In this digital world, creating websites in two or more languages is quite frequent in different business segments on the internet. Whether you are a service provider who wants to expand your geographic reach or a company with customers worldwide, you need to translate the content as per the visitor’s language. And when we talk about content translation and multilingual sites, we remember WordPress because of the multiple WordPress translation plugins available for the same purpose. It is one of the famous content management systems used by more than 38% of all sites globally and contains a wide range of free and paid plugins & themes for particular purposes.
In this article, you will get a list of the best WordPress translation plugins with their pros and cons so that you can start using today on your website. Take a look at each plugin and choose a more appropriate one as per your business needs.
Before finalizing the best translation plugin for WordPress, it is essential to understand some aspects of the platform and the availability of translation tools.
First of all, it is essential to know that plugins can be used in any version of WordPress installed on a hosting server. In any free web hosting service, it isn’t easy to use the plugins and external themes.
Another critical point is that the WordPress control panel must be configured in the website’s primary language. In addition to facilitating the site’s management, this can also help in configuring plugins and themes that already have a translation into the primary language. If your WordPress is configured to be displayed in Brazilian Portuguese, for example, the themes and plugins that you install and that have a Brazilian Portuguese version (en-us) will already be displayed in this language.
Also, make sure that the theme you use or intend to use on your website is ready to be translated or support the language translation. This preparation involves aspects present in the theme’s source code. It is fundamental when it is desired to translate general elements of the site outside the content, such as menus and widgets. This aspect can be observed in the theme or plugin documentation. Fortunately, most professional themes and plugins are ready to be translated because nowadays, businesses are targeting multiple markets simultaneously.
By the way, if you haven’t created your site yet, check out this excellent tutorial explaining step by step how to create a WordPress site from start to finish like a professional.
Before installing any plugin, it is essential to reflect on how your website’s content will be translated. Do you want to perform the website translation manually or automatically?
Manual translation has a higher accuracy rate, as it requires writing the content by a human translator. On the other hand, it requires more time and can be more expensive if necessary, to hire a translator. In the manual process, it is common that texts to be translated needs to be inserted and published manually in WordPress, as it is done during the publication of any content in the CMS.
As compared to the manual translation process, machine translation can be incredibly faster to implement, and it is done by the system automatically, such as Google Translate. Keep in mind; the translated text can be strange, of low quality, and even contain errors. It is understood, there is no automatic translation system that is as accurate as a good human translator. Each language has its peculiarities and expressions that often cannot be translated literally. For this reason, machine translation can be of great help to streamline the process, but the ideal is to refine the result with a manual review.
Therefore, before choosing one of the best WordPress translation plugins for WordPress, it is essential to evaluate how the translation will be done and consider the aspects inherent to the selected method. The final solution for your particular requirement is to translate the text with any translation tool’s help and then review the errors or mistakes for the highest level of accuracy.
With all the considerations in mind, we have prepared a list of the best WordPress translation plugins available in the market.
The Weglot is a translation system that is compatible with WordPress websites and many other platforms, including Wix, WooCommerce, Shopify, and many others. The tool is used by almost 50 thousand websites (30 thousand WordPress sites) and has an evaluation of 4.8 (out of 5) by users in the WordPress plugins directory.
If you are looking for an external solution for language translation purposes, Weglot is one of the best WordPress translation plugins. It works as a subscription service, where the storage of translated text doesn’t impact your hosting server and saved on Weglot’s servers. Once installed, the plugin automatically detects the content of your website and makes it available for translation.
It has both manual and automatic translation to maintain a higher accuracy level; you can access the professional translators and the possibility of adding more users in higher plans.
Free for up to 2,000 words translated into a second language. Paid plans start at € 99 per year.
The WPML is a classic translation plugin for WordPress with over ten years of serving the people. It is modernized and fully compatible with the latest versions of WordPress. Currently, almost 1 million websites are using this plugin, making it the most popular in WordPress translation.
WPML stores all translations in the web site’s database and requires more generous use of the database and server resources if you run massive websites with many languages. On the other hand, the translated content is entirely yours and can be used even if you don’t renew the WPML.
The WPML license is renewed annually and entitles you to plugin version updates and email support. Keep in mind, if the annual license is not renewed, the plugin continues to function, but updates and support are interrupted.
Its compatibility with the most used plugins and themes – such as Yoast, Elementor, WooCommerce, and many others is the main reason behind the popularity of WPML. Moreover, the SEO optimization of the translated versions and an automatic translation system can be used as a starting point for manual translation.
WPML does not have a free version and starts at $ 29 per year.
The TranslatePress is the most user-friendly with the simple configuration and translations options. The translation is carried out directly on the website’s front-end, which means you can translate the website’s content as you browse the website. The plugin has more than 100,000 active installations and a rating of 4.6 (out of 5) in the WordPress plugin directory.
