How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Site (Mega Tutorial)

Do you want to learn how to create a multilingual WordPress site? In this post, we’re going to discuss how you can translate your WordPress site into multiple languages. It’s your complete guideline on WordPress multilingual site journey.

Having a website allows you to reach more people which is amazing for your business or personal use. If you translate your website into multiple languages, it can reach even more people and will help you connect a greater number of audience.

That sounds really awesome, right? But the thing is, many people don’t know how to create a multilingual website. In this post, we’re going to learn how to create a multilingual WordPress site with multiple plugins. You can also translate your WordPress site without any plugins. We’ll show you both methods. But first, we’ll discuss what is a multilingual website and its importance.

What is a multilingual WordPress website?

A multilingual WordPress website offers the same content in multiple languages. You can configure it to redirect the users to a language used in that particular region. Or you can also create a dropdown menu with multiple languages from where the users can select the language they prefer.

There are a couple of ways through which you can translate your WordPress website into multiple languages. These are:

  • Manually translate all the content into languages of your choice with the help of human translators.
  • Using machine translations of your existing content by using an auto-translate service.

One thing to note is that Google Translate has stopped supporting new accounts for website translation. The remaining options are either not free or not very good.

So the best approach to translating your WordPress site is to do it manually. In this way, you can maintain the quality of your content. You can do this yourself, or hire a professional to do it for you.

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Advantages of a multilingual WordPress site

Besides reaching more visitors and better connecting with them, there are some other benefits of having a multilingual WordPress site. In fact, having a multilingual site will enhance your site’s overall experience. Let’s take a look at some of those advantages:

Builds trust and credibility

A multilingual WordPress site helps you build trust and credibility among potential clients. In a survey, it was seen that around 76% of customers like to buy products with descriptions that are in their native language.

The research also showed that most of these customers are likely to become repeat customers. Therefore, turning your WordPress site into a multilingual website doesn’t only increase customer loyalty, it also improves your business.

Improved SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is very important if you want your website to reach more people. WordPress developers use good SEO plugins to improve their site’s SEO scores. You might be wondering how a multilingual WordPress site will improve your SEO. This is because when you translate the same content into different languages, the search engines may crawl and index them as different pieces of content. This process is known as multilingual SEO.

With this method, a piece of content appears on different search engine result pages (SERPs) and potentially gains more clicks.

Reducing bounce rates and improving conversion rates

According to CSA’s “Can’t read won’t buy study” 72.1% of consumers spend most of their time on websites with their native language. This means, foreign customers, upon visiting your site have fewer chances to leave or bounce off when they discover your site is available in their native language.

Therefore your bounce rate will decrease and your conversion rates will increase. Because your customers will be more confident if they understand every step of the purchase.

Enhanced user experience

Exhibiting your website’s contents in multiple languages will help visitors navigate your site properly. Language is one of the primary components of a website’s UX as it allows users to read and understand a website. 

How to create a multilingual WordPress site using a plugin

There are several multilingual WordPress plugins that you can use to display your site’s content in multiple languages. These plugins help you manage your translations making it easier for your users. Here are a few popular multilingual WordPress plugins that will help you translate your WordPress site.

  • Weglot
  • Translatepress
  • WPML
  • Polylang

Using any of these plugins will make the translations a lot easier for you. All these plugins have the features to help you transform your WordPress site into a multilingual website. With these plugins you can:

  • Translate posts, pages, products, categories, tags, plugins, and themes.
  • Set up SEO-friendly URLs for each language.

Through this method, you can easily translate your entire WordPress site and manage them properly. Now that we know what plugins we’ll be using, let’s transform your site into a multilingual WordPress website.

How to create a multilingual WordPress site using Weglot

Weglot is also a powerful plugin for translating your WordPress site into multiple languages. The plugin has 50,000+ active installations with high ratings. You can install the free version of Weglot from the WordPress plugin repository. However, one disadvantage of the free version is that it limits the number of words you can translate. But you can sign up for a free trial which allows you to experience the full power of Weglot.

👉 Get Weglot Now

installing weglot

First, we have to configure Weglot. You click on the Weglot option on your WordPress dashboard or you can click on Configure Weglot on a notification that appears as soon as you activate Weglot.

weglot main configuration

No matter if you’re using the free or premium version, you need an API key to continue. To get the API key for the free version you can visit Weglot’s website and sign up for a free account. Once you’ve signed up and confirmed your email account, you’ll receive the API key.

weglot api key

Copy the API key and paste it on your WordPress website. As soon as you do this, your website will be translated into the language you’ve selected. A language switcher will be added to the bottom right corner of your webpage. You can visit your site, and use the language switcher to switch to the language you want your site to be translated to.

weglot full page translation

Weglot has a dashboard where you can manage your translations. Now if you want to look at some Weglot settings, you can visit Weglot > Main configuration from your WordPress dashboard. To check or edit your translations, click on the “Edit my translations” button.

weglot edit translations

This will take you to your dashboard. Here you can manage all your translations. You can also edit your translations by clicking on any one of your translations. This feels like one of the most effective methods of translation. 

