Website translation

The definitive step-by-step guide to translating WordPress

Read time: 5 minutes

translate wordpress

The connection between a brand and its customers is critical to the success and survival of any business.

How do we get the right message across to our customers, even when they belong to markets outside our local environment? 

With a multilingual website: the best way to establish solid communication with your target is to speak in their language.

If your website is based on WordPress and you want to translate it into other languages, don't miss this article.

Translating WordPress into different languages can improve the effectiveness of your marketing in international markets, although the complexity behind this can vary depending on several factors. 

This article will go over the complete guide to WordPress translation for a clear and well-structured explanation.  Stick around because we cover everything!

Successfully impacting all markets

Why translate WordPress

Translating your WordPress website is one of the most valuable investments you can make for your business, as it will allow you to reach a wider audience, improve customer experience, increase trust and loyalty towards your brand, as well as make the most of new business opportunities and increase the profitability of your business.

Advantages of translating WordPress

Translating WordPress is definitely much more important than you might think, so here are some of the reasons you should consider it, in case you haven't thought about it yet:

  • International reach: if your WordPress website is only in one language, you are limiting its reach to a single group of people who speak that language. By translating your website, you can reach a much wider audience and attract visitors from more countries and cultures.
  • Improve the user experience: offering your website in several languages improves the user experience by making it more accessible and understandable for those who do not know the source language. Visitors will feel more comfortable and confident on a website that "speaks" their native language.
  • Improved SEO: when a potential buyer searches for a product or service online, they search using keywords in their language. Translating your website into more languages 
    helps optimize your website for search engines in different languages, which will undoubtedly improve your international positioning and attract more quality traffic to your site. In other words, more users from more markets will reach you. That is why it is essential to have a good international SEO strategy.

Now that you know the reasons why you should translate your WordPress website, here's how to get started. 

Translating WordPress: where to start

We can translate WordPress through plugins, manually or through other solutions.

The manual method requires advanced technical skills, as it involves working with a page's programming codes and risks inadvertently altering them. Fortunately, there are tons of translation plugins available to make the process much easier and safer. 

These plugins fully or partially automate the translation of text and tags on the website itself, and are often integrated or linked with advanced translation tools that facilitate internal consistency between pages, posts and other sections of the site.

If you want to learn more, we recommend you read our article “5 best plugins to translate WordPress”. 

In addition to plugins, you can also translate a WordPress site using the theme's language file. Each WordPress theme includes a language file containing theme-specific text and tags. To translate these texts, you need to manually modify the language file and replace the original texts with the corresponding translations. 

This process is more complicated than using a translation plugin, but it can be a viable option for smaller sites or for those who want more control over each step of the translation process.

What do you need to consider when translating WordPress?

When translating WordPress, you need to keep in mind that this process is divided into 3 main phases: 

  1. Make your WordPress multilingual, i.e. adapt it to display several languages, either with a translation plugin or with an integrated translation module. 
  2. Translate the WordPress theme, i.e. translate your entire theme to the language of your choice. Please note that even if your theme comes with a built-in translation module, it may be poorly translated, so you will need to check the translations. 
  3. Translate the content of your website, i.e., translate from one language to another everything you currently have on your website. 

And while these phases cover the entire WordPress translation process, here's a breakdown of some of the most important factors you shouldn't forget: 

  • Content: make sure you have a complete and up-to-date copy of all your site's content before starting to translate.
  • Professional translation: consider hiring a professional translator to ensure the quality and accuracy of your translation.

Remember that the translation process is more than moving a word from one language to another. A bad translation can be very detrimental to  your business. We recommend that you read our article “Everything you need to know about website translation”. 

translation technology guide

  • Translation plugins: choose a reliable translation plugin that is compatible with your current WordPress theme and plugins. Plugins can be a quick fix; however, they need to be compatible with all the add-ons and extensions you use, and also need to be set up correctly.
  • Search engine optimization: make sure to optimize pages for search engines in different languages. Don't forget that this will improve your search rankings. 
  • Personalization: customize your content and approach for different audiences based on their culture and preferences.

Have you ever heard the phrase “think globally, act locally”? Our article “Glocalization: dominate different markets through translation” covers the concept of a glocal marketing strategy, which aims for a global reach through a market-specific offering.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when translating WordPress, which is why the team at iDISC, a professional translation agency, is here for you. We are website translation and localization experts.

We hope you found this article useful. You will find tons of more interesting content on our blog

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