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Welcome to my latest blog post, where we’ll talk about the importance of having a multilingual website and the most efficient ways to translate it.
Having a bilingual and even multilingual website these days is such a must. This way, you can attract audiences from different countries and increase the number of your potential customers. Imagine you’re in the retail business, and you have an e-commerce website where you offer a wide range of products. Additionally, you have international shipping. That means you can easily tailor your website to different markets. So, why pass up the opportunity to gain more customers?
One way to do this is by translating your website into different languages. And you can do this in several ways, which we will discuss in greater detail below.
Do I Really Need to Translate My Website?
Here I will include some statistics so that you can get the correct answer to this question.
First, let’s see which are the world’s most spoken languages, shall we? According to Statista, around 1.5 billion people speak English either natively or as a second language worldwide as of 2022. That is slightly more than the 1.1 billion people who speak Mandarin Chinese (at the time of the poll). There has been a shift from three years ago when English ranked third with 379 million native speakers (after Chinese with 1.3 billion speakers and Spanish with 460 million speakers).
The charts below show additional statistics about the number of native or second-language speakers of other languages (2022 vs. 2019).
I hope you’ve realized how many potential users you can have if you make your site multilingual. But if you need more than that, let’s make a comparison. The image below shows the proportion of websites utilizing particular languages to the expected number of internet users who speak those languages.
Moreover, did you know that if you have a multilingual website, you will improve the optimization of your site? Think about it. The more people can read and understand the content – the more people will be satisfied, thus, will spend more time on your website. And this is a crucial factor that Google will take into consideration. It’s closely related to the user experience and bounce rate. So why not also improve your optimization?
Which Language Should I Begin With?
I’m sure, by now, I’ve already persuaded you that you must translate your website. So, if you’ve decided to make your site multilingual but aren’t sure which language to translate it into, carefully read the following part 👇
If you want to target a specific country, start with the language spoken there. If not, the best approach is to start translating into the language most of your website’s visitors speak. And the most reliable way to determine which language is the most commonly used is through your Google Analytics profile.
First, go to your Google Analytics profile. Next, select Audience from your Dashboard, and then Geo ➛ Language. The data you’ll see is from your visitors’ web browsers, with the number of total sessions. You can also go to Geo ➛ Location. With the first step, you can determine how many visitors have their web browser set to a specific language. And with the second step, you can determine where the visitors are located and, as a result, what language they speak.
Once you’ve decided which language to start translating your website into, the next step is to figure out the most efficient way to do it.
The Most Efficient Ways to Translate Your Website
Finally, we arrived at the most pivotal point. Once you’ve determined whether or not you need to translate your website and which language to begin with, the next step is to decide the best method for doing so.
There are a few different ways that you can translate your website:
- hiring professional translators;
- using WordPress plugins;
- choosing multilingual themes, etc.
WordPress plugins are the most commonly used method of translating websites. But first, let’s take a look at what each of these options has to offer 👇
Hiring Professional Translators
To be honest, this method of translating web pages is the least efficient. First of all, it takes a lot of time to execute. Not only will it take time for you to find a suitable company or individual to do the translation professionally, but the translators themselves will take more time to translate. Furthermore, translators typically charge per word, so this method will result in the highest costs.
However, despite the drawbacks, the advantage of this method is that if you find professional translators, they will do an excellent job. That means you won’t need to perform any additional translation checks.
If you decide to hire a professional translator, you can look on platforms like Fiverr or Gengo. But before you make a deal, make sure they own a certificate for the languages you need translating.
Using WordPress Plugins
If you have a WordPress website, you can use a free plugin like Polylang or premium plugins like Weglot for translation. And in this section, we’ll go into greater detail about these two WordPress plugins’ features.
If you want to make your WordPress website multilingual, you can add Polylang. This plugin has over 700K active installations and over 14 million downloads to date. A large number of users is always a good indicator. Also, they have pretty good ratings and reviews by users from all over the world.
Polylang is simple to use and does not take up much memory on your website. It only uses WordPress’s built-in core features, so it will not degrade your website’s performance. And since this plugin integrates with the WordPress admin interface, you can begin translating right away.
Depending on your needs, this plugin offers both free and pro versions. In addition, if you have an eCommerce site, Polylang has a WooCommerce add-on. And you can see which add-ons you’d get with the free or pro version of this WordPress plugin below.
With Polylang, you can get the following features:
- translation into 48 different languages;
- translation of your pages, posts, categories, tags, media, etc.;
- automatic copy of the meta tags when creating a new post or page translation;
- translating menus and widgets;
- compatibility with Yoast SEO;
- language switcher widget or navigation menu item that you can customize.
However, if these features are insufficient for you, you can try Polyland Pro, which includes the following additional features:
- personalized assistance via Premium Support;
- language switcher available as a block;
- improved incorporation in the new Block Editor;
- better compatibility with other plugins, such as ACF Pro;
- URL slug translation for categories, custom post types, and more.
Also, if you have a WooCommerce shop, you can use Polylang for WooCommerce. With this add-on, you can get the following features:
- translating WooCommerce pages like shop, my account, check-out and cart, and product categories directly in the WooCommerce interface;
- translating WooCommerce e-mails;
- compatibility with WooCommerce’s built-in CSV import and export tool;
- availability of Premium Support for personalized assistance;
- compatibility with well-known plugins, like WooCommerce Bookings, Product Bundles, WooCommerce Subscriptions, and more;
- synchronization of product metadata.
Integrating Weglot with any website technology can fully translate your website in minutes. And if you have a small website with less than 2000 words and only need to translate it into one language, Weglot Translate has a free version. Did you know that Weglot has over 60K users worldwide? And some big names have put their trust in this WordPress plugin 😉
Weglot offers translations in over 110 different languages, which is one of its best qualities. Another good point is that this plugin has resolved all nine issues it had in the last two months. That means they have great customer service and strive for an excellent user experience. Let’s look at some of the features this plugin has to offer, shall we?
If you opt for Weglot, this is what you’ll get:
- easy installation that doesn’t require any coding;
- an easy-to-use interface where you can edit all of your translations;
- best SEO optimization practices for multilingual website translations;
- translation of every new content in real-time, without any need for maintenance;
- translating directly within the webpage with the in-context editor in Weglot Translate;
- automatically redirecting all visitors to the language version specified in their browser settings;
- automatically indexing all translated pages with unique URLs;
- simple migration from other WordPress translational plugins.
If you choose to use the Weglot WordPress plugin, you can get all of the above and much more. With Weglot, you’ll also get:
- website internationalization;
- website translation;
- website localization;
- enhanced translation quality;
- international Search Engine Optimization.
You can start working on your multilingual website translation project by watching this video, which walks you through some of Weglot’s key features.
If you own a global brand, one of the most important aspects of your business is having a high-quality website translation. That makes sense, given that your website is the first point of contact for numerous potential customers.
Perhaps you are unsure of the most effective and efficient method for translating your website. Professional translators, multilingual themes, WordPress plugins, and no-code website translation are among the options available. The best way, in my opinion, is to use a WordPress translation plugin combined with a professional translator.