Did you know that only around 25% of the
world’s 4.3+ billion Internet users speak English?
There’s a whole digital world out there in other languages, and a WordPress
translation plugin can help you reach those people.
Beyond helping you reach more visitors, going
multilingual can also help you create a better user experience for the visitors
that you already have. And with the right WordPress multilingual plugin, you
can get set up surprisingly quickly and without the need for any special
In this post, you’ll learn:
- Why it makes sense to pair a
dedicated WordPress translation plugin with a theme like the Genesis Framework.
- The benefits of translating your
site into different languages.
- How to translate WordPress
step-by-step, using the StudioPress Authority Pro theme as an example.
Themes Are for Design, Plugins
Are for Functionality
If you want to create a multilingual WordPress
site, your first thought might be to look for a WordPress theme with built-in
multilingual functionality. After all, your theme controls how your content
displays, so why can’t it control the language that your content displays in
While that certainly sounds convenient, it
overlooks the proper relationship between themes and plugins in WordPress.
Themes are strictly for design, while plugins
are to add functionality.
Here’s why that matters:
Let’s say you want to change the design of
your multilingual WordPress site somewhere down the road.
If your theme were responsible for your
multilingual content, that would mean that you would lose all of your
translations as soon as you switch to a different theme. Not good, right?
On the other hand, if you use a quality
WordPress translation plugin, you’ll be able to switch themes as many times as
you want without having any effect on your content translations.
So that’s why you want a WordPress translation plugin that’s separate from your theme. But if you want to create a multilingual WordPress site, your theme is still important.
The Importance of Choosing the
Right Theme for Your WordPress Multilingual Site
Even if your WordPress theme isn’t responsible
for translating your content, it’s still going to play a pivotal role in your
multilingual WordPress site.
Your theme will control basic elements of your site such as:
As you’ll see in a second, those benefits are
tightly linked with the benefits of a WordPress translation plugin, so your
theme and translation plugin work hand-in-hand to create an SEO-friendly
multilingual website that offers a great user experience.
Benefits of Using the Genesis
Framework and Child Themes for Multilingual WordPress
The Genesis Framework provides a stellar
foundation for your multilingual WordPress site.
Out of the box, you get a quick-loading,
SEO-friendly WordPress site, along with plenty of tools to help you customize
What’s more, the
Genesis Framework is 100% compatible with the WordPress translation
plugin that you’ll see next.
To further customize your WordPress site, you
can choose from one of the many StudioPress child themes. These child themes
work hand-in-hand with the core Genesis Framework to help you find the perfect
design for your site.
For this WordPress multi-language tutorial,
we’re going to use the Authority Pro child theme, but feel free to browse
all of the Genesis Framework child themes to find the right one for
your multilingual website.
Why Make Your Genesis WordPress
Whether you’re using the Genesis Framework or
any other WordPress theme, there are some very real benefits to using a
WordPress translation plugin to make your site multilingual.
Let’s go through three of the biggest benefits.
1. Improved User Experience
First, if you have visitors who speak a
language other than your site’s native language, going multilingual helps you offer an improved user experience on your
As you’d expect, most people prefer to browse
the web in their native languages whenever possible. For example, the European
Commission sponsored a Gallup survey that found that 90% of those
surveyed prefer to browse websites in their own language when it’s available.
More importantly, 45% of respondents said that
they never use a language other than
their own when surfing the web, which means those people might just skip over
your monolingual website.
But what if you only target visitors from a
specific geographic area?
Well, while you might think that means all
your visitors speak the same native language, you’d be surprised at the
differences in languages spoken even within tight geographic areas.
For example, according to the US Census Bureau, 44.6% of
Californians age 5+ speak a language other than English when at home. That
number is 35.6% in Texas, 31.0% in New York, and 21.6% for the United States as
Basically, even if you’re only targeting a
single country or state, you still might have a multilingual audience, and
those visitors would prefer to browse your site in their native languages.
In fact, some even consider offering your site
in multiple languages to be a basic accessibility issue.
If you want a quick way to gauge the languages
spoken by your site’s visitors, you can use Google Analytics. If you go to Audience
→ Geo → Language, Google Analytics will show you a
report that breaks down the browser language for all of your site’s visitors:
This isn’t a perfect measure because it relies
on how people have configured their web browsers, but it should give you a
rough idea of which languages your visitors prefer.
2. More Traffic from Google via
Beyond helping you improve the experience for
your existing visitors, creating a multilingual WordPress site can also help
you expand your markets and reach new visitors in search engines like Google.
See, beyond browsing websites in their native
languages, people are also searching Google in their native languages.
While you’re busy trying to rank your content for keywords in your native language, there’s a whole world of people searching for exactly what you offer just in a different language.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for
“how to play guitar” in English, you could also reach relevant
visitors by ranking for “como tocar la guitarra”, the same phrase in
What’s more, by translating your content, you
can start ranking for these queries without
creating any new content from scratch. That is, you’re just repurposing
content you already have in a new language — you don’t have to create any new
To get an idea of how many new visitors you
could reach, you can use Google Translate and keyword research tools
like Keyword Planner or KWFinder to
see how relevant keywords compare in different languages.
3. Improved eCommerce Metrics
Finally, if you’re using the Genesis
Framework’s WooCommerce compatibility to create an eCommerce store with WordPress,
you’ll also find eCommerce benefits to using a WordPress translation plugin.
In that same Gallup survey from above, Gallup
also asked respondents about their eCommerce shopping behavior in different
languages. 42% of respondents said that they never buy products from stores in
different languages, which means that you could be missing out on potential
customers by not offering your store in their native language.
The same multilingual SEO benefits from the
previous section also apply because you can rank your shop and product pages
for keywords in new languages to increase your store’s visibility.
