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Our WPML Review
WordPress Multilingual Plugin or WPML is without doubt the most versatile and advanced translation plugin out there. It’s incredibly useful if you are looking for an easy way to introduce multilingual versions of your website. The plugin currently supports over 40 languages out of the box, and it is possible to add custom languages. There are tens of other translation plugins available for WordPress users, WPML has however been the first to offer a complete and well-supported solution. It comes with regular updates, dedicated support team and best of all, a translation marketplace, which makes the entire localization process much more straightforward. In addition to that, there are multiple free and premium add-ons to expand the language functionalities of your website even further.
Getting started with WPML is quite easy, the installation and activation process will most likely take less than 15 minutes. What may seem really complicated once the setup is complete are the numerous features bundled with WPML, but we will discuss these in the next section of our review. If you are installing WPML for the first time, here are the steps to follow during the setup:
Download installable zip file of WPML from your account at WPML.org.
Besides the WPML Multilingual CMS plugin, you can also download additional components.
Login to the WordPress admin section of your website. Go to Plugins, select Add New and then on the page that opens select Upload Plugin. Then select the WPML installation zip archives and click Install Now.
Once the plugin has finished installing, go to Plugins, then Activate the WPML Multilingual CMS WordPress plugin.
The plugin comes with a setup wizard, which will allow you to quickly select default languages and activate the necessary settings for your website. To activate automatic updates for WPML, you need to register your website with your account at WPML.org. Once you finish the registration you will receive a unique site key, which you need to enter in WPML’s settings page.
After the default and additional languages are selected, the real work begins – it’s time to start translating your website’s content. There are multiple features in the WordPress Multilingual Plugin that make this process incredibly easy:
WPML introduced its Translate Everything mode as of WPML 4.5. This important new feature allows users to take advantage of the power of automatic translation, making it easy and affordable to translate your site and keep those translations up to date. You can choose from Google Translate, Microsoft Azure Translator, and DeepL Translator to generate your translations, then review those translations before or after publishing them to your site. A huge time saver!
You can quickly add manually translated content to your website by using the WPML language selector:
There is a new page created for every language version, where you can add content for the specific language. You can also choose to create a demo version of your website prior to translation, this is when the content duplication feature of WPML really comes in handy. This WPML feature is extremely useful for smaller websites, where a single user will perform the translation.
If you’ve decided to use the help of qualified translators to prepare your new multilingual website, the translation management feature of WPML will allow you to quickly create separate accounts for the different translators and monitor their progress, as well as manage different translation assignments.
Translation via CAT Tools
Professional translators use CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools to be more productive and WPML supports that. These tools make offline editing incredibly easy and the completed files can be quickly uploaded to the website.
No matter your experience level, you are probably aware that organizing the translation of a large website to multiple languages can quickly turn into a nightmare without proper management. To alleviate this, the creators of WPML are providing everything you need to outsource translation tasks performed by professionals from multiple translation agencies. This is a somewhat unique feature among localization plugins, which can really make a difference. You can directly send texts from the WPML Translation Dashboard to professional translators and get everything done on time, at reasonable rates for around 30 languages. Here are the top translation providers supported by WPML, the full list is available here:
ICanLocalize allows you to tap into a vast talent pool of certified academic translators. The service also uses innovative software technology, which reduces the time for translations by up to 50%. This makes it easy to save money without sacrificing translation quality.
Cloudwords is a marketplace for translation freelancers, where you can easily pick the best professionals for the task. What makes Cloudwords different from the other similar services is the possibility to do in-context reviews, which ensures high levels of relevancy.
Need a complete translation service for your business? The professionals at TranslateMedia are specialised in helping businesses from any size go global. Besides content translation services, the teams can handle pretty much any digital assets you may have, while keeping SEO in mind at all times.
Without doubt one of the leaders when it comes to enterprise translation and localization services, Translations.com can help you get your content available in more than 170 languages. Trusted by more than 3000 organizations worldwide, Translations.com is a safe bet.
As the name suggests, the services offered by OneHourTranslation.com are quite fast. It’s considered by many web professionals as the fasted translation and localization service out there. The expert translators will help you not only translate general digital content, but also cover more specialized areas such as legal and even highly technical domains like medicine.
