The WordPress CMS has changed the world wide web as we know it, accounting for over 35% of all sites on the internet. Creating a website, whether it’s a personal blog, e-commerce store, or even a charity site has never been easier thanks to the user-friendly platform and all the plugins and integrations it facilitates. Individuals, companies, and organisations alike can use this platform to communicate their message, vision, and offering on a global scale.
It’s often said that words are one of the most inexhaustible and valuable tools at our disposal, however, what good are words if your audience can’t understand them? To put it quite bluntly, don’t expect them to stick around. Luckily for you, this is something that doesn’t have to be an issue on your WordPress site thanks to a number of multilingual translation plugins available on the platform.
If you’re still unsure about why you should consider translating your website into other languages or how you would even go about this, don’t panic, we’re going to not only explain why it’s in your best interest to go multilingual, but also, explore some possible options to doing so.
Why Translate Your Website?
Firstly, let’s talk stats. As recently as 2015, your website needed to support 25 languages in order to reach 90% of the internet users in their native language. This year in 2020, a whopping 48 languages would need to be supported to achieve the same proportion of global reach.
When we consider this, and the fact that only 25% of the internet population today are native English speakers, what becomes immediately obvious is that the vast majority of internet users want to be able to browse and buy in languages other than English. Therefore, companies who only make their website available in a single language are discounting a large proportion of potential customers from their communications and offerings.
These stats are only exacerbated when we look at them from an e-commerce perspective. The e-commerce industry itself is growing rapidly, currently accounting for approximately 16% of global retail sales, this is expected to rise to 22% by 2024 with 6.5 trillion USD expected in sales. So, from an e-commerce point of view, when you look at all the potential clients you’re missing out on by staying monolingual, translating your website shouldn’t be looked at as a potential option, but rather a necessity.
Benefits of Translating Your Website
Not yet convinced? Let’s take a look at some of the specific benefits associated with going multilingual on your WordPress site:
Expanding your audience: While the majority of the web’s content is written in English, you might be surprised to hear that it is only the third most popular language in the world in terms of native speakers with approximately 380 million speakers. This is behind Spanish (440 million) and Mandarin Chinese (910 million). So while you may have covered your local, regional, or even national markets with a monolingual website – translating your content is the key to expanding into new international markets which are growing rapidly.
Gaining customers’ trust: Taking action to translate your WordPress site is an important step in not only building awareness of your business or organisation, but also in the relationship-building process. A multilingual site is associated with higher standards and higher functionality, it shows an ability to operate on an international scale which in turn, heightens customers’ confidence in the website and the business or organisation behind it.
Improving your SEO strategy: SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is essentially the art of getting as high as possible on the Google search result pages. It’s a tool that is extremely valuable to any business or organisation and is what brings visitors to your website. Google uses a combination of keywords and metadata to rank websites, so, by translating your content as well as these keywords and metadata you can improve your chances of being ranked higher, thus bringing more visitors to your site.
Better conversion rates: Studies from organisations such as the Common Sense Advisory show the positive correlation between the purchasing propensity of consumers and the language a website is displayed in. 55% of survey respondents admitted an obvious preference to shopping online in their native language, with 74% stating they’re more likely to repeat purchase if customer support is offered in their first language. Therefore, translating your website leads to higher conversion rates for those who operate e-commerce platforms.
Getting ahead of competitors: In today’s increasingly globalised society, the business environment we operate in has become hypercompetitive. Translating your website and offering allows you to gain access to lucrative international markets before your competitors do. Taking initiative and claiming a percentage of the international market share before competitors do, could be key for long term success and building brand loyalty with consumers.
Which Businesses Should Definitely Be Translating Their Websites
Of course, there could be an argument that every business or organisation should translate their website. However, in terms of feasibilities and practicalities, translating your website makes sense for some businesses more than others. Let’s take a closer look at some businesses that should think about translating their website as a priority:
Businesses who operate in countries with more than one language: While this may or may not come as a surprise, it’s important to be conscious of the fact that in some countries there is no “main language” instead there are several languages used widely in the countries. Take Belgium, for example, with Dutch, French, and German all listed as official languages. If we look at the USA, there are over 40 million native Spanish speakers. You’ll want to do so research on the territories you’re operating in and make sure you’re catering for all languages that are widely spoken there.
Businesses operating in international e-commerce: If you’re carrying out business in international markets, this really shouldn’t be a question. Translate your website. Research from the Common Sense Advisory showed that almost ¾ (72.1%) of an internet users time on the web is spent on sites in their native language. If you’re not translating to meet their needs, you’re not doing e-commerce right.
Businesses who want to grow and improve search traffic: If you’re not thinking about search traffic and SEO you’re doing both your business and your site itself, a great disservice. Wondering why? Well, almost 92% of all traffic share for a particular search is generated by sites on the first page of the Google search results. If you plan on growing and expanding your business to wider audiences, translation is a must. Translating your content along with SEO keywords and metadata will help boost your traffic and subsequent growth.
Translating Your Website
Now that you know the why, it’s time we talk about how you can go about translating your website. There are lots of options available on the market, so it’s important you choose the right one to best suit the needs of your business. Let’s take a look at some of them below.
