We get asked about translation a lot in our support forums, which isn’t at all surprising – a good chunk of our members speak English as a second language. In fact, most of our support crew and developers are from non-English speaking countries – our staff is from more than 30 countries!
One of the easiest ways to translate your WordPress site and backend is with a plugin, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start searching for the right plugin, plus it can be tricky because not all translation tools are equally effective and each works differently.
This is the sixth post in our series on translating WordPress. Over the past week, we’ve featured a new post every day on translating different aspects of WordPress. If you have any requests please me know in the comments below.
Today we’re going to look at six free and premium plugins for translating your WordPress site.
WPML has been around for a while and is the most popular premium plugin for turning your site multilingual.
The default install comes with more than 40 languages and you can also add language variants, such as local dialects, using the language editor.
The plugin comes with three pricing plans – Multilingual Blog, Multilingual CMS and Multilingual Lifetime. The Blog and CMS plans come with a year of updates and support, as well as a reduced renewal fee.
WPML is operated by OnTheGoSystems, which also runs ICanLocalize, a professional translation service. You can even access the service from the WPML dashboard in WordPress.
The buzz around this plugin is that support is excellent. Its blog also shows that it is regularly updated with new features.
WPML is compatible with hundreds of themes and plugins, including our own MarketPress. It just goes to show the support and recognition for this plugin in the WordPress community.
qTranslate is another well-established translation plugin and is also the most popular one available for free.
It is quick and easy to install and use. From the dashboard you can add to your default list of translations from a selection of 17 languages and also add new languages.
You can translate posts and pages from within the post/page editors, rather than create a separate post for each language (as some other translation plugins require).
qTranslate also offers a professional (human) translation service from within the dashboard using Web Translations.
Developer Qian Qin has done an amazing job creating and maintaining this plugin.
Transposh is another freely available translation plugin. It supports machine translations but unlike other plugins is allows visitors to your site to make edits to non-English language text.
This plugin comes packaged with 73 languages.
If you do nott want users to edit translations (and potentially make embarrassing corrections) you can choose who you has permission to update translations.
Multilingual Press allows you to connect multiple sites as language alternatives in a Multisite installation.
This of course means you need to get Multisite up and running on your site before you install this plugin, adding a layer of complexity before you have even activated the plugin. If you are not keen on using Multisite you might want to check out other translation plugins.
Once you do get it up and running, Multilingual Press automatically creates duplicates of your posts and pages in other languages you specify.
There is also a pro version of this plugin, which offers support and updates.
Formerly known as Rosetta, Stella allows visitors to your site to quickly and easily switch between multiple languages on the front-end and you can add or remove translations on the back-end.
It is easy to use straight out of the box, just write a post, fill in the post content for each language (different tabs allow you to switch between translations) and then hit Publish.
Visitors to your site can also switch between languages. You can set up the Stella language menu wherever you like with a widget.
While xili-language has few ratings on its WordPress Plugin Repository site, the plugin has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since it launched in 2009. It is also regularly updated.
Before installing and activating this plugin you will need to ensure your theme is translation ready.
Adding new languages is easy from the dashboard, just choose a translation and click Add.
xili-language has obviously been developed by a non-English speaker so some of the explanations can be a bit tricky to understand, however it is a solid translation tool, especially for one that is free.