It is a self-hosted translation plugin with native integration with the WordPress block system (Gutenberg), which allows you to display different images according to the language. It also allows you to use automatic translations permanently or as a starting point for manual translation.
TranslatePress has a free version, which can be downloaded from the WordPress plugins directory or directly from the admin panel. Paid versions start at € 79 / year.
The Polylang is another popular translation plugin used by more than 500,000 websites with a rating of 4.7 (out of 5) in the WordPress directory.
The translation is done in the WordPress admin panel, and it is possible to translate several elements in addition to the main content, such as custom post types, widgets, menus, etc. It is compatible with most plugins and includes acceptable SEO practices in translations.
Polylang has a free version. Paid plans start at € 99 / year.
The MultilingualPress is a slightly different option for all those mentioned so far. The main difference lies in the fact that the plugin uses WordPress’s native Multisite function to create translated versions of the original language. This operation has its advantages and disadvantages.
Performance is advantageous: since each language corresponds to a different site, the page loading speed can be higher, with even more significant gains if a cache system is implemented. This operation also allows greater independence between the sites, making it possible to change the site’s appearance according to the language completely.
As a disadvantage, we can mention the most complex installation, which can be a little challenging for beginners and / or who have never managed the Multisite version of CMS. The same goes for administration and the panel for each site and has a centralized area for administering the site collection.
Another point that deserves attention is that MultilingualPress has a free version – but that is no longer supported – available in the WordPress directory. There is even a warning on the page informing you about the compatibility problems that were installing an old plugin can generate in newer versions of WordPress. The updated version of the plugin is only available on paid plans on the company’s website.
The annual license starts at $ 139.30 in the first year, with renewal at $ 199 / year.
The GTranslate is a translation service based on the cloud, offering automatic Google translation as a starting point. The plugin has more than 200,000 active installations with a rating of 4.9 (out of 5) in the WordPress directory.
When using GTranslate in one of the paid versions, the system makes a copy of the original website and automatically translates its content into the indicated language. This copy is stored externally, on GTranslate’s servers, without impacting the website’s hosting server. But it is highly recommended to use a cloud-based VPS server as your hosting.
GTranslate has a free version that does not store or edit translations. Paid versions start at $7.99 a month.
The Google Website Translator plugin offers WordPress integration with the Google Translate translation API. Although the API is no longer available to be implemented on new sites, this plugin continues to offer the feature. We tested it and it actually works. The Google website translator plugin by Prisna has more than 10,000 active installations and a rating of 4.5 (out of 5) in the WordPress directory.
The Google Website Translator automatically translates all elements on the page, but translation editing is only available in the paid version. It is among the fastest and easiest to configure translation plugins, however, it leaves something to be desired in more advanced aspects.
The plugin has a free version containing limited resources. The paid version consists of a $ 50-lifetime license (paid only once).
The Loco Translate is one of the best WordPress translation plugins used for a different purpose from the others presented here: it was created with the goal of translating themes and plugins. In other words: it cannot be used to translate the content of a website, such as posts and pages. Loco Translate has over 1 million active installations and rated 4.9 (out of 5) in the WordPress plugin directory. It is the best WordPress translation plugin for themes and plugins.
Its operation is based on the creation and manipulation of translation files in PO or POT formats. These formats are widely used for the translation of WordPress itself and also for themes and plugins. However, editing this type of file usually requires the use of external resources, such as specific programs. Loco Translate eliminates this need and allows the translation of themes and plugins directly in the WordPress dashboard.
Free for up to 2,000 translations (excerpts, not words). Paid plans start at $ 5.95 a month.
As we have seen, finding the best WordPress translation plugins is a task that must take into account the purpose, the budget, and the particular characteristics of each project.
For those looking for a solution that stores translations externally (as a service), the best WordPress translation plugins are Weglot and GTranslate. In these plugins, a monthly subscription is paid to keep the service running on external servers.
For those looking for more robust options, with several features and with the content stored on the site, WPML and Polylang are great alternatives. These are well-developed plugins that have followed the evolution of WordPress.
Google Website Translator is the right choice for those looking for a free plugin, easy to use, and automatic translation.
If the need is to obtain greater customizations between languages, such as changing the URL of the pages and the appearance. In that case, MultilingualPress is the solution, as it uses WordPress’s Multisite mode and creates an installation for each language.
Finally, if your goal is just to translate a theme or plugin, something that is much required after by developers, Loco Translate is the right option.
Remember that each project has unique characteristics and the recommendation of the best translation plugin for WordPress may differ from the ones presented here in some cases. Still, I hope I have managed to provide good options for those who want to conquer the world through a multi-language WordPress site.
Have any questions? Leave a comment and I will do my best to help you!