Creating a WordPress Multilingual Website through WPML

Posted On Monday, 08 March 2021 21:06

In the past, many website owners seeking a multilingual website turned to machine translation, relying on robotic algorithms to translate their web content as opposed to real-life humans. In many cases, the results were not even close to a correct translation, which is problematic both in terms of brand image and consequently sales. Frankly, no matter the progression of AI, a machine will never be able to determine context, tone and feeling like a human translator can. 

Luckily, nowadays, there are other solutions available to those looking to create a multilingual website in WordPress. There are WordPress plugins that link real-life translators directly with your web content. While there are many valid options available, the most widely used is WPML. So, let’s take a look at this particular plugin in a little more detail. 

What is WPML?

WPML, which stands for WordPress Multilingual, is a plugin that allows authors to write in different languages and translate content directly within the plugin through their cloud-based interface.  

What does this mean for website owners?

If a website owner is looking for their website to be professionally translated, the first thing a translator or website translation agency will ask for is the word count. This would, normally, involve copious amounts of copying and pasting text from each individual page of the website into a Word document.

With WPML, this is all done for you. You can select which pages you want translated and WPML will count the total number of words to be translated on each page. This means a website owner can easily provide the word count to a professional translator and get a quote.

Another problem that website owners may come across, is that they may not want to give a translator access to their website to insert the translated texts in the back-end manually. The old-age solution to this was for website owners to add the texts in manually themselves, but this is a very tedious and time-consuming task. 

With WPML, this can be easily managed. WPML will give your chosen translators access to the text files through a cloud-based platform. The translator downloads the files from the cloud, translates them and uploads them back to the cloud. Then, the translated pages automatically appear without the need for tedious copying or pasting or giving anyone access to your website. 

WPML is an optimal choice when it comes to translating webpages. It is a nice, easy, smooth process and saves you a lot of time and trouble.  If you’re interested in using this tool to make your website multilingual, below are the steps for setting up.

Step by Step Procedure of Setting Up the WPML Plugin

1. Download the Plugin

First things first. Head to your WP dashboard and click on the “Plugins” option. Then, search for WPML. It is a paid plugin, so you will need to choose which of their plans suits your requirements best and make the purchase

2. Accessing WPML

After activation, you'll notice the WPML logo in your WP dashboard. Click on it, and it will lead you to a set-up wizard. The wizard then guides you through the procedure of setting it up.

3. Choosing the Main Language

This setting often remains unchanged by most users, but if you want to change the primary language, you can. After this, you can add secondary languages in which your website can be viewed. 

4. Language Switcher

The language switcher allows users to switch to the language of their choosing. You can enable it to be displayed on your website after choosing the languages the webpage can be translated into.

5. Position of the Switcher

The switcher has multiple display options. You can add it as a side button or even as flags. Decide where you want your switcher to appear on your website and adjust its display settings accordingly. After this, input the site key, which can be accessed by clicking on the “Generate a key” option.

6. Registration of the Site

Non-registered websites do not get updated automatically, so it’s a good idea to save yourself from any issues in future and get your site registered. You can register it through the WPML website. You’ll get a site key after that. Paste it into your WP site.

7. Enjoy!

The procedure is simple and hassle-free. You can easily now add content to your website in any language and enjoy the benefits of having multilingual webpages.

Displaying Multilingual Content 

Adding content in different languages is not a difficult process either. All you have to do is head to the WP dashboard. You can access the list of posts there. Clicking on that will open another series of options. You’ll see extra columns for language next to each title.

Simply choose the “Add” button in your preferred language for each post you want to be translated.

This can also be done in another way. Click on the “edit” option of any post and click on the “language” sub-option. You can set your custom translation from there or enable other users to do the same.

WPML enables you to set multiple different authorization roles. These roles can be assigned to other users for managing translations.

Notice that these other administrators cannot directly edit the posts. WPML shows the translations of posts after they’re set by an admin. 

We advise you handle the translations of menus, sub-menus, or tags individually. This is to eliminate the possibility of anything being displayed in the primary language.

After translating the content, you can save it and include it in the navigation board. Any element or content can be translated specifically through this software.


WPML can save you a lot of money, effort, and time by allowing you to customize translations, handle display options, and create a multilingual website, simply by accessing one dashboard. 

There are other plugins to explore, and we may look at these in more detail in the future. The important thing to remember, whatever plugin you decide to use, machine translation has no place on your website. 

If you are looking to translate your website to appeal to a wider target audience, the best way to do this is to use a professional translator. This is the only way you can guarantee that your text flows well, resonates with your foreign consumers, effectively describes and sells your product or service and maintains your brand image overseas. It may not be the cheaper option, but it will certainly both save and generate money for you in the long-run.

We hope this guide proves helpful to anyone looking to make their website multilingual.

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