So that is how to create a multilingual WordPress site using some of the most popular multilingual WordPress plugins. You can use any of these plugins to convert your WordPress site into a multilingual website. This will in turn bring in more traffic and will help you build loyalty among foreign customers.

This will also boost your SEO score and will help you extend your website’s reach. There are several benefits of having a multilingual WordPress site. It won’t only boost your traffic and conversion rates, it will also improve your site’s overall UX (user experience).

👉 Video: How to Translate a WordPress Website with Weglot

👉 Get Weglot Now

How to create a multilingual WordPress site using TranslatePress

TranslatePress is a very popular and widely used multilingual plugin for WordPress. It has several multilingual features that assist you in translating your web content. What makes TeanslatePress so amazing is that it allows you to translate your article as you create one. Some other multilingual plugins create multiple versions of the article in order to translate it.

TranslatePress also has a live editor that allows you to translate the visual elements of your WordPress website. However, you need to purchase the TranslatePress paid version in order to use some of the advanced features such as the advanced translation interface, flexible language switcher, integration with Google Translate, etc. For this demonstration, we’ll be using the free version.

👉 Get TranslatePress Now

First, we have to install and activate TranslatePress from the WordPress plugin repository. If you need help, you can check out our video tutorial on how to install a WordPress plugin. 

installing translatepress

You also need to install the “Multiple Languages” add-on if you want to translate your content into more than one language. To access the add-on section, simply click on the add-on tab from TranslatePress settings. Note that this addon is only available if you purchase any of the TranslatePress premium plans.

multiple languages addon in translatepress

After activating the add-on and configuring the plugin settings, go to Settings > TranslatePress. If you’ve purchased any TranslatePress paid plans, go to the ‘License’ tab and put in your license key to register your product. If not, you can still continue with the free version.

After you validate your license key, click on the ‘General‘ settings tab. The first option that you’ll see here is the default language of your website and the languages you want to translate it to. You can click on the drop-down and select the language you want to translate your website to. After selecting, click on the ‘Add’ button to add that language. If you have the Multiple Languages add-ons, you can add more than one language.

translatepress general settings

There are more options such as the native language name. Here you can choose to display the language names in the native form. It’s a neat little feature that you can try. There are several more features such as the force language in custom links, language switcher, etc. You can look around and check out each option. After you’re done, scroll down and click on the “Save Changes” button.

Once you’re done with the general settings, click on the ‘Automatic Translation’ tab. Here, if you enable automatic translation, more options become available. Firstly, you can choose which translation engine you want to use. You can choose between Google Translate and DeepL. If you choose DeepL you need Translate Pro addon. If you choose Google Translate, you have to visit Google Cloud and find your Google Translate API key. 

translatepress automatic translation

The automatic translation is great if you have a small website. But in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to manually translate your website’s content. For this, you can ask a friend who speaks in that language to ensure that you’re conveying the proper message.

To start translating your site manually click on the ‘Translate Site’ tab (blue background) or locate ‘Translate Site’ on the top bar and click on it to open the translator. This will look a lot like the usual theme customizer but it’s for language.

how to create a multilingual wordpress site

With the translation editor open, you can hover your mouse over the content you want to translate and click on the edit button (pencil icon) to select that string. After selecting, you’ll see a field called “To Arabic” or any other language that you’ve selected. Add your translation here.

👉 Get TranslatePress Now

In this way, you can select each component of your website and translate each content one by one to translate your whole WordPress site. After you’re done, click on the ‘Save’ button on top to save your changes. If you face difficulty in translating, you can press the ‘Save’ button after each translation. To test if everything’s working, simply click on the ‘X’ button on the top left corner of the screen to close the editor. Now hover your mouse over the language switcher and select the language you want to translate to.

translatepress language switcher

As soon as you click on the language you want to translate your content to, your site’s content will change according to the translations you’ve added. That is how you can use TranslatePress to translate your site’s content.

How to create a multilingual WordPress site using WPML

WPML or WordPress Multi-Lingual is one of the most popular and widely used multilingual WordPress plugins. With WPML you can manage multiple languages for your WordPress website. However, WPML is a premium plugin and there’s no free version. So in order to use it, you must purchase WPML.

After you’ve purchased your WPML plan, upload and activate your WPML plugin. Next, you’ll be asked to enter your license. Register with your site’s URL and you’ll receive a license key, use that license key to register your WPML.