For example, Etsy uses this to great effect by translating
its product listing pages into different languages. You can see how this tactic
helps them rank #2 for valuable purchasing keywords:
How to Use a WordPress Translation
Plugin to Translate StudioPress Themes
Now, it’s time for the last piece in the
puzzle — how to use a WordPress translation plugin to create a multilingual WordPress site with the
Genesis Framework and the Authority Pro child theme from StudioPress.
The Authority Pro theme includes a diverse set
of elements like:
- Email subscribe forms
- A dismissable promo bar
- An assortment of CTA buttons
- Social share links
For that reason, it makes a great example of
how to fully translate all the elements on a WordPress site:
To translate Authority Pro, and any other
WordPress theme, you can use the Weglot WordPress translation plugin.
Weglot works by using automatic translation to
instantly give you a first translated version of your entire site into your
desired language(s). Then, you can go back and manually refine all of those
automatic translations using the Weglot dashboard.
- Creates SEO-friendly, indexable
pages for all your translated content using one of Google’s recommended multilingual URL structures.
- Adds a floating language switcher
to the bottom-right corner of your site so that users can choose their
preferred languages. You can also move this language switcher to other parts of
For an example of how the multilingual
functionality will work, you can check out this demo site using Authority Pro and Weglot.
Here’s how to set it up:
1. Activate Weglot and Choose
To get started, install and activate the
Weglot plugin from WordPress.org.
Then, head to the Weglot site and register for an account.
Once you’ve done that, go to the new Weglot tab in your WordPress dashboard
and add the API key that you received after confirming your Weglot account
Below that, you can also choose the languages
that you want to use on your site:
- Original language — this is the native
language that your site already exists in.
- Destination languages — these are one or more
new languages into which you want to translate your site’s content.
As soon as you click Save Changes, Weglot will use machine translation to automatically
translate all of your site’s content into your destination language(s).
And with that, you’ve already made the
Authority Pro theme multilingual!
If you open the front-end of your site, you’ll
see that a language switcher has appeared. If you select your new language,
you’ll see that the Weglot plugin has translated every single element,
including the email opt-in form in the hero section, the dismissable
notification bar, all of the CTA buttons, the blog post excerpts, and more
2. Configure Language Switcher
By default, Weglot adds a floating language
switcher to the bottom-right corner of your site that includes the language
name and flag.
If you’d like, you can change both the
appearance and location of this language switcher.
First, you can go to the Weglot area in your WordPress dashboard to configure basics about
the language switcher’s appearance, like whether to use the full language name
or just the two-letter country code.
You can also add your own custom CSS if
desired. For example, the multilingual Authority Pro demo site utilizes a
custom border radius with the following CSS:
Second, you can move the language switcher to
other parts of Authority Pro by using one of the following four options:
- Menu item, by going to Appearance → Menus.
- Widget, by going to Appearance → Widgets.
- Shortcode, by adding the [weglot_switcher] shortcode wherever you want the language switcher to appear.
- HTML, by adding <div id=”weglot_here”></div> to your site’s source code wherever you want the language switcher to appear.
3. Manually Refine Translations
Up until this point, all of the translations
on your site are machine-generated. However, you might want to edit certain
translations to improve their clarity and/or more closely reflect the voice of
For example, while machine translation is
pretty accurate these days, you might prefer to use a more playful tone for
your brand, which could require some manual editing to achieve.
To manually edit any of your translations, you
can use the Weglot cloud dashboard, which gives you two ways to access your
- List editor
- Visual editor
With the list
editor, you’ll see a side-by-side view of the original text and the
translated version. To find specific strings, you can use the filters in the
sidebar to search for specific translations or open all the translations on a
specific page. Then, you just click and type to edit the translation:
Once you edit a translation, Weglot will mark
it as reviewed by a human to help you keep track of which changes you’ve made.
You also have the option of outsourcing your
translations to professional translation services for an extra fee.
If you prefer a more visual approach to
managing translations, you might like the visual
editor, which lets you edit translations on a live preview of your website.
To edit any piece of text, you can hover over
it and click the green pencil icon:
That will open a popup where you can edit the
No matter which editor you choose, Weglot will
automatically sync any changes that you make with your live WordPress site.
And that’s all there is to it! You just
learned how to create a multilingual WordPress site using the Authority Pro
theme from StudioPress.
Bonus: Use a WordPress
Translation Plugin to Translate Atomic Blocks
If you’re using the Atomic
Blocks plugin with the Genesis Framework or any other WordPress
theme, you can also use the Weglot WordPress translation plugin to translate
all of the new content blocks that Atomic Blocks adds to the block editor.
For example, here’s a simple test page that
uses the pricing block from Atomic Blocks:
Just as with the Authority Pro theme content,
Weglot will automatically translate all of the block content from Atomic
You can also manually refine those
translations using both the list and visual editors in the Weglot dashboard:
Create a Multilingual WordPress
Creating a multilingual WordPress site
benefits you and your visitors in two big ways:
- You can offer a better user
experience for your multilingual audience, which can still apply even if you
target a limited geographic area.
- You can reach more people in
search engines like Google thanks to multilingual SEO.
To create a multilingual site, you should make
sure to keep your theme and multilingual functionality separate.
Instead of looking for a multilingual theme
out of the box, just pick a quality, optimized theme to act as your foundation.
The Genesis Framework and the many StudioPress
child themes make a great option here.
Then, use a dedicated WordPress translation
plugin to go multilingual. As you saw in the tutorial, the Weglot plugin can have you up and running
with a multilingual site in just a few minutes.
Are you ready to go multilingual? Get started
The post How to Translate Genesis With a WordPress Translation Plugin appeared first on Torque.