Increase Your Audience with a WordPress Translation Plugin

The web, with a few exceptions of course, is a borderless world. Being able to easily translate a website into a different language can make a big difference in terms of attracting more visitors. If you make it easy for those that use a different language, they will be more likely to return to your site.

The plugins below aim to help you do that.

Translate Your WordPress Site

The world of WordPress translator plugins is messier than I expected. Many I tried simply didn’t work. Some wanted to put links on my site or even take over my advertising space. One actually crashed my blog completely. Of course thoughts of the Tower of Babel sprang to mind.

Below are the two that survived the testing. The first will translate your entire site at the click of a button. The second will translate selected texts within a post. Both have their uses depending on your needs.

1. Global Translator (Download Here)

The Global Translator plugin offers four different translation engines to translate from:

  • Google
  • Prompt Online Translator
  • Altavista Babel Fish
  • FreeTranslator

This plugin works firstly by using iframes with the translation engine website. If you have set up caching, however, once a page has been translated once, you will not need to go back to the translation engine unless you have set up the plugin to do so.

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In Action – WordPress Translator Widget

Let’s take a look at the plugin in action.

Once activated, you use a widget to place flags for different languages in your widgetized areas.

We can see in this shot, the entire site has been translated and rests in an iframe at Google Translate.

WordPress Global Translator Plugin Settings

On the settings menu, you can choose your translation engine and which languages you would like to offer your site to be translated to.

WordPress Translation Widget Design Settings

You also have the option of choosing the number of flags per row for design sake. There are also a few other options, such as how often a translation can be requested. You will need to make sure your site is not requesting too many translations in a short amount of time, or you could be banned from the translation service.

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 2. Translate This gTranslate Shortcode (Download Here)

The gTranslate Shortcode plugin is a different animal from the plugin above. This plugin is meant for those times when you have limited amounts of text in a foreign language that you may need translated to the language of the blog.

So, for example, let’s say your blog is in English, but you have some text in French that you would like to place in a post. This plugin allows you to place the original French text in the post.

Who Needs this Plugin

There may be several reasons why you would want to do this. Perhaps many but not all your readers speak both French and English. Perhaps for accuracy’s sake, you want to make sure you are not misquoting something, yet you want to provide a translation for it as well. Perhaps you are an academic and feel providing the original text is required for authenticity, etc.

How It Works

After placing your foreign language text in the proper shortcodes (you must identify the language of the text in the shortcode), a link then appears above the text that will allow the text to be translated into the language of the blog via Google’s translation engine.

Once the text is translated, the link above the text automatically changes to allow the reader to return to the original text.

The Advantage of this Translator Plugin

Obviously this plugin is not what you will want if you would like your whole site to be translated. But its one big advantage over a complete site translation is that it is much faster than a complete site translator. And that can make a big difference for your reader if you only need an  occasional piece of text translated.

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Photo: Speech Bubble Communication Concept from BigStock

Comments (3)

  1. I would never recommend to use Google as a solution for a “multilingual” website, simply because the quality of the translations is horrendous at best.

    To use it internally, for example to get an idea of what is said in another language, Google Translate can be ok and it helps tremendously if you actually to some extent speak the language you are translating from/to.

    But with a website, we’re basically talking about something like a name card, out in the public domain. I’m not sure but for a company and also a personal blog, would you really want to get the reputation that a dumb translation of your site would give you?

    Nah, not really…

  2. I have found Google translate to be one of the best free translators out there.
    Most people also know that Google translate is not 100% accurate but it has always made translations from my pages understandable. If you write the content on your site in an easy to understand lingo without too many fancy words Google translate works fine.

    If you have a “multilingual” website of course you would have the web pages translated into the languages you use on your site, and not use a translation plugin.

    I have never heard of anybody who had their online reputation destroyed because of an online translation, is that even possible?

    Web site languages where we have used Google Translate with success: