How to Effectively Translate and Localize a WordPress Website

06/09/2022 | Marketing Team

WordPress is no longer just a simple blogging platform. You can use WordPress to create any type of website, ranging from personal websites to e-commerce stores.

One of the biggest benefits of WordPress is that you can customize it as much or as little as you want. And, once you build your dream website, you can translate and localize it by combining the strengths of the WPML plugin and your translation partner, Language Insight.

The Basics of a WordPress Site

Before you begin sending content for translation, it’s worth knowing more about some important elements that make up a WordPress website.

Appearance

The first thing every WordPress site needs is a theme, which is a set of pre-designed templates that defines the way your website looks. You can easily add a theme by going to Appearance from your WordPress site’s dashboard. If you’re looking to have a multilingual site, it’s a good idea to find a theme that’s translation ready.

Content

Once you’ve decided on the appearance of your page, you can move on to adding content to your site. By default, WordPress comes with two content types: Posts and Pages. Some themes also come with custom post types, which allow you to add content to your website in a manageable way. Movies, Portfolios and Testimonials are all examples of commonly used custom post types.

Additional Plugins

As your website grows, you may want to expand the functionality of it.

There are thousands of free and paid plugins that make it possible to add features to your WordPress website. For example, WordPress form plugins allow you to build any type of form in minutes. With custom post type plugins, you can add unique content to your site that doesn’t fit into the built-in post types.

And, once you fine-tune all the content on your site, you can translate it with the help of a multilingual plugin like WPML.

Choosing the Right Multilingual Plugin

WPML is the market-leading translation plugin for WordPress. It has everything you need to build a fully multilingual site:

  • Ability to translate everything on your site, from posts and pages to texts from themes and plugins
  • Compatibility with most WordPress themes, plugins, and page builders
  • Top quality support and documentation
  • Multiple SEO-friendly URL structure options

The multilingual plugin also comes equipped with a Translation Management module, which integrates Language Insight with WPML. You can select the content you want to translate, the language you want to translate it into, and send everything off to Language Insight – all without leaving your WordPress site’s dashboard.

Translating the Content on Your Site

Depending on the nature of your website, you probably have most of your site’s content in posts, pages, or custom post types. With WPML, the translation process for all post types is the same. What’s more, any categories, tags, and custom taxonomies assigned to your content are sent to translation together with your posts and pages.

Start by going to WPML → Translation Management:

1. Select the items you want to translate, the languages you want to translate them into, and click on Add selected content to translation basket.

Translating website
Selecting the items for translation and adding them to the translation basket

2. Head over to the Translation Basket tab. Once you review the items you are sending for translation and set a batch name, choose Language Insight from the Translator dropdown menu. Then, click the Send all items for translation button.

WPML translation
Sending all the items for translation to the translation service

All that’s left to do is confirm the quotation you receive from Language Insight. Once that’s done, Language Insight can start translating!

Other Texts on Your Site to Translate

You already know that taxonomies are sent for translation together with the content in your posts and pages. But, there’s also the matter of other content that is built into your site. This includes texts coming from your theme, additional plugins installed on your site, as well as widget texts.

For example, here’s some untranslated text in the site’s footer area:

WPML
Untranslated text in the site’s footer

And here’s some untranslated text inside a button:

Website translation
Untranslated button text

These texts are also called strings. You can translate them by going to WPML → String Translation.

Using the display filter at the top of the String Translation page, you can determine which strings to display, or search for the exact text you want to send for translation.

WPML translation
Using the display filter to search for texts to translate

Once you locate the texts, all you need to do is select them and then choose the languages you want to translate them into from the list. Then, click on the Add to translation basket button.

WPML website translation
Selecting the strings and adding them to the translation basket

Now, all that’s left to do is to head over to the Translation Basket tab in WPML → Translation Management and send the strings to your translation team at Language Insight.

If at any point you can’t find the strings you’re looking for, you may need to scan the translation files of the related theme or a plugin. By default, WPML doesn’t scan or load all translation files into the database.

Final Thoughts

Once you learn more about what the WordPress core components are and how to use them, it’s much easier to understand the how of WordPress website translation.

WPML’s integration with Language Insight provides you with a smooth translation process. By using the quality translation plugin with your translation team at Language Insight, you can easily translate your WordPress site and provide your audience with a fully multilingual experience.

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