Once you register WPML, you’ll see a list of other plugins that are compatible with WPML. Simply choose the plugins you want to install and click on the “Download” button.

Before you start translating, you need to configure WPML. From your WordPress dashboard, you can click on the WPML option added to your right sidebar, or you can click on the ‘Configure WPML’ button on the top. This will initiate the WPML setup wizard with seven steps.

👉 Get WPML Now

Step 1: Languages

For the first step, you can choose what’s the current language of your website and what other translations you would like to add. You can select multiple languages. After you’re done, click on the ‘Continue’ button to proceed to the next step.

wpml setup step wizard

Step 2: URL Format

In the next step, you can setup your URL format. In our case, we’ve selected Arabic for example, so if we translate our page into Arabic, our URL will have “/ar” or “/?lang=ar” at the end depending on what option we choose. You can also select a different domain per language if you wish.

Step 3: Register WPML

If you haven’t registered your WPML, now you have the chance to add your site key. If you don’t have your site key, you can click on the “Get a key for this site” link just below the site key field.

wpml site registration

It is also important to note that, while registering your site, you might get the option to add the number of credits you want. These credits will be useful if you want to use the automatic translation feature.

Step 4: Translation Mode

Next, you can choose the translation mode you prefer. You can choose between automatic translation or manual translation. The automatic translation translates all your published content automatically. It uses Google, Microsoft, or Deepl machine translations to translate your content.

wpml translation mode

You can choose the automatic translation mode if you don’t have enough time to translate the contents manually. However, the machine translations by Google, Microsoft, and Deepl are not free, you can use the credits that you received after purchasing a WPML license to do your translations.

We’re going to choose the manual “Translate What You Choose” process and show you how to translate the content of your site. You can also use this step to collaborate with other translators or hire a professional. If you do choose this method, you will be asked who will translate this site after you press the “Continue” button.

Step 5: Support

In this section, you can choose if you want to share your site’s info with the WPML team so that they can provide support. If you choose “Yes”, then a list of plugins and themes installed on your WordPress site will be sent to wpml.org. This will allow the WPML support team to support you in advance about compatibility issues and solutions.

Step 6: Plugins

You can also choose any WPML components, or toolset to better translate your site. In the beginning, we selected some of the components so in our setup wizard, those components are not visible. If you’re running a WooCommerce site, then you have to select the “WooCommerce Multilingual & Multicurrency” component.

wpml plugins and components

You can also click on the “Skip” link if you don’t want to install anything right now. After you select the components you want to install, click on the “Install and active” button and wait for the components to get installed.

👉 Get WPML Now

When you click on continue, it will move on to the final step. Click on the ‘Finish’ button to complete your WPML setup.

If you’re running a WooCommerce site and selected the “WooCommerce Multilingual & Multicurrency” component, then after you finish the setup wizard, another WooCommerce setup wizard will be launched. The WooCommerce Multilingual setup wizard has 4 steps.

Step 1: Store pages

In the first step, your store pages with your selected languages will be created. WPML will generate translated versions of your Shop, Account, Checkout, and Cart pages. Click on the “Continue” button and the translated versions of your store pages will be generated.

Step 2: Global Attributes

You can choose which product attributes you want to change. For universal attributes, that means the values that are based on numbers and codes might not need to be translated. If you don’t want to select any attributes at the moment, you can click on the “Continue” button to move on to the next step.

Step 3: Multiple Currencies

You can add multiple currencies to your online store using WPML. Just add a currency switcher, set the exchange rates, and create custom pricing in each currency. This makes your WooCommerce store more diverse and will attract customers from different parts of the world.

Step 4: Translation option

Now you can choose to either automatically translate all the products, or choose which products you want to translate. Here, the automatic option might be a good choice if you have a lot of products. Now, click on the continue button to complete the WooCommerce WPML setup.

If you’ve selected automatic translations, then you will need to assign credits. If you’ve selected manual translations, then you have to manually translate your pages. To do that, navigate to WPML > Translation Management and select the pages you want to translate. Then scroll down and select the “Translate myself” option and click on the “Add to Translation Queue” button.

wpml translation management

This will take some time depending on the size of your website. But after it’s finished you can begin your translations. Remember, you can also use the automatic translations but you need to spend some credits. You will get some of these credits when you purchase WPML. You can also select the “pay as you go” option to pay credits as you translate.