Professional Translators: Of course, the most obvious choice to translate your websites’ content might be hiring a professional translator. However, cost must be factored into the equation when doing so, and as far as translation solutions go – hiring professional translators is about as expensive as it gets. There’s also no guarantee that the translators will have any technical knowledge or experience to assist you with integrating the new language onto your site.
WordPress Plugins: While human translation isn’t always the most feasible option, automatic translation is increasingly improving its accuracy. Luckily, there are a number of WordPress translation plugins that combine both automatic translation and human translation to give both a speedy and cost-efficient solution. This allows you to automatically have your content translated in the desired language and simply have it manually edited by human translators if you want. This is by far your best option, especially for sites with lots of content (think e-commerce and the thousands of products on an online store).
However, before you go installing any old WordPress translation plugin, you should be aware of a few things:
- Installation process: Many WordPress translation plugins have an overly convoluted installation process which involves downloading many components which can be confusing and off-putting.
- Content detection: Be mindful of this one in particular. Many plugins don’t allow you to translate all the content on your site and may only allow you to translate content within the WP editor. For anything else, such as headings or sidebars, you may have to install additional plugins which is both tedious and time consuming.
- Duplicate pages: Different plugins answer your translation challenge in different ways. Some create duplicate versions of each webpage in the translated language, saves them as a normal webpost and links the content together. This is a very manual and long-winded process that can clog the backend of your WordPress due to the volume of additional posts.
- SEO friendliness: Speaking of SEO, make sure your plugin is optimised for SEO purposes meaning it will translate your metadata (such as title, meta description, etc) and not just the content visible on the page (there’s lots of important info on the page that we can’t see).
Fortunately, there’s a WordPress translation plugin available which covers all these things and more, meaning you can leave the translation to them and focus on other aspects of your business.
The Weglot Translation Plugin
The Weglot plugin is the most comprehensive translation plugin on WordPress and combines automatic translation with the option for human translation to strike the right balance between time and cost efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main features which distinguish Weglot from other translation plugins:
- Installation: Weglot’s setup process couldn’t be easier, have all your web pages autodetected and translated in 5 minutes.
- Content detection: All web pages and content are detected with the Weglot plugin, it’s also compatible with all WP themes and other plugins.
- Duplicate pages: Weglot’s translation solution doesn’t involve the duplication of pages which can be detrimental to your website performance, it also doesn’t create any additional content on the backend of WordPress which can cause slowdowns.
- SEO Optimised: In addition to translating all your visible content, Weglot also translates the content on your site that you can’t see such as the aforementioned metadata. This leads to higher rankings on Google’s search result pages.
- Support: Weglot has a rigorous customer support team who will respond to your query within one business day, meaning any problems or issues you may encounter can be quickly rectified.
- Translations: Weglot manages your translations under one user-friendly, intuitive interface. Both manual and automatic translations are used and Weglot offers access to professional translators too.
How Weglot Works
Let’s now take a look at how the Weglot WP plugin works and how you can go about making your entire website multilingual in minutes.
1. Install The Weglot Plugin
The first step in the installation process is to download the Weglot plugin from your WordPress site’s dashboard. After you do this, you’ll be prompted to add your Weglot API key. This API key can be found by logging into your Weglot account or by creating an account.
At this point you also choose the original language of the website and the destination language(s) (i.e. the languages you want your site translated into). Click ‘’save changes’’, et voilà your site is now multilingual.
A language switcher will appear on your website which will allow visitors to change the language in which they view your content. This language switcher can be customised on the WordPress dashboard to move it to a different position on your site, to include flags etc.
2. Manually Edit and/or Order Professional Translation
Weglot’s solution translates all your site’s content to the destination language using an automatic machine-based translation. However, if there are some words or phrases you want to revise or get a professional translator to look at this is easily done via the Weglot dashboard. This may be of interest for things like terms and conditions where it is important that legal information is 100% accurate.
To manually edit your translations, click on “translations” on the right hand sidebar of the Weglot dashboard, this will bring you into a page where all your translations are shown in a list. To manually edit these translations, click on the translation on the right-hand side and change where appropriate. To order professional translations, click on the “professional translations” on the right-hand sidebar.
Weglot also has another intuitive feature when it comes to translating your content. By clicking on the ‘’visual editor’’ feature on the sidebar you can edit translations live on your site to see how it will look visually.
When you’re happy with all your translations, enjoy your new multilingual site. Don’t forget to try out other Weglot features such as switching on ‘Enable media translation’ which allows you to translate images, videos and other types of media depending on the language in which the user views the site. This is a great way to localize your site and enhance the customer experience!
Coming into the new decade, the question isn’t whether you should translate your website, it’s more so when are you going to do it? Without a doubt, businesses and organisations alike should be adapting with the increasingly globalised world we operate in today and cater for customers on an international scale.
If you’re concerned about managing the updates of your translation plugin and keep your multilingual website running smoothly, we’re here to help. Find out more about our WordPress maintenance services and how you can grow your business without having to worry about any of the development and management tasks that come with WordPress. Discover why hundreds of WordPress users trust WPDandy to help with their maintenance needs.