4 of the Best Website Translation Plugins (+ Features You Need)
September 15, 2023
Using a website translation plugin is faster than using professional translation services, which can take months and cost upwards of six figures for large websites.
But there are a few things you should know before you choose a plugin:
Plugin translations might not be completely perfect. Lots of plugins rely on machine translations alone, which is why they’re so fast. But you might want to tweak some wording, edit translated sentences, or adapt translations to match your brand’s tone.
You may not get the control you need over your site. You might want manual, human translation on a few essential pages to perfect your brand’s messaging. Many plugins don’t offer this much control or customization.
They may not be doing anything to help with SEO. Plenty of website translation plugins stick to translating your site’s copy, but they don’t help you with SEO. They don’t help translate metadata, tags, alt tags, categories, URLs, and they don’t create subdomains for all the translated versions of your site. Your translated site won’t rank for its translated keywords in Google without those SEO features.
It may not work with your site. Plenty of the plugins available online are for WordPress only. And while 43% of all websites are hosted on WordPress, you may need a plugin that works with a different content management system (CMS). If that’s the case, your list of options becomes shorter.
To help you save time, we’ll outline which features you should be looking for in a plugin, and then we will list 4 of the best website translation plugins available.
5 Things You Need From Your Translation Plugin
Before we review any specific translation plugins, we want to cover which features will benefit you most when translating your site.
Here are the 5 things you’ll need from your translation plugin:
Automation, meaning you can translate your site quickly without manually going through every word. But this automated translation—also known as machine translation—also needs to be reliable. And that brings us onto…
Accuracy, because bad translations of key pages will cost you customers. Machine translation can’t always be 100% perfect, which is why you need a website translation plugin that lets you edit the copy and choose your translation quality.
Customization, so you can display different language choice options on your site in the way you want. And so you can choose which pages or sections you don’t want to translate. The best translation plugins give you control over the user experience.
SEO features, allowing you to translate your metadata and on-page SEO elements, as well as letting you create a subdirectory/subdomain for each translated website version.
Affordability and scalability, so you don’t end up paying extortionate prices for a single site. And if you’re running an ecommerce site with hundreds of product pages and categories, you don’t want to be paying per page.
With these 5 things in mind, let’s look at some of the best website translation plugins around right now. We’ll start with our own, Weglot.
1. Weglot: The Website Translation Plugin That Works for Any Site
Weglot is website translation software that works with any website, from WordPress to Shopify to Squarespace to WooCommerce (and others, too). It also works with any site that you’re developing independently.
When you use Weglot, you get:
Automatic machine translation (you can translate any website in minutes, not days) that works with over 100 different languages.
The power to edit your translations by adding your own translation team or by utilizing professional translators directly integrated in Weglot.
Advanced SEO features like custom URLs for each translated site and automatically translating metadata.
Here’s how you can translate your website using Weglot in just three steps.
FYI: For this guide, we’ll walk you through how to use Weglot with WordPress. While the process is slightly different with other CMS platforms, this gives you an overview of how easy it is to translate your site with Weglot. It’s always super simple, regardless of your CMS.
Step 1: Add the Weglot WordPress Plugin to Your Site
First, you go to “Add Plugins” and type in Weglot. We’re the first plugin that pops up.
After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll see a Weglot tab added to your sidebar.
Step 2: Set Up Your Weglot Account
When you click on the Weglot tab in your WordPress dashboard, you get taken to the main configuration screen.
Here you need to input your API key, which we give you when you set up a Weglot account and select the plan you want. We have a free plan for smaller projects and paid plans for larger projects.
Step 3: Pick Your Languages
Finally, you go back to WordPress, put in your API Key from Weglot, select your site’s original language, and what languages you want to add to your site. We have over 100 different languages for you to choose from, as well as custom languages.
Once you pick your languages, you instantly have a multilingual website on your hands!
When you go to your site, you’ll see a language switcher button where your users can toggle through their language choices.
It’s that simple and fast to translate your entire site with Weglot.
But as we mentioned above, you might want more advanced features that let you manually edit your translations (or get help from professional translators), optimize your site for SEO in different languages, and customize how your site looks.
You can do all of those things with Weglot. Keep reading to learn more, or skip to whichever section is most important to you:
Perhaps some parts of your translated pages need tweaking, or there is some specific phrasing you need to use for your brand.
With Weglot, it’s fast and simple to make manual edits to your translations.
You can access all translations from your Weglot Dashboard:
You can filter through your content by selecting a specific URL or by typing in a phrase you want to find. Then, you can make any edits as necessary to your translation. When you make an edit, it gets automatically saved on your site.
You can also use a visual editor. This gives you a look at your live site. You can click anywhere there’s translated copy and manually edit the translation. Once you click “OK” the translation is saved.
With Weglot, you can customize where your language button is displayed and how it looks, and you can also pick which (if any) pages you want to exclude from your translations.
Let’s look at how you do this in WordPress.
On the Weglot tab in your WordPress account, you can select how your language switcher will look. This includes picking whether or not it’ll be a drop-down box, whether or not you’ll use flags, and more.
You can pick where on your site you want your language button—in the menu, as a widget, or somewhere else.
Back at your Weglot account, you can also exclude which parts of your website get translated, even being as granular as excluding blocks on a page.