To translate the pages manually go to WPML > Translations and find the page you want to translate. Click on the “Translate” button beside the page and you can start translating. Now you’ll see a table where every text of your page is shown. Here you can translate each line one by one. Simply click on the ‘+’ icon and add your translation to the box which is on the right side of the table. After you’re done, click on the green tick mark to accept the translation.

wpml manual translation

In this way, you can translate each line of your website manually. You can also see your translation progress at the bottom of your page. If you want to save your translation, you can click on the “Save to translation memory” link located at the bottom left corner of the screen. Click on the “Complete” button to finish your translation for that page.

WPML makes it easy to manage all your translations. You can also hire translators and manage all your translations from one place.

👉 Get WPML Now

How to create a multilingual WordPress site using Polylang

You can also use Polylang to create a multilingual WordPress site. First, you have to install and activate the plugin. It has both free and paid versions. As soon as you activate the plugin a setup wizard will be launched. Let’s explore the setup wizard below step by step.

Step 1: Languages

In the first step, you can choose the languages you want to translate to. Click on the drop-down menu and select your language and click on the “Add new language” button to add that language. You can also add multiple languages. If you’re not sure, you can click on the “Not right now” link at the bottom.

polylang setup wizard

After completing this step, click on the “Continue” button to move to the next step.

Step 2: Media

Polylang can also translate text attached to your media file such as the title, alt text, caption, etc. To use this feature, you must activate the media translation, which can be done from this step. Note that you might see multiple entries of a media file in your WordPress media library. This is because Plolylang creates a new media file per language.

You can keep it disabled if you’re not sure about it right now. Click on the “Continue” button to proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Content

Here you can assign a language to your content. If your website is in English by default, you can choose English from the list and click on the “Continue” button to move on. 

Step 4: Ready!

At this point, Polylang has applied all the changes to your WordPress site. You can click on the “Read Documentation” button to learn how to translate your posts, pages, tags, categories, etc. You can also view your translated pages or you can return to your dashboard.

polylang setup completion

After that, you can go to your WordPress website and view the translations. To add translations of different languages, you can head to your WordPress pages or posts section and click on the ‘+’ icon under the language you want to add.

translating pages in polylang

Now you can create a translated version of that page. You can also do the same thing for posts as well.

You can customize your language names, position, etc. from Languages > Languages from your WordPress dashboard. To add your language selector to your menu, go to Appearance> Menu from your WordPress dashboard. Now you’ll find “Languages” as a menu item. Select it and add it to your main menu.

👉 Get Polylang Now

How to create a multilingual WordPress site without using plugins

Without enough WordPress knowledge, it is possible to create a multilingual website without using any additional plugins. But the process is time taking as it involves creating multiple pages. If you have some experience with WordPress you already know what we’re talking about.

Yes, you have to manually create each page of your WordPress site and then create the same content in another language. Let’s look at an example and see how that is possible.

Step 1: Create a page for a new language

First, let’s create a new page for the same content but in a different language. From your WordPress dashboard go to Pages > Add New. Now add all your content in the language you want your website to be. For example, we want to create our page in Arabic. We will place all the content in Arabic.

Step 2: Add language permalink

After you’re done adding that page in your preferred language, you now need to configure the permalink. At the end of the URL, put in the language code to make it more user-friendly.

After adding the permalink, click on the ‘Publish’ or ‘Update’ button to make this page live.

Step 3: Add page link

Now that you have a translated version of the same page, you can add a link to this page. First, copy the link to this page and then go to the original page. Depending on which page builder you’re using, create a paragraph block/element and add text letting users know that this page is available in another language.

After that, click on the ‘link’ icon and add the link to your translated page. Although this will not look that much appealing, it still gets the job done. If you are good at design, you can use your page builder to design this in a more attractive manner.

That is how to create a multilingual WordPress site without using any plugins. You might already have guessed how tough this will be as you have to go through each page translating and adding links. But we thought it was still worth mentioning.

Conclusion

That brings our mega tutorial to an end. We hope this helped you learn how to create a multilingual site in WordPress. Although there are some free multilingual plugins, the best way to translate your content with the least headache is to get a premium plugin. You can use the automatic translation services that some of these plugins provide and then check if the translations are to your liking. For this, you can also hire a professional in order to ensure that the tone of the language is perfect.

Some of these plugins might look a bit expensive but if you compare the benefits, then you’ll know it’s worth it! There’s still a way through which you can translate your WordPress site without using any plugin but that will take some time and energy.

This concludes our WordPress multilingual tutorial. We hope that this article was helpful. If you have any questions, you can ask in the comments and we will try our best to answer those. So, which plugin or service/method would you prefer for translating your WordPress site? Let us know in the comments.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links and we may receive a small commission if you purchase something by following them. However, we recommend services/products that we believe good to serve your purpose.

Staff Author

Staff Author

A team of WordPress enthusiasts led by Arafat Bin Sultan, a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in tech blogging, content marketing, and video creation.

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