Congratulations on launching your new WordPress site! After plenty of testing and quality assurance the launch was successful and you have plenty of happy customers. While you may think that your work is done, you have to take into account that your site is only reaching those people who happen to speak your native language. There is a good chance (particularly if you have an educational site) that you could significantly increase your customer base through language translation. There are many ways to do this, but we’ll describe three primary methods.
The easy way to translate WordPress: let Google do all the work
By far the quickest and easiest way to provide language translation is to simply sit back and let Google do all the work. In fact, with Google Chrome’s built in automatic Google Translate tool (or more refined Google Translate Extension for Chrome) you don’t have to do a single thing. Needless to say this goes on the enormous assumption that your users have Chrome and are familiar with this tool. Furthermore, you have zero control over the results, which may not be very professional (as you may have experienced when viewing automatically-translated sites back to your language).
A step up from this non-action is to install GTranslate’s plugin with basic settings. This will allow users from almost any browser the option to automatically translate the content of your site. However, this uses fairly weak translation systems and you don’t control what the translation reproduces. While this technique is free and easy, it could leave an unfavorable impression of your website if the translations are poor or awkward.
A more involved way: use an advanced WordPress language translation plugin: GTranslate
If the default GTranslate plugin is insufficient for your needs, you can use something like the Pro version of the GTranslate plugin. The Pro version has several different pricing levels depending on your exact needs. One important advantage of the paid version is that it uses a more complex neural language translation algorithm. This system is considered much more accurate than the free system and will provide more “natural” results. In addition, you can override any text in the WordPress admin, and even translate URLs. This may be a good option if you are going to have a lot of users outside of your native language.
The most precise and involved way: WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WMPL)
For those who require nothing less than perfect language translation, the WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WMPL) is hard to beat. This essentially creates completely new content per language. This gives you total control over what is displayed per language, such as using different blocks or images. The downside is that it is very labor intensive and assumes you have the ability to perform manual translations using fluent speakers. It also requires a relatively steep learning curve and may not work with all plugins on your site.
There are certainly many more language translation options for WordPress. The three above will provide a good starting point. The amount of work is up to you, but you would be advised to not limit your customer base based on language.