As we know that WordPress is not multilingual by default. We need to embed plugins to make it support different languages. Since the concept of “global connectivity” is growing at a rapid pace, businesses need to create ways for communicating with others easily and in the most seamless way.

It’s not surprising that there is a large chunk of people who do not speak English. In fact, we often find a lot of people in support forums who converse in different languages. To make sure that your website attracts people globally, it is worthwhile to make it friendly for those who do not speak English. One way to do is by building a localized version for your website for each region or country or you can use plugins to make it automatically support the language of the country it’s being browsed.

In this post, we will show you some top-notch multilingual WordPress plugins that will help you turn any WordPress site into a multilingual site.

1. WPML (Premium)

wpml wordpress plugin

WPML is all you need to easily build and run a multilingual website. It comes complete with the support for 40 languages, plus, you also have the facility for adding language variables such as local dialects, by using the language editor. WPML is so popular that it becomes a kind of standard for WordPress themes and plugins. At the moment, it’s the most popular and completed solution for the multilingual problem. I highly recommend using this plugin in your websites.

With WPML, you’ll be receiving three pricing plans- Multilingual Blog, Multilingual CMS and Multilingual Lifetime. The blog and CMS are updated yearly. The plugin is fantastic enough to translate the page, posts, custom types, taxonomies and even themes. It is also compatible with a myriad of themes and plugins and is often updated by the WordPress’ webmasters.

The plugin is great in many of the aspects but if you love simplicity then WPML might not be the choice for you. The plugin has a bit complicated structure and needs to hook WordPress functions and filter them to make only those contents displayed that matches the language. Plus, you need to manage some additional tables, to hold the translation grouping.

2. Multilingual Press (Free)

Multilingual Press is an awesome WordPress translation plugin designed to link multiple websites with each other. The plugin allows you to set the main language for each site, connect all of them, and write for them. It enables you to translate your website into 174 different languages. Each translation of a page can be viewed under WordPress the post editor. The plugin is also available in the pro version, with some additional collection of features such as automatically redirecting your visitors to the translated content, provides support for custom types, and offer several other useful settings on the back end.

This plugin does not change the existing database. The details of the relationships between translated content are stored in two specialized and highly optimized tables instead (one for posts and terms, on for site relationships). You can safely drop those tables, and all the other tables will stay intact, all the existing content will stay available. No other plugin offers this amount of data integrity. See the comment for full description, very interesting!

3. qTranslate

qTranslate is a free and the most WordPress plugin used for making your website multilingual. It is quick to install and easy to use. From its dashboard, you can easily add your default list of translations from the 17 languages and also integrate new ones.

It provides a very seamless way for translating different posts, pages, within post editors, and helps you get rid of the tiring process of creating the separate post for each language.

Talking about the downside of qTranslate, being a free plugin, you can be sure of how much longer the plugin will be updated. Plus, using it on a website that supports a lot of languages is a bit complicated.

4. xili-Language

Xili-Language is a great WordPress plugin that helps you create and manage a multilingual website with ease. The plugin is a great way to determine the languages of multiple pages and posts and works amazingly with bilingual and multilingual websites.

The plugin does not translate your website but makes sure that each post and content that has been published in different languages on the website is provided with an adequate language support.

It also displays a widget on your sidebar showing a list of languages that your website supports. And, as soon as a visitor clicks on a language, it displays the range of articles which have been published in that language.

Xili, just like qTranslate mixes up all the content together in the database, which poses a big challenge.  Plus, the plugin is targeted for professional WordPress developers having a deep understanding WordPress network.

5. Google Language Translator (Free)

This free WordPress plugin lets you add a language widget with up to 81 flags anywhere on your website. It also displays a drop-down menu to show the list of all the languages supported by the website. You can also add a widget to posts and pages using a shortcode, and on themes as well with the help of PHP functions.

One of the best advantages of using Google Language Translator is its ability to effectively manage multiple languages directly via Google accounts and tracking site traffic through Google Analytics.

However, the plugin has its own flaws as well. It makes mistakes and sometimes the quality of translation varies from language pair to language pair.

6. Transposh WordPress Translation

Transposh is a great plugin that can automatically translate the content of your website into 82 languages. The plugin is easy to use and seamlessly translates your content, RSS feeds, along with hidden content such as titles, meta descriptions and so on.

With the plugin, your content will be automatically translated as per the visitor’s language, although, you can also provide a widget asking your visitors to set the language  as per their choice. The process simple, you only need to select the languages you want to appear on the widget with the help of a drag and drop option, which in turn asks people to select their preferred language.

However, there are some downsides of this plugin as some customers have complained that it stops translations in some situations or give 404 error when changing languages. In such kind of situations, you need to deactivate and activate the plugin again and check whether everything runs smoothly or not.

Translation plugins are one of the best ways to give a touch of Internationalization to your business. They are perfect for encouraging a good user experience, regardless of which language they speak or which country they belong to.

About the author: Ben Wilson loves sharing his line of thinking about WordPress conversions such as tips and tricks on how to convert HTML website to WP theme and much more. Besides all this, he posses tight hand in developing customizing WordPress website.

5 Comments

  1. Hi, I am the lead developer of MultilingualPress. You state that:

    “And the major one is the loss of performance, database garbaging, and in some of the cases, your data model might get changed without your knowledge.”

    Excuse me?

    Our plugin is one of the fastest translation plugin available, much faster than all the plugins I have seen so far.

    In contrast to most other plugins, we do *not* change the existing database. The details of the relationships between translated content are stored in two specialized and highly optimized tables instead (one for posts and terms, on for site relationships). You can safely drop those tables, and all the other tables will stay intact, all the existing content will stay available. No other plugin offers this amount of data integrity.

    There are *no changes* to any “data model” (not sure what you mean that). MultilingualPress puts its information about the relationships into a tiny parallel structure that can be removed whenever you want. This is as loosely coupled as possible. You can update WordPress any time, and it will still work. If it doesn’t because WP changed its database structure in a way that is not backward compatible (very unlikely), you don’t lose your data. Plus, we are developing the plugin always against the trunk version which is just 15 *minutes* behind the latest core development status.

    In summary: We care a lot about your data. We prevent any lock-in effect, this is one our most important selling points. You can opt out of the plugin with a single click. No other plugin does that.

    A personal note: I am proud of my work. I love what I do, because I think we help people understanding each other better. It hurts to read such accusations.

    If you want to try our plugin, contact me per the email address I that I have provided here. You, and everyone else can get a free, working copy of the premium version when want to write about the plugin. Or when want to help translating it. We take money just for the support and automatic updates, the code is licensed under the GPL.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Thank you very much for the clarification! It’s very interesting to know in-depth how the plugin works. I’ve just updated the post with your comment 🙂

      PS: I’m not the person who gave the statement 😉

  2. Hi, nice post !

    I have not seen the Polylang plugin in your list^^ It’s a great plugin with many options. I have made ​​a tutorial in “french” for more info: http://goo.gl/bY1Yzs

    I’m gonna try MultilingualPress, @Thomas very well defended his plugin 😉

  3. Nice collection of plugins. Translation feature is a must these days as one can expect some search traffic from any country.

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