Your Global Potential: WordPress Website Translation into Multiple Languages

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In our global society, our reach is so much wider than it ever has been in human history. But what does that mean for your website, especially if you aren’t going out of your way to try to sell globally? Do you have a responsibility to make your website accessible to people who speak other languages and live across the world from you and your business?

While I don’t think it’s necessary to always translate your website, there are a lot of reasons why it might be a good idea and a smart business move. 💡

What a translated website can do

While the patrons of a business may have once been limited to those who could physically reach its location, that’s no longer true for all businesses. In fact, many people rely on a customer base that is far removed from their physical location. So what possibilities does a translated website unlock?

Expanding your reach ✈️

With a growing business, you’re usually trying to figure out how to reach more people and turn them into customers. For small businesses and start-ups, this can often look like local outreach in the community where the business is located. But for some types of businesses, this isn’t the only way.

While a coffee shop might have trouble marketing outside of the neighborhood where it is located, businesses selling all sorts of other goods might really thrive globally. And those businesses that offer services that can easily happen asynchronously or over Zoom may prefer to do business with folks that live far away.

Websites that exist only in a single language will be inherently limited by the languages that their ideal clients speak. ⛔ You’ll have a hard time reaching people who can’t understand what you’re saying, no matter how beautiful your website might be.

Better experiences all around ⭐

As we’ve talked about before, accessibility efforts often benefit everyone, even when they’re targeted toward a specific audience (e.g. design choices that are meant to help folks with low vision will also make a site more digestible to sighted folks). The same is true for translation.

Having a translated website means that people who only speak a language other than English can access your site, but it also means that people for whom English is a second language can comprehend it more easily. More people will be able to access your site, and that means more people will naturally engage with it and your brand. Diversity in your customer base can only make your business better and levels of satisfaction higher.

SEO around the world 🌍

As a business owner, you’ve likely learned all about SEO, and maybe you’ve put in time and effort to optimize your site with alt text, meta descriptions, and more. But have you ever wondered if SEO is international?

Folks who are making searches in other languages get results that are optimized for those languages. So if your site hasn’t been optimized in this way, it won’t show up internationally. This might not be a problem, but if you’re projecting growth that includes a global audience, you can’t ignore international SEO and expect to succeed.

Being a global brand

Imagine for a moment that you are a resident of Madrid, Spain, and although you know a little English, you aren’t confident in your ability to really comprehend anything complicated in a language other than Spanish. You’re looking for a good or service, and you happen upon a brand that appeals to you. You visit the website and see a language toggle option. With a couple of clicks, suddenly the entire website feels like it was written for you! 

This kind of experience with a brand can make a huge difference in how you choose to move forward. Brands that put in the effort to be accessible in other languages show respect and appreciation for customers who come from other countries and backgrounds. This kind of mindset often communicates a quality and trustability that will make folks feel much more comfortable buying in.

Additionally, having a website translated into other languages may not be the norm for your industry. You can take that to mean that it’s not necessary, or you can view it as an opportunity to stand out among the competition: yours is the kind of business that really cares about the international community and wants to be accessible to everyone. 🤩

Manual vs. automatic translation: which is best?

If you’ve decided to translate your site, the next decision will be whether to do it automatically or manually. Like many things in web design (and life), there isn’t necessarily a right answer. Instead, it comes down to several factors that you will have to weigh.

Automatic translation 🤖

Like a lot of automatic services, automatic translation offers a quick and cost-effective way to translate your site. If you have a pretty basic site or offer products or services that aren’t highly specialized, this might be the path for you. 

Of course, automating translation is bound to have its drawbacks. Some issues might arise since automatic translation is bound to be a little less precise and accurate. There might be errors in nuance or context, and if your content is particularly sensitive in any way, automated solutions may not be able to handle translation delicately.

Manual translation 🤓

Translation done by a human who is fluent in both the original language of the website and the language it is being translated into is bound to be more accurate and nuanced. The quality of this kind of translation is its main selling point, and if you have a large international market, you’re likely better off choosing this option.

However, like most tasks done by humans instead of robots, the cost can be prohibitive. Translation is a specialized task, and the folks who can offer good translation services typically aren’t cheap. Depending on the size of your site, it can also take quite a while since working through all the text on all the pages is bound to be time-consuming. 

Manual translation also isn’t free from mistakes, and a human translator may have a blind spot in their language knowledge that they aren’t aware of. This could lead them to make a mistake that the general audience of native speakers will catch. If your business falls into a highly specialized industry, a translator may have an excellent grasp of the languages but not your industry’s specific jargon. Mistakes may show up in any technical language, and you’d be none the wiser. And if you’re looking to translate into multiple languages, you’re suddenly looking for multiple translators, which could get pricey.

Our favorite solution: TranslatePress

While it’s hard to find a perfect solution to the translation question, TranslatePress is a great option for translating your website.

Some things we love about TranslatePress 😍

Since we build all our websites on WordPress, we love that this option is fully compatible with the platform. It also works with Elementor, our preferred page builder, so it ticks all of the boxes for us.

The interface is customizable and user-friendly, and work can be done on the front end with live previews so you know what the final product will look like. The plugin also ensures consistent and accurate translations across all pages, which is important when consistency contributes so heavily to perceived authority and trustworthiness.

Is TranslatePress manual or automatic?

The good news about TranslatePress is that there are manual and automatic options, so you don’t have to choose one path and stay on it. It’s easy to create automatic translations and then edit any mistakes manually. This can speed up the translation process, and if you have knowledge of the target language, you could complete the whole process yourself.

Alternatives to TranslatePress

There are plenty of other options for translation; we’ve just seen clients succeed with TranslatePress, so it’s our go-to recommendation. However, we have clients who have used WPML (the WordPress Multilingual Plugin) or Weglot successfully as well.

🌿

The interconnectedness of our modern world is only likely to grow in the coming years. While you might not need a translated site today, it can be a good idea to get ahead of the times and be prepared for growth. If you’re looking to sell to a global market now or in the future, a translated website may be well worth the effort now.

Choosing the right tool is important, and you don’t want to waste money on something that isn’t going to offer satisfactory results, but you also shouldn’t sink a bunch of money into something that isn’t likely to be a big driver of business right away. That’s why we suggest TranslatePress to our clients: it’s a great solution for effective and efficient translation of your site, allowing you to embrace your global market and international potential.

If you’re a current client and you’re looking for a translated website now or in the future, get in touch! We can help you make a plan and choose the right path for your business. Not a client? Check out our website options, and we can factor translation into your project.

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