Website translation

Using the Google Translate Widget for Your Website

Using the Google Translate Widget for Your Website
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Updated on
October 26, 2023

Adding the Google Translate widget to your website is one of the first translation methods people think of when trying to reach non-English speaking audiences. After all, it requires almost no effort on your part: all you have to do is integrate it into your website, and it generates automatic translations for you.

However, the Google Translate widget was discontinued in 2019, which made multilingual websites even more out of reach for some people.

So if you’re after a quick fix to translate your commercial site, you’ll still need to find another website translation solution.

But, all is most definitely not lost. Why? Because the Google Translate widget had many problems. These include a lack of translation control, poor user experience, and no actual multilingual SEO capabilities to ensure your site was well-ranked internationally. Your site may be available in Chinese, Spanish, and other languages, but your target audience may not be able to find it in the first place!

That’s why we’ll take a look at other options to the  Google Translate widget, and how you can still use Google Translate on your WordPress website (or any website technology for that matter) through a translation plugin.

Google Translate Widget Discontinued: Other Options

While Google made the decision in 2019 to discontinue the widget, they reversed the decision in 2020 to make it available for non-commercial use. This was to help ease the burden of the global pandemic.

But they specified that only government, non-profit, and non-commercial websites (like academic institutions) focusing on COVID-19 could benefit from it. That meant everyone else had to use their Google Cloud Translation API.

However, if you aren’t looking for a website translation solution specifically, here are some options for you:

Google Translate Browser Extension

Their Google Translate browser extension still exists, which offers an easy way to translate your entire website in over 110 different languages. It’s quick and simple to use: simply install the extension or add-on onto your browser. Once installed, select the language you want to translate the website into.

This is a great option for those who want to simply translate a site or have instant access to information that isn’t currently available in the desired language.

However, this is from a purely end-user point of view and we do not recommend this option for companies looking for a viable website translation solution.That’s because amongst other things, it isn’t tailored for multilingual SEO, so your translated website won’t show up in search engines. Plus, the translations aren’t as accurate, and there isn’t a way to manage and edit the translations.

Google Translate

Perhaps you’re also looking into Google Translate itself to translate your website, known as translate.google.com. This is easily available if you use Google Chrome, as a small pop-up will present at the top, which will ask you if you want to translate the page.

However, going this route means that your non-Google Chrome users won’t have immediate access to a translated website, since they must install the extension. And it poses the same problems as the extension: your website won’t be optimized for search engines, there’s no option for human translations, and more.

Here’s how to translate your website using Google Translate:

  1. Launch your web browser, then go to the Google Translate website (translate.google.com).
  2. Click on Websites.
  3. Enter the entire URL of your website into the text box in the center of the page.
  4. Choose the language you wish to translate your website into.
  5. Click on the arrow next to the text field to translate your website (the translate button).

A pop-up window will appear with your translated site. You’ll see a toolbar with some translation options in the dropdown menu.

Why These Options Don’t Work For Commercial Website Translation

Why is multilingual SEO nonexistent for either of the Google Translate options? That’s because neither of these solutions are actually displaying your content under either language subdirectories or subdomains. Which means that it’s just converting your website’s original language into another. On search engines, only your original language website will show up—so visitors from other countries won’t see it when browsing for related keywords.

The translation applies only to your website. If visitors want to share something on your website in their native language on social media, they’ll get to share it only in your website’s original language.

Furthermore, you wouldn’t have a hreflang tag in sight. Not sure what one is? These are tags that tell search engines what language your web pages are in and who to serve them to – an important part of indexing your site.  

Google Translate API

While the Google Translate widget is no more, you may still want to rely on machine translation with Google Translate through the use of its paid translation API. To do this, you’ll need a Google Cloud account and there are a number of installation steps required to enable the Cloud Translation API and link it to your site.

We’ve written a full guide on how to install the Google Translation API key. This process is a highly technical solution and requires a developer and several steps to implement on your site, so it’s not a completely user-friendly solution for website translation. However, this is viable for commercial website translation.

In this case, you may want to explore a better option, such as using the Weglot translation plugin on your WordPress site that still allows you to use Google Translate, is quick to install, gives you full editing control and more.  

A Quick Tutorial: How to Use Google Translate Your Website, an Alternative

As we mentioned, for those that are fans of machine translation, there’s still a way to use Google Translate to make your website multilingual. While we covered the use of the Google Cloud Translate API, it’s understandable that this option can be too technical for some. Many website owners are often still beginners when it comes to coding.

The alternative, and one that gives you much greater control while also being simple to use, is translation tool Weglot. Apart from Google Translate, it also incorporates leading machine translation providers DeepL and Microsoft Translate for ultimate accuracy.

What are the Differences Between Weglot and Google Translate?

One of the stand-out differences as to why using a translation tool like Weglot benefits your website translation project is that you can use the speed of machine translation, coupled with full editing control. You’ll also get a full multilingual SEO optimized and displayed website.

Weglot works by detecting all the content on your site, giving you a first layer of machine translation and then displaying the content under language subdirectories or subdomains. And that’s all automated, in just a few clicks.

Weglot's integration was easy and the support is incredibly helpful. I highly recommend Weglot to anyone looking for a simple and cost effective solution to translate their site. - Mike Robertson, Director of Sales Operations at Nikon

How to Add Weglot to Your Website

We’ve put together a simple 4-minute video on how to install Weglot on your WordPress website. And, for those that prefer a written tutorial, find it below.

As we mentioned, Weglot works on any website CMS, you can find all our integrations here, including Webflow, Shopify, and custom-built websites. For those not looking for SEO capabilities, you can use our JavaScript integration.  

  1. Go to your WordPress admin, ‘Plugins’ and ‘Add New’
  2. Search ‘Weglot’ and click on ‘Install’ and ‘Activate
  3. A Weglot tab will appear in the sidebar of your WordPress admin, click on it
  4. Next signup for a Weglot account to get your API key, add it here, the original language of your site, and the new languages you want to add.
  5. Click ‘Save’ and your multilingual WordPress website is launched!

Once you’ve installed the plugin, you’ll see a language switcher has been added to the front of your website and users can switch between languages and browse your multilingual website with ease. This language switcher is fully customizable, and you can change the appearance and position in just a few clicks. There’s also the option to add custom CSS to make other more custom-style updates.

You’ll also notice that Weglot has created language subdirectories for you, which is an important part of your multilingual SEO. If you’ve added, for example, Portuguese to your website, your URL will look like this:

www.mywebsite.com/pt

The difference between Weglot and Google Translate is that we champion the use of automatic translation. Through this, you get full editing control over your website translations through a project dashboard. Here, you can make edits, add glossary rules, exclude certain pages or blocks from translation, and more.

With a full suite of editing tools, you can control the translation quality displayed on your website so your translated pages are the standard you want for your brand and your customers.

Translation quality is something we care about at Weglot, and we give you the tools to do it with ease.

Try Weglot for free

Conclusion

So, there you have it. A Google Translate widget alternative that offers you a quick and easy way to translate your website, without technical knowledge and without skipping any vital aspects such as multilingual SEO and translation control.  

And, when you use a tool such as Weglot, you get a powerful WordPress plugin that automates your website translation project and allows you to launch your multilingual site instantly.

Try Weglot for yourself by signing up for our 10-day free trial and see how quickly you can have a translated site up and running.

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