Website translation

How to do efficient website translations: Two methods

How to do efficient website translations: Two methods
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Updated on
June 19, 2023

There are two common ways to translate your website:

  1. Using professional translators/translation agencies
  2. Using machine translation software

In this post, we look at both options in more detail and discuss why the most efficient website translation is actually a mixture of the two: using machine-translation software as the first layer of translation, and then bringing in professional translation services if necessary. 

Are you ready to translate your website right now? You can have a fully translated, multilingual site within minutes with Weglot. Get in touch to learn more.

Option #1: Using a translation agency or professional translator

Out of the two options we cover, this is actually the least efficient method on its own. While using a human translator may give you peace of mind, it’s a very time-consuming and laborious process. And for a lot of the content on your website, it’s unnecessary.

Specifically, there are three big inefficiencies with this method: 

  1. You’ll need to create your own translation management system. This means you need to figure out how you’re going to deliver your content to your translator. You can give your translator a login to your website (problematic for security), but the translator will still need to deliver your translations in a way that you can review them. This can mean a lot of different Google Docs, emails, shared notes, project management boards, and more. 
  1. Translation agencies and professionals, despite being the more expensive route, are often limited in what they offer. By that we mean your translators won’t help you implement your translated content on a new website. You’d need a developer for that. They also won’t help with SEO. This means you’re going to need several people fulfilling different roles to help you complete your translation project.
  1. Finally, you don’t have an easy way to revise/control your translations. If something within your original content changes, your translated content must change, too. There’s no easy way to quickly edit your translated site. Instead, you’re going to have to send your new content to your translator, let them translate it, have them send it back to you, and then upload it. In short, the laborious process starts over again with any new content you add to your website. 

Note: We cover more info about using translation agencies in our post on finding an agency to translate your ecommerce site.

Option #2: Using software to translate your website

Using software to translate your website is a much more efficient translation method. You can easily add most software to your site, and once added, it’ll use machine translation to translate your site quickly and accurately.

But there are several different types of software available, and not all of them offer the same time-saving features. In this section, we focus on Weglot, our own translation software that’s also a translation management system where you can order professional translations. 

professional translation

With Weglot, you can:

  1. Get a fully-translated website within minutes. Our software is easy to add to your site (no development or coding needed). And once added, it can translate your website’s content into over 100 different languages quickly and accurately—using leading neural machine translation providers.

    Plus, your translations are automatically displayed under language subdomains/subdirectories of your main site, so you don’t need to do any extra legwork to get your translated website version displayed.
  1. Edit your translations (if and when necessary). With Weglot, it’s easy to edit your translations. This means you can review your translations (add teammates and/or your translation team) and make changes as needed, or order professional translation services—experts who will translate your content within the Weglot platform and implement the changes directly on your live website.

This method has been used by thousands of our customers, including: 

  • Felt, a US-based ecommerce store that successfully translated its site into 4 languages with Weglot. 
  • Know Your Lemons, a non-profit that translated its site into 10 languages, leading to a 30% increase in web traffic.
  • Goodpatch, a design agency that used Weglot to translate their website into German—relying on Weglot’s visual editor to make sure all translations fit perfectly within their carefully designed layout.

Below we look at Weglot’s 2-step process in more detail, showing you how it’s truly the most efficient website translation method.

Step one: Use machine translation to quickly and accurately translate your website

The first step is to add Weglot to your website so it can quickly translate your site. You can easily add Weglot to any website, no coding or complex setup is needed. 

Here’s a brief video that explains how it works:

Once Weglot is added, it can translate your content into over 100 different languages. This includes popular languages like Spanish, German, and Italian, as well as more difficult-to-translate languages like Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese. You can find a full list of available languages here.

After you’ve picked your target language, Weglot translates your site for you.

But Weglot is more efficient than most translation software because:

We use a variety of advanced translation tools like DeepL, Google Translate, and Yandex to translate your content. We are also constantly checking the translations that come out of these tools to make sure we only use the best services available at the time. 

Plus, you can control how Weglot translates your site: 

Weglot glossary

With Weglot, you can:

  • Choose which pages you want translated. You can exclude specific URLs that you don’t need translated. You can also exclude specific blocks. For example, you can set it up so Weglot doesn’t translate your site’s header
  • Create a glossary of any words/phrases that you don’t want translated or make translation rules. For example, you can exclude brand names like “Apple” or “Tesla” or commonly-understood phrases like “Free Shipping”. You can also create certain rules, such as always translating ‘You’ to ‘Vous’ in French.
  • Use translation memory to cut costs and increase efficiency. Weglot remembers what it has already translated for you. This is useful if you use the same CTA across your website, or if you display duplicate reviews. 

