A variety of methods are available to operate your WordPress website in multiple languages. You’ll find that many themes offer translation features that convert embedded text into localized POT (Portable Object Template), PO (Portable Object) and MO (Machine Object) files. These themes offer regional settings that can be enabled from the WordPress administration dashboard.
To find out more about translating themes, and to help translate core WordPress files into your native language, check out the WordPress Codex.
Of course, translating a database of regularly updated content is a large task. You may have used machine translation services such as Google Translate to convert small snippets of text into different languages. Results are reasonable (and are improving all the time) but for large amounts of text, translation quality can be variable. Poor translation erodes integrity and confidence in what you’re saying.
Those with development budgets could consider human translations services, such as those offered by sites like icanlocalize.com and upwork.com, among others. These services connect site owners with multilingual professionals that can quickly translate posts and pages.
As you may have guessed, you’ll also find a range of translation plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository. These plugins may combine machine translation with pre-translated files and integrated human translations services, offering a comprehensive array of language and content management features.
Here are a few to check out:
The WordPress Multilingual Plugin is a commercial plugin supporting translation of pages, posts, custom types, taxonomy, menus, and theme text. It supports over 40 languages, to which you can add variants including Canadian French and Mexican Spanish using an integrated language editor.
WPML allows you to create translator user roles, send notification emails to translators when content is ready to be converted, provides a translation management screen, a jobs-queue and side-by-side translation editor. It also offers integration with ICanLocalize and Cloudwords translation services, if you don’t have a translator on the team.
Polylang is a free plugin that offers a range of language management tools. Write your posts and pages, then define the language for each. The language is either set by the content or by the language code in the URL and the plugin includes a language switching widget. Alternatively, you can use alternative domains or subdomains for your translated content.
Polylang supports integration with Lingotek for automatic or professional content translation.
Available in Free or Pro (commercial) editions, Multilingualpress allows you to build a network of connected sites with management support for over 170 languages. Once connected, you can edit all translations for a post or page from the original post editor without the need to switch sites.
The plugin also supports translation of categories or tags, top-level domains for different languages, custom post types and more.
Should you decide you need ongoing or ad hoc professional translations for your WordPress site, Straker Translations offers a fully integrated service. Supporting over 80 languages, once installed the plugin facilitates receiving a quote for content translation, through professional translation and publishing the content to your site.
The plugin supports Page, Post and Custom Post Type translation, WordPress Templates (.po) with full language management and language switching features.
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