And finally, you can engage “Auto Switch.” This means your site will automatically redirect visitors based on their browser language.
For example, if your site is normally in English, with Spanish and German versions, someone coming to your site from a German browser will automatically get the German version of your site. This way, there’s no risk of them bouncing off your site, thinking that it’s only in English.
Translating Your Site With SEO in Mind
With SEO in mind, one of the most important aspects of translation is making sure your translated website will rank in the search engines for the right keywords.
Here’s an example of the benefits of this from one of our customers. The French-Swedish sportswear brand, Ron Dorff, wanted to have its ecommerce site available in multiple languages. It was important they reach a larger audience with their translated content, and that meant making sure their site was optimized correctly in each of its translated versions.
This is incredibly simple for Weglot users, because we follow Google’s own best practices for multilingual SEO, including:
Automatically creating a unique URL for each translated site (known as a subdirectory or subdomain).
Automatically adding tags in your source code that lets Google know you have translated versions of your website. For example, if Google crawls your English site, it’ll see in the code if you have other translated versions of your site available.
Automatically translating your site’s SEO tags and SEO metadata.
All of this helps your translated sites show up in Google for the right audience.
For Ron Dorff, that means when a French-speaking visitor googles “Ron Dorff Dad t-shirt” they get directed to Ron Dorff’s French site, while an English-speaking inquiry will direct them to the English site.
Since translating their ecommerce with Weglot, Ron Dorff has seen an 400% increase in sales, with 70% of those orders coming in internationally.
Video Guides for Getting Started With Weglot
Below, we have quick tutorials that show how easy it is to set up Weglot to translate your website.
A Brief Video on How to Translate Your WordPress Site
A Brief Video on How to Translate Your WooCommerce Store
A Brief Video on How to Translate Your Shopify Store
A Brief Video on How to Translate Your Wix Store
A Brief Video on How to Translate Your Squarespace Website
How to Translate Your Webflow Website
Note: These are not the only tools you can use with Weglot. Here’s a video on how you can translate any website with Weglot.
Are you ready to start translating your website today? Weglot is completely free for websites that need a single translation with less than 2,000 words and paid plans start from €15 a month. For websites with a larger word count, you can choose a plan that fits your needs.Start your free trial today.
If Weglot isn’t the tool for you, keep reading to learn about other website translation plugins.
Polylang is a popular WordPress translation plugin, and they also have a product for WooCommerce stores (with paid versions starting at $99 for 1 site and going up from there).
So if you need translation for any other CMS (like Squarespace, Shopify, Webflow, etc.), then Polylang won’t work for you. But if you’re trying to create a multilingual WordPress site, or have your shop set up on WooCommerce, then it’s a plugin worth considering.
Polylang offers features commonly found in translation plugins, like the ability to edit how your language switcher looks on your site, the option to set up subdomains (unique URLs for each translated version of your site), and it works with popular SEO plugins like Yoast.
WPML stands for WordPress Multilingual Plugin—and you guessed it, it’s focused on helping you translate your WordPress website. There are over 40 languages to choose from when you sign up for WPML, which is less than Polylang and Weglot (we have 100+ language options).
WPML has three different pricing tiers, but before we get to those, let’s explain how WPML charges you for translations.
WPML charges based on credits, which are based on how many words you translated and which method you used to translate them.
For example, if you’re using Microsoft’s translation engine (via WPML), you get charged 1 credit for 1 word. But if you’re using Google Translate’s engine, then you get charged 2 credits for one word. Finally, you can use DeepL, one of the more accurate translation engines, and get charged 3 credits for one word.
Let’s take a look at them:
One for a simple blog: The most simple (and limited) option. You don’t have to worry about credits if you’re just running a simple blog. But you don’t get key features like automatic translation, professional translators to refine translations, or SEO features.
This is for someone who wants to personally translate their website (without any help from machine translations or professional translators). WPML lets you jump into a post and create a separate version for your translation in the WordPress text editor.
One for a full-fledged WordPress site: Here you start getting more advanced functionality, like automated translations (maxed at 90,000 credits, which could be anywhere from 90,000 words to 30,000 words depending on which translation service you use), access to a team of translators who can help you translate more accurately (for an extra fee).
One for companies that have multiple sites: This tier is nearly identical to the previous plan. The difference is you get double the translation credits and there’s no limit on how many projects you can have at once.
Similar to Polylang, WooCommerce platform users can also use the WPML plugin.
The GTranslate plugin uses Google Translate’s translation service to help you translate your website. Plus, GTranslate uses a “cloud-based” approach, which helps you translate new content faster because your site will use previous translations as a model.
They have a free version, but similar to WPML, you don’t get critical features—like automatic translation of the whole site—until you’re on their paid plans, which start at €7.15 a month.
Note: If you’re not using WordPress, you can still use GTranslate, as long as you have an HTML website.
Next Steps: Translate Your Website With Weglot’s Free Trial
Weglot is a simple website translation software that works with any site. You can use it as a plugin with your WordPress site, or add it to any CMS or site that you’re developing.
Our pricing plans are based on how many sites you want to translate, how many languages you want to add to each site, and what specific features you need for your website.
We have a free plan that lets you translate 2,000 words per month into one other language. All of our plans let you do automatic translation and manual translation. Plus, all of our plans are SEO-friendly.
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