WPML vs Polylang: Which One is The Best For Your Project

WPML vs Polylang

When you decide to translate your website content, undoubtedly you will stumble across many multilingual plugins. WPML and Polylang are certainly the most popular options out there. In this post, we’ll compare WPML vs Polylang to help you decide which one is the best for your project needs.

WPML vs Polylang NOT vs Polylang Pro!

We’re going to compare WPML vs Polylang the free version. And let you decide which one will meet your particular needs.

Polylang has a paid version called Polylang Pro that costs you 99.00€ per site, 198.00€ for 3 sites and 297.00€ for 5 sites. Compared to WPML CMS (the full package) at $79 for UNLIMITED sites, it is very expensive with almost no advantages over WPML.

In this comparison we will cover these areas:

  1. Basic Translation
  2. Themes and Plugins Translation
  3. Themes and Plugins Compatibility
  4. Menus and Widgets Translation
  5. Slugs and URLs Translation
  6. eCommerce Support
  7. Professional Translation
  8. Support and Documentation

1. Basic Translation

Basic translation means translating your posts, pages, categories, and tags. Also, the custom post types and custom taxonomies.

Winner: Tie

2. Themes and Plugins Translation

Your theme and plugins contain thousands of strings and texts hard-coded inside the files. For example, let’s take the comments section from any theme. The marked texts in the following screenshot are hard-coded in the theme files.

Comments Strings that need to be translated

To translate those strings with Polylang, you’ll have to use an external plugin like Loco Translate as shown in this post or generate the language files using POEdit or Eazy PO. While in WPML, you will scan the theme (and the plugins) for the strings and texts then WPML will collect all of them in one place with an easy to use interface to translate them all to your website languages.

Winner: WPML

3. Themes and Plugins Compatibility

Sometimes, multilingual plugins such as WPML and Polylang require custom work to be done in your theme or plugins code to guarantee that the translation of every element in your website will be done perfectly.

WPML has two lists, one for the compatible plugins and another one for the compatible themes. For Polylang, it’s hard to confirm that either your theme or plugins are compatible with it as there are no lists for compatible themes and plugins.

Also, WPML has a program called, Go-Global Program where themes and plugins authors can apply to be compatible with WPML.

Winner: WPML

With WPML and Polylang, you will be able to translate your menus and widgets. However, Polylang does not have the menu synchronization option that WPML do have. But you will have your menus and widget translated eventually.

Winner: Tie

5. Slugs and URLs Translation

Let’s take this URL as an example: yourdomain.com/documentation/installation
yourdomain.com: this is your website’s domain
documentation: is a custom post type
installation: is a post of type ‘documentation’

The perfect translation for this URL should be yourdomain.com/documentacion/instalacion in Spanish, shouldn’t it?

With Polylang, you will be able to create this yourdomain.com/documentation/instalacion not this yourdomain.com/documentacion/instalacion. In other words, you will not be able to translate the custom post type slug. Where in WPML, you will be able to translate documentation part from your URL to documentacion. This is very important for your SEO as well as your website’s user experience.

Winner: WPML

6. eCommerce Support

Selling products in your visitors’ languages can boost your sales and reach more customers. Both Polylang and WPML play well with WooCommerce. WPML has the free extension WCML (WooCommerce Multilingual) and Polylang has Polylang for WooCommerce extension which costs 49.00€ for a single website.

Worth to mention that WPML has extensions for the other popular eCommerce solutions such as Easy Digital Downloads as it has EDD Multilingual plugin.

Winner: WPML

7. Professional Translation

You can translate your website into the language you know, but what about the languages you know nothing about? WPML and Polylang offer the professional translation option that allows you to translate your WordPress sites in the most convenient, cost-effective and accurate way possible. All integrated into the plugin dashboard.

Please note, WPML has (by the time of writing this) 14 integrated services and Polylang has only one service.

WPML Pro Translation Services

WPML Pro Translation Services List

Winner: Tie (as both plugins provide this service)

8. Support and Documentation

Undoubtedly, a premium plugin should have a higher level of support over the free ones. WPML is no exception. WPML support is provided in 9 languages which is a huge plus for sure. On the other hand, Polylang has no support at all, as the author does not provide support on the wordpress.org forum. Support and extra features are available to Polylang Pro users.

Polylang Support

By the same token, Polylang documentation is not comparable to the detailed WPML documentation.

Winner: WPML

Summing Up

Polylang should be a good option if you are going to translate a simple website such as a blog or a simple personal site. For advanced blogs, business and eCommerce websites, WPML should be your option.

What are you going to build and what are you going to use? Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section below.

Hopefully you'll come back soon!
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