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How to Translate Your WordPress Website

Tutorials, WordPress

How do you translate a WordPress website? Install WPML, configure the necessary languages, and translate your website one sentence and one page at a time.

Why translate a website?

As a website owner, your website is intended to be read by your target audience. What good does your website accomplish if it can’t be read by your customers?

What language does your target audience speak? English? What if your customers speak a different language? If your business serves customers or clients across multiple languages, it might be time to expand to a multilingual website!


How does website translation work?

Website TranslationIf your website is built with WordPress (most of our websites are), we can translate it using affordable 3rd party software called WPML (The WordPress Multilingual Plugin). This fabulous software is one of the most popular website translation plugins available and works seamlessly with WordPress, Divi, and most major plugins.

WPML first requires you to set your primary language (the language your website is already in), then check a box for every language you’d like to expand your website to. For most local business websites, 1-2 languages will be all you need. For example, a Mexican restaurant might have its website available in English and Spanish. Do you think Greek would be necessary for a website like that? Or Italian? Likely not.

Next, you’ll need to list your translators. These are the multilingual individuals (likely employees on your team) who will be translating your website. You can translate the website yourself, but most business owners will have a multilingual person on their team handle the translation.

Finally, the translation software will pull every line, word, and sentence from the website, and your translators can login and translate every word. They can do this one web page at a time, and don’t forget the menus, images, footers, etc! WPML doesn’t miss a single word!

Step 1: Navigate to the WPML website.

WPML Homepage

Step 2: Purchase either Multilingual CMS (3 sites) or Multilingual Agency (unlimited sites).

WPML Purchase CMS

Step 3: Go to > Account > Downloads. Download the latest version of WPML Multilingual CMS (the core plugin), String Translation and Translation Management.

WPML Downloads

Step 4. Login to your website’s WordPress admin.

WordPress Media Library Upload

Step 5. Go to Plugins > Add New > Upload. Upload and activate all 3 .zip files downloaded from your WPML account.

Add Plugins Upload

Step 6. Complete the initial setup. Choose your current language as well as the additional languages you want the website available in.

Step 7. Go through every setting in WPML > Languages and WPML > Settings in WordPress admin to setup the translation according to your unique needs.

WPML Settings

Step 8. Navigate to WP Admin > WPML > Translation Management. Use this area to create translator roles and assign translation tasks to the multilingual individuals on your team.

WPML Translation Management

Step 9. Navigate to WP Admin > WPML > Translations when you are ready to translate individual pages and posts into the specific languages you enabled. Click Edit or Translate to open the translator.

WPML Translation Queue

Step 10. Translate every line of the page, grouped by title, module, paragraph, etc. The left column shows your original language. The right column shows the language you are translating into. The progress bar updates as you proceed. Click “Save & Close” when you are finished.

WPML Page Translation

Step 11. Once you have translated the website to your liking, navigate to WP Admin > WPML > Languages. Review the “Language URL Format,” “Language Switcher Options,” and “Menu Language Switcher” settings.


Pro Tip: You may need to navigate to WP Admin > Settings > Permalinks, select “Post Name” and click Save Changes (even if post name is already selected).

WPML Language Switcher

Step 12. Your goal is to have the entire website translated in the backend, a menu switcher near the top of the frontend, and every web page live and working in every language.

Website Translation