If you clicked on this post, I’m guessing you want to find the best solution to translate your WordPress site. And why not? There are tons of benefits – better accessibility, access to new markets, you name it. But if you want to make WordPress multilingual, you’re gonna need to choose from the plethora of WordPress translation plugins out there.
But don’t worry – I’ve got your back. In this post, I’ll take you six of the best WordPress translation plugins. Whether you want automatic, manual, or professional translation, one of these plugins can help you out.
Let’s dive in…
If you caught my recent Weglot review, you already know that I’m a big fan of this plugin. That’s because Weglot gives you a massive amount of flexibility over translating your WordPress site.
Let’s start at the beginning. Weglot gives you three easy ways to translate your site, depending on your budget and need for accuracy:
- Machine translation – the easiest and quickest method. But because it’s done by a machine, you can’t 100% trust that it’s accurate.
- Manual translation – translate your site using what is essentially a cloud-based .po file or a visual editor. Good if you know the language…but time-consuming.
- Professional translation – easily hire a professional to translate your content. Once the professional content rolls in, it’s automatically added to the translated version of your site. It’s more expensive, but accurate and time-saving.
The interface is a breeze to use (I take you through it in detail in my review) and all of the translations are optimized for SEO.
In terms of pure ease of use, Weglot is absolutely the best translation plugin on this list. So what are the downsides of Weglot?
There are two:
- If you need the premium version, it’s a monthly charge, rather than a one-off payment.
- You need to use Weglot’s cloud interface for translations. I don’t mind that, but some people might not like having to leave the WordPress dashboard.
Price: Free for up to 2,000 words. After that, plans start at 9.90€ per month.
WPML, AKA The WordPress Multilingual Plugin, is one of the old hats as far as translation plugins go. It’s been around since 2009, which gives it a pretty dang good track record.
First off, like any good translation solution, it translates every single string on WordPress. That means it includes custom post types, taxonomies, menus, theme text…everything.
If you don’t want to manually translate content, WPML also hooks up with professional translation services and easily adds content from those services to your site.
So far, there’s nothing that special, though. But when you get to WPML’s Multilingual CMS package, things start getting really cool.
First off, you can add new WordPress users and assign them the role of “Translator”. Then, those users can submit translations. So, with the right incentives, you can essentially crowd-source your site’s translations.
In this version, WPML also integrates with eCommerce solutions to create a multilingual store.
However, WPML is not without its cons. Those are, predominantly:
- There’s no free version.
- It doesn’t include a solution for machine translation. This may or may not be an issue for you depending on your needs.
Price: Multilingual Blog version is $25. Multilingual CMS version (the cool one!) is $79.
Polylang is another popular WordPress translation plugin. It’s lightweight and easy to use, though its out-of-the-box feature set isn’t quite as robust as the previous plugins.
Basically, you’ll get a new language switcher addition to the WordPress post editor. With it, you can create different versions of your post (essentially, different translations) and assign each one to a specific language.
You can also translate all of your generic strings in Polylang’s interface. What do I mean by generic strings? Things like your site title, your date format, and other options that are displayed globally around your site.
So far, so good. But as of now, you have to do all of the translations manually. So what if you want to add machine or professional translations?
Well, you can’t do it with Polylang alone…but you can do it if you install the Lingotek plugin as an add-on for Polylang. With Lingotek, you’ll be able to manage both automatic and professional translations and sync them up with Polylang.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it gets the job done.
Polylang is a great option because it’s free. But as far as interfaces go, I think something like Weglot is much easier to use.
4. qTranslate X
With 100,000+ active installs and a 4.8-star rating, qTranslate X has deservedly earned its place on the list of best WordPress translation plugins.
Similarly to Polylang, qTranslate X adds language switcher fields to the WordPress Editor to allow you to quickly create translated versions of your posts
It also includes SEO-friendly URLs and can generate language-specific sitemaps with Yoast SEO.
Honestly, it’s a perfectly fine solution. But I don’t see any reason to choose it over Polylang. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t do anything better and comes with two drawbacks in comparison to Polylang:
- It doesn’t have any way to sync with translation services. Polylang’s method of syncing with Lingotek isn’t perfect, but at least it’s there.
- It doesn’t give you an easy way to translate the global strings used on your WordPress site.
So I’m including it because it’s free and undeniably popular, but in my determination, you’re better off going with the similarly free (and even more popular) Polylang plugin.
MultilingualPress takes a unique approach to WordPress translation. Instead of translating your content within your existing site, MultilingualPress creates separate installs for each language using WordPress Multisite.
Then, MultilingualPress gives you a lightweight user interface to connect all of those sites.
You can use MultilingualPress to create unlimited relationships between sites. For example, if your main site is in English, you could tell MultilingualPress to link it up with separate Multisite installs for Spanish and German.
Despite there being multiple installs using this approach, you don’t actually need to switch sites to edit translations. MultilingualPress’ interface lets you edit all translations from the same original post editor, which is quite convenient.
What’s the benefit of doing translation this way? Mainly that if you ever need to deactivate MultilingualPress, your translated content won’t disappear like with most other translation plugins. You’ll lose the interface that makes managing your translations easy. But you won’t lose the actual translated versions of your sites. That means there’s very little lock-in.
Additionally, it’s great for SEO because Google can easily index the full translated version of your site.
And I know the question you’re probably asking now – “if each translation is a separate site, what about my themes and plugins?”. Don’t worry – MultilingualPress includes a feature to sync both your theme and plugin settings across all of your translated sites.
Currently, MultilingualPress supports over 174 languages.
Honestly, I really like this approach. It might feel overly complicated if you’re a WordPress beginner, but if you already know your way around WordPress, MultilingualPress gives you a ton of flexibility.
Price: Free with an option to pay for premium support.
6. Google Language Translator
I’m ending with a plugin that is nowhere near as feature rich as all of the previous plugins. Nope! It’s basic and it only does one thing:
Add the Google Translator tool to your WordPress site. But if that’s all you need, it’s a great option because it’s super lightweight in comparison to the other tools.
You can add the translation shortcode to individual posts/pages or make it globally available via a widget.
Remember, though – your site will not be SEO friendly if you do translations this way. And because it’s machine translation, your translated content might not make sense.
But if you don’t want to invest a lot of time, this is absolutely the quickest and easiest way to add translation to your site.
Which WordPress Translation Plugin Should You Choose?
Can I give two suggestions? Because I think you’ll find two suggestions the most helpful.
If you’re not overly concerned about money, I think Weglot is the overall best option. It gives you so much flexibility over how you handle your translations. You can easily use machine, manual, or professional translation…or mix and match between the three as needed. It’s all SEO friendly, and the interface is a joy to use.
The only downside is that it’s a monthly charge for as long as you use the plugin.
If you are concerned about money, then you should go with Polylang. As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the interface. But it does everything you need and doesn’t cost a penny (unless you want machine or professional translation via Lingotek).
No matter which translation plugin you choose, make sure to nail your SEO so that you can enjoy all those new search rankings!
Now it’s over to you – have you used any of these translation plugins? Which was your favorite?