And as always, all of your translations are automatically displayed under language-specific subdirectories or subdomains of your current URL. For example, is our English site, and is our French site. It’s easy—you don’t need developers to set anything up for you.

Step two: Make edits to your translations (if needed)

Weglot doesn’t just translate your content for you in minutes—it also gives you complete control over your translations.

You or someone on your team can make edits to your translations through your dashboard manager, or you can order professional translation services directly through your Weglot. 

First, log into your Weglot dashboard and access all of your translations:

Weglot translations list

You can find specific translations by looking up specific URLs, searching for a key phrase, or using a visual editor that lets you click on any content on your site and edit it:

All edits are automatically saved and live on your website.

If you want to order professional translations, just pick which content you want translated and put in the order:

order professional translations

You don’t have to hunt down a freelancer or translation agency or worry about negotiating price or implementing their translation on your website. 

When the translation is finished, it automatically goes live on your site (usually within 24-48 hours, depending on the volume).  

Translate your site efficiently with Weglot: No other tools necessary 

Above we introduced Weglot’s 2-step process for creating a fully multilingual website. We also have other key features that help you customize your site and save time.  

Specifically, with Weglot you can:

  • Optimize your translated site for SEO.
  • Automatically detect and translate any new content.
  • Control how your users switch between different languages.

How Weglot helps with multilingual SEO

Weglot automatically helps your translated site with search engine optimization (SEO) by:

  • Adding ahrefs tags to your site’s source code that alert Google to the translated versions of your site. 
  • Translating your on-page SEO element, like your alt tags and metadata.
  • Creating subdomains/subdirectories for your translated site, so each page has a unique URL.

Combined, these features help your translations rank for your target audience. For example, one of our customers is the popular French-Swedish sportswear brand Ron Dorff

After they used Weglot to translate their site into German and English, they saw a major increase in international conversions. This is because when potential customers were googling their merchandise, they were being redirected towards the appropriate site based on their query. 

How Weglot keeps your site updated with automatic content detection 

Whatever new content you add to your site (and this includes revising existing content) gets automatically translated by Weglot. 

So if you add a new product to your ecommerce store in English, Weglot will automatically add its translated counterpart to your French site. 

This is an incredibly efficient way to handle website translation because you’re not personally responsible for extracting and translating the content. Weglot does it for you without delay—including getting your new content up and live on your translated site.

For example, one of our customers is Slidebean, an alternative to PowerPoint. 

When they initially tried to expand into another market, they opted to create a smaller and more simplified version of their site that they could translate into Spanish. But even with a smaller and more simplified site, they were running into headaches when it came to managing two different websites. 

Slidebean case study Weglot

The Spanish site was often outdated, which made it more difficult for them to reach new markets, as it was not showcasing all of what Slidebean could do. 

Eventually, Slidebean got rid of its custom-made Spanish site and started using Weglot to manage both its English site and Spanish site with one tool. The big benefit for them here, in addition to fast and accurate translations, is that any changes made to their English site are automatically made to their Spanish site. Now both of their audiences are getting the same information (in their own language).

How Weglot lets you customize user experience 

With Weglot, you can easily customize how users engage with your translated content.

Without writing code or developing any new designs, you can change how your language button is displayed and how it looks.

There are specific ways to do this based on which CMS you’re using—see here for more details—but for this post, let’s look at how you would do this with WordPress.

First, go to the Weglot tab in your WordPress account. From there you can select how your language switcher will look. For example, do you want a drop-down box? Do you want to display flags (and which kind of flags do you want displayed? 


Then you can pick where you want your language switcher button displays—such as in the menu, as a separate widget, or somewhere else completely. 

And just like that, you have a fully translated and customized website, without needing a translation agency, a designer, or a developer. 

The most efficient website translation method: A quick recap

In this post, we’ve outlined two common ways to translate your website:

  1. Using a translation agency
  2. Using software

The most efficient way to translate your website is to use Weglot’s complete translation solution. Weglot translates your site’s content for you, but it also:

  • Gives you complete control over your translations. You can pick which content does and doesn’t get translated, and you can easily make edits to your translations whenever necessary.
  • Automatically updates your site with your translations. With automatic translation, you don’t have to spend time extracting content and receiving translated content. Instead, all of your translated content is automatically pushed live onto the appropriate subdomain.
  • Optimizes your translated site for SEO. By factoring in SEO in your translations, Weglot saves you the time it would take to manually add tags to your code, create subdomains, and focus on translating metadata/alt tags. 

Interested in understanding how Weglot can work for your business? Get in touch to learn more.

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