Did you know that there are over 3 billion Internet users worldwide? And guess what – it’s a fairly good guess that not all of them speak the language you use on your WordPress site.
So if you want to reach those markets, you need to translate your WordPress site. But translating your site is a time-consuming and expensive process, right? Maybe before…but not anymore.
The Weglot WordPress plugin makes it easy to automatically translate your content into any one of its 40+ supported languages. It literally takes just a few minutes to create a fully translated, SEO-friendly version of your site.
And in this post, I’m going to show you how. As someone who lives in a foreign country and has worked with translation services, I’ve been itching to use Weglot for some time. And let me tell you, Weglot does not disappoint.
Keep reading to learn more about Weglot and how easy it is to use to translate your WordPress site.
How Does Weglot Work?
Weglot automatically translates your entire WordPress site into one or more languages that you specify. Then, because automatic machine translation isn’t 100% accurate, it lets you manually refine and manage those translations. And best of all, all the translations it creates are SEO-friendly.
I’m going to show you a real example of Weglot in action a bit further down this page. But before I get into the hands on tutorial/review, I think it’s important to give you a brief rundown of how Weglot functions on your site.
When you install the plugin, not much happens inside the actual WordPress dashboard. You have a few things to configure, but the vast majority of the magic happens at the actual Weglot site.
Once you run Weglot, it automatically translates all of your content into the languages you choose. There’s nothing else to configure inside the WordPress dashboard.
If you want to further manage your site, you do everything else in the Weglot dashboard. Don’t worry if you’re still a little bit confused – I’m going to show you the whole process below. I’ll include plenty of screenshots to help you make sense of things.
Come check it out…
Installing and Using Weglot
Now that you’ve got the big picture, I’m going to take you through exactly how to use Weglot to translate your WordPress website.
You get started by installing the free plugin from wordpress.org. The plugin is free, but the translations are only free for your first 2,000 words. After that, you’ll need to pay (more on that later).
Once you activate the plugin, there’s only one settings page to configure in your WordPress dashboard.
How to Configure Weglot Settings Page
Once you activate Weglot, you’ll see a new Weglot tab in your sidebar. It lets you configure which languages your site should use as well as how the language switcher button should appear.
First, you need to add your API key and choose your original language, as well as the Destination Languages for your site. Destination Languages are just those languages you’d like to translate your content into. I’ll choose Vietnamese because I live in Hanoi:
If you’re having trouble finding your API key, you get it by creating an account at the Weglot website.
Next, you need to set up how your language switcher button looks and functions. This is how your visitors will actually change between the different translations of your site.
I’ll turn on all the options so you can get a feel for what you can use. But you don’t need to use all of them. You’ll be able to preview everything at the top of the settings box:
Easy enough, right? I’m a fan of using both flags and text, personally. You can also add custom CSS if you’d like.
A little further down, you also get to choose where you want your language switcher button to be located. You can add it:
- To your navigation menu
- Via a widget
- With a shortcode
- With an HTML code snippet
And finally, you have the optional ability to exclude certain URLs or CSS selectors from being translated. For example, you could create a CSS class to exclude all the text you put into that class from translation:
And once you save your settings, you’re finished! You now have a multilingual site. Pretty dang simple, right?
How Weglot Works on Your Front-end Site
Now that I’ve got my translations running, I want to show you how Weglot works on the front-end.
I’m going to include my URL bar in the screenshots. Pay attention to it because Weglot does some important things for SEO.
Here’s a shot of the English version of a test post I created:
Notice the URL and the language switcher buttons. Now, I’m going to flip things into Vietnamese:
First, look at the URL. Weglot creates a completely new URL so that your content can be indexed in both languages. Some translation plugins translate your content dynamically, which doesn’t give you any SEO benefit. Weglot creates an indexable version of your translated page.
It also translates all of the links so that Google can crawl everything. So for my example, Google could crawl and index the full Vietnamese version of my site.
You can see how the internal links are automatically switched to the Vietnamese version of my site in the screenshot below:
Second, notice how Weglot translates every single string on the page. It doesn’t just translate the content in the post – it also translates the date, the placeholder in the search box, the widget titles…everything.
Best of all, translating my site in such a powerful way literally took one minute.
Managing Your Weglot Translations
So far, the translation process couldn’t be simpler. But there’s one problem…
Automatic translations are not perfect. See, Weglot used a machine to translate your whole site. While quick and simple, that means there might be some oddities contained in your translations. For some content, that might be ok. But if it’s a sales page or something else where language is especially important, you need a perfect translation.
To fix those oddities, you (or a professional translator that you can hire directly through the dashboard) need to go into the Weglot dashboard to manage your translations.
When you sign into Weglot, you’ll see a quick overview of your plan:
Then, you can manage your translations in two different ways:
- Visual editor: You can edit your translations directly on your website. Think of how you edit text with a visual page builder.
- List of translations: You edit your translations in what is basically a .po file interface. That is, it’s just a list of text strings with their associated translations.
I’ll start with the visual editor. Once you open it, you’ll see a live version of your site. To edit any of the text, all you need to do is click on the relevant portion:
And once you click on it, you can edit the translation. Weglot will also tell you whether the translation was done by a machine or a human. And if it was machine translated, you can automatically place an order to have it translated by a human directly from this interface:
Contrast that with the List of translations editor:
You can quickly filter by words or type. And just like the visual editor, you can easily place an order for professional human translation. You can also run search and replaces to easily update multiple bits of text.
Any changes you make in either of the editors will automatically update to the live version of your site.
How Much Does Weglot Cost?
Weglot offers a limited machine translated plan. After that, you’ll need to pay. Here are the current plans:
- Free – translate up to 2,000 words into one language.
- Starter – 9.90€ /month – translate up to 10,000 words into one language.
- Business – 19€ /month – translate up to 500,000 words into unlimited languages.
- Pro – 49€ /month – translate up to 2,000,000 words into unlimited languages.
With all of the plans, you also get access to pro translators for 0.08€/ word.
Basically, if you want to translate your entire blog, you’re probably looking at the Business plan. If you just have a static website, you might be able to skate by with the Starter plan. And the Free plan is nice for experimenting with, but 2,000 words won’t be enough to translate your entire website site. Still, if you just need to translate a few sales pages, it might be able to help out.
Wrapping Things Up
As someone who’s personally worked with .po files to translate a website, I can attest that Weglot is infinitely easier to use than most other methods of creating a multilingual site.
It’s super simple to set up. And once you get your machine translations, it’s easy to go through and correct them as needed.
I also love that Weglot is SEO friendly. English search rankings are competitive places, so opening up a whole new list of potential search rankings is a powerful thing.
The only thing to consider with Weglot is the price. It’s a monthly (or yearly) charge, rather than a one-off fee. So you really need to be committed to using Weglot. Make sure you put effort into SEO optimizing your translated pages to get the most value.
Otherwise, I can’t say enough positive things about it. Weglot is great and I wish my company would’ve used it when I was manually slogging through .po file translations.