’t recomend relying on automatic translation for your website unless you will alter the translations later.
- Choosing the language switcher style and position
Once you have everything setup, click on the Save Changes button.
Displaying the language switcher
Before we jump into translating our website, let’s add the language switcher. I will add my language switcher to my main menu. To do this navigate to Appearance -> Menus. You might not see the option to add the language switcher to your menu. Simply, click on the Screen Options and choose the Language Switcher option. Now expand the Language Switcher menu and choose the languages that you want to add to the menu. In my case, I will choose English and Spanish. Click on the Add to menu button and don’t forget to save the menu.
TranslatePress allows you to add a language switcher to any plcae your website using a shortcode [language-switcher]. You can also display a floting language swithcer.
Translating Pages and Posts
I must say that TranslatePress offers one of the easiest methods I have seen so far to translate your website. All you need to do is navigate to the page that you want to translate Click on “Translate Site”. This will take you to the Translation Editor where you can choose the different strings on the page and translate them.
If you hover over any string on your page you will see a pencil icon. Clicking the pencil icon will allow you to translate the string or edit an existing translation. In the translation editor you find:
- A drop down with all the active languages on your website. You can use it to switch between the different language versions of your website and add or edit the translation in the other languages.
- Previouse and Next buttons to switch from one string to another on your page.
- The String List drop-down menu which includes all the strings on your page.
- A user drop-down menu that allows you to change your role as a translator.
- Two text fields, one showing the current language string and the other is used to add or edit the translation (s)
- The qSave translation button.
I must say that using the translation editor is straightforward and self-explanatory. Here is an animated screenshot that illustrates the process of translation strings.
You can translate any page or post using the exact same way illustrated above.
Translating Categories and Tags
Translating categories and tags is nothing special. As you will go to the translation editor and translate the categories and tags of a post.
Translating the categories and tags are global. Meaning that you only need to translate a specific category or post once and the rest of the posts that are assigned to that taxonomy will be translated as well.
As you might know that each and every media item uploaded to your WordPress database is associated with meta-data such as the Title, image description and Alt Text. The meta-data translation is one of the must dos from an SEO prespictive.Unfortunately, Traslate Press lacks media translation.
Translating Menus and Widgets
Now you know how it works! Click on Translate Page to open the translation editor and click on the pencil icon to translate your menu strings. Alike translating tags and categories the translation of the menu items is global. Translating your widgets is done in a similar fashion and is global too.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of translating your slugs as it is a must if you want to follow the SEO bests practices that lead to more organic traffic to your website. The free version of TranslatePress doesn’t allow you to translate the slugs on your website. You will need the SEO Pack addon to add this feature. It is worth mentioning that the premium version of TranslatePress offers five addons that extend further the features of the plugin.
To translate your slugs, install and activate the SEO Pack addon. Let’s say that you want to translate the slug of your page. Simply, navigate to your about page and click on Translate Site. On the String List drop-down menu, you be able to translate the page slug and title.
Compatibility with themes and plugins
Each and every theme and plugin display texts on your website’s front-end. To review TranslatePress I have set a local installation using Astra theme, Beaver Builder, and Contact Form 7. As far as my tests went, TranslatePress was able to translate each and every string generated by the theme, page builder, and contact form plugin. I am not sure if this is the case with all the themes and plugins. Yet, I think that you won’t run into many compatibility issues translating your theme and plugins texts.
This is a premium feature provided by the Translator Accounts addon. It allows you to create accounts set the role of a user to be a translator which grants the user the privilege to translate the website.
I must say that this is a handy feature, as I won’t need to grant admin privileges to all the translators working on my website in order to translate specific parts. On the other hand, TranslatePress is missing one important feature, the ability to manage and track translations. Additionally, you don’t get any integrations with professional translation services.
Translating your Website Into Multiple Languages
Depending on the purpose you built your website for, you might need to translate your website into more than one language. TranslatePress supports translating your website into 221 languages through the premium Multiple Languages addon. I can’t imagine that someone would want to do that!
If you are planning to translate your website into any RTL languages such as Arabic and Hebrew, Translated Press got you covered as it supports RTL. You will also need to ensure that your theme of choice supports RTL. I have tested translating the contact us page into Arabic, I must say that everything worked as expected.
What is better than having an eCommerce site? A multilingual eCommerce site! As it allows you to reach more users speaking different languages. I have tested translating the WooCommerce shop page and a product page. Everything seems to work well.
It is worth mentioning that WooCoomerce ships with localization files in many languages. TranslatePress was able to pull these translations and allowed me to override the translation of the text that I wanted. I like this!
Navigation Based on Languae
This is a feature that TranslatePress offers (through its premium plugin “Navigate Based on Language”) that allows you to customize your menus based on the language version of the website. In other words, you will be able to assign each menu item to show on specific languages and not show on the others.
- SEO Pack Addon
- Multiple Languages Addon
- Translator Accounts Addon
- Navigation Based on Language Addon
- Browse As Other Roles
TranslatePress offers 3 plans:
where you get the SEO Pack Addon and the Multiple Languages Addon licenced to one site + One year of updates and support priced at $79.
With this plan you get the SEO Pack Addon, the Multiple Languages Addon, the Translator Accounts Addon, and all the future pro addons licenced to 3 sites + One year of updates and support priced at $139.
Which includes what the business plans offers but for an unlimited number of sites priced at $199.
If you ask me, this is way too overpriced compared to other multilingual solutions in the WordPress market! Check out this comparison, you will know what I am talking about.
It is true that TranslatePress is easy to use. I must say that TranslatePress documentation is well-organized. Yet, it lacks details! Many of the articles don’t provide detailed instructions on how some of the features work. I hope that sometime soon; the folks at TranslatePress would consider updating their documentation to include step-by-step instructions and more screenshots.
Considering the fact that TranslatePress is free, it would never harm to try it. Yet, working on a multilingual website is a huge investment. You will spend a lot of effort and money in building it. This is why you need to ensure that your multilingual plugin of choice covers all your needs.
If you are running a website with a few pages, TranslatePress makes this job really easy. Yet, if your website has many pages, you will struggle to keep track of the what is translated and what is not as TranslatePress doesn’t offer a way to track the translation process of the website.
I highly recommend that you try TranslatePress on your website’s staging environment before using it on your production site. This will allow you to understand your multilingual needs and if TranslatePress will fulfill them.
Already using TranslatePress? Share your experience with us in the comments section.