There’s no question that translating website content can help you reach a broader audience. Since we last posted about enhanced internationalization and multilingual site options, we’ve discovered more resources for translating website content.
First, consider your needs.
Next, pick a plugin.
Now that you know what content you need to prioritize, it’s time to consider the technical solutions. When custom solutions like the one we built for Access Now aren’t an option, WordPress provides a gamut of plugins for translating website content. Let’s walk through the plugins with your end goals in mind:
Create a single post for each language.
- Goal: Each language version of an article is set up as its own post. These are then linked together, indicating that one is the translation of the other.
- Recommended plugin: WPML (Plugin cost: $29-$195)
- Hey look! Here’s one example we built: World Jewish Restoration Organization
|Each translated post has its own post, helping you fine-tune your changes||Each translated post has its own post which increases the size of your database|
|Translates menu items, breadcrumbs||Cost (but let’s be real…it’s not terrible)|
|Popular and well-tested||Compatibility — consider how this will work with your themes or other out-of-box solutions|
Accommodate all languages in a single post.
- Goal: All language alternatives are stored and edited in the same post.
- Recommended Plugin: qTranslate X (Cost: FREE, donation recommended)
|Easy to use interface||Changing menu languages is not as easy as WPML|
|Side-by-side editing of content in different languages||Uninstalling the plugin can be complicated|
|Free and well-supported||Cannot set different urls for the same content without extra add-ons|
Automatically translate all of your site content.
- Goal: In this scenario, all content on your site is translated (including comments) and users can change the language by simply selecting another language from a dropdown menu.
- Recommended Plugin: GTranslate (Cost: FREE)
|Fast and comprehensive (so many languages!)||Not as accurate as manually creating content (a.k.a. “human translation”)|
|Free||Cannot change/edit the translated content|
Manage translated content as multiple sites.
- Goal: Language versions are set up as separate WordPress sites, which are linked together with a plugin so visitors can ping back and forth between them.
- Recommended Plugin: Multilingual Press (Cost: FREE)
|Powerful with easy synching||Requires implementation and knowledge of WordPress Multisite (with its own pros and cons)|
|No plugin lockin (i.e., each site can work without the plugin and function on its own)||See above — ya gotta deal with WP Multisite 🙂|
Other options for translating website content.
Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Yes, it’s true: Human translations are more readable and user-friendly than machine translations, and there’s a high potential for unanticipated LOLs when translating website content with machine translation. But they’re also expensive and labor intensive.
Good news! There are great options for human translations, as well:
- Aboum.com works exclusively with nonprofits to create human translations.
- TransPerfect.com does local market SEO research and multilingual keyword work.
- LanguagesSpeak.com covers over 240 languages.
- There are also translation collectives that focus on translations for political/social movements, like this Miami-based collective and this NYC-based cooperative.
If you’ve gotten this far down the list, then maybe you’re feeling like you just can’t afford human translation because of time or funds? Well, there’s always Google Translate (duhhhh, we know). Bablic may be the perfect solution: it starts with machine translation, but lets you override what you’d like to create a perfected translation in less time.
Now get out there and enlighten your site visitors with the content they need, in the language they read. Good luck with the translations, friends!