As already mentioned, WPML comes with additional features you can install on your website if needed. Here is a complete list of the available WPML add-ons:
WPML Multilingual CMS
This is the core WPML plugin, which allows you translate content, as well as manage or outsource the different translation tasks. It’s pretty much the basic package you need to make your website multilingual.
WPML String Translation
The WPML String Translation allows you to translate not only website content, but also the theme and plugins you use, as well as various other elements of your website. Most of the time, this is done by editing .mo files, but with this WPML add-on you will be able to translate to all strings directly from your dashboard.
WPML Media Translation
This plugin allows you to use different images from the WordPress gallery for the different language versions of your website.
This WPML add-on enables the creation of multilingual eCommerce stores with WooCommerce. It supports the translation of all WoCommerce elements, such as products, fields, attributes, variations and categories.
Gravity Forms Multilingual
Most of the time, admins create a separate Gravity form for each language, but with this WPML add-on, the process is simplified. You can create a form in the default language and then translate it.
If you run a social network website with BuddyPress, this WPML add-on will allow you to create a consistent multilingual user experience. The plugin will adjust the language of all pages that users have access to, as well as enable the translation of all BuddyPress elements, such as profiles, admin panels and custom fields.
WP All Import
The WP All Import plugin makes it easy to upload XML or CSV files to your WordPress website, making it incredibly useful for eCommerce stores, where there are multiple products and variations to be imported in WooCommerce.
Advanced Custom Fields Multilingual
If you use Advanced Custom Fields on your website, this plugin will allow you to translate all fields created so far.
WPML Sticky Links
When creating a multilingual website, one of the main issues that can affect your SEO performance is the internal link structure. The WPML Sticky Links prevents internal links from breaking by updating their structure if any changes occur. No matter what you change in the permalink structure, all internal links will be updated immediately.
WPML CMS Navigation
When your website needs to maintain separate menu structure for every language, instead of creating dozens of menus, you can use the WPML CMS Navigation add-on. It allows the translation of all navigation elements including breadcrumbs.
The WPML support team is available to answer all your questions on the WPML forums, currently available in English, Chinese, Hindi, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and French. While most users will most likely have reservations on the quality of the forum support provided by the WPML team, the truth is that you can get solutions to your problems in less than a day most of the time, and make everyone benefit from your questions. Unlike other forum support systems, the one offered by WPML is effective for developers, website admins and even novice WordPress users.
WPML is available in 3 different versions:
The most economic WPML solution out there with the core plugin feature set and price of $39. If you plan to translate your website yourself, the Multilingual Blog package is perfect for you. It comes with one year of updates and support. The renewal after the first year for this plan annually costs 25% less. This WPML package is especially useful for blogs, small corporate and portfolio websites, where there is less need of the extended plugin functionality.
Priced at $99, the Multilingual CMS WPML package comes with the core features plus all add-on plugins mentioned so far. It also comes with a year of free updates and premium support. After the first year, annual renewal costs 25% less. The Multilingual CMS package is great for eCommerce stores, as well as medium to large corporate websites.
The Multilingual Agency package has all the features of the Multilingual CMS one, but allows installation on an unlimited number of sites. The cost of the Multilingual Agency plan is $199, while annual renewal costs 25% less. As its name implies, it is particularly great for web agencies and freelancers. All versions of WPML allow you to take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there is literally zero risk of not making a worthwhile purchase.
The best way to find out how WPML works and whether it will be a good fit for your website is to see it in action. Here are a couple of WordPress websites that have successfully implemented it:
We’ve been involved with WordPress for more than 14 years now and tested numerous other multilingual WordPress plugins, a lot of which have clumsy UI or nasty little bugs at every corner. WPML is the most reliable, advanced, compatible with the WordPress ecosystem and at the same time one of the easiest-to-use multilingual plugins. It can be setup within a couple of minutes and you can streamline the entire localization process via the Translations Management dashboard. In addition to that, the numerous SEO features make it incredibly easy to gain organic traffic for the translated content on your website. While most of the core WPML features are available with many other similar plugins, the ones that really make it unique are the innovative Translations Management, various integrations with other popular WordPress plugins and most importantly the ability to outsource translation tasks straight from the WordPress admin. If you feel unsure whether WPML will be a good addition to your website, get in touch with us in the comments and we will be happy to help as much as we can.