How to Make WordPress Site Multilingual using WPML: Beginner’s Guide

Last Updated: 9 mins By: Maneela K.C

Time has changed, and the technological needs of our users have also changed with the time. We have been emphasizing on various essential plugins, best WordPress themes and hosting services all these times telling you all how important is it to have a website in this era.

But we haven’t talked much about making your website multilingual. So, in this article, I’ll elaborate why you need to make your site multilingual and how to create a WordPress multilingual site.

Firstly, let us start with the importance of making your WordPress site multilingual.

Why would you need to make your WordPress site multilingual?

As a company or organization grow, sooner or later, it is pretty obvious for anyone to seek the international growth. So, how do you reach out to potential customers globally? One and the obvious answer is your company’s website. The website is an integral part of the marketing strategy of almost all businesses in the world today. People look out for your company’s website while they want any information.

But the question remains, is the information you feed into your website all worth it if nearly half your customers don’t understand it? In today’s globalized world, to sell your product, you must be able to make people understand about it first.

No doubt, English is one of the most common internet languages, but not all people around the world use English as their primary language. There are countries in the world where English is not the dominant language.

Statistics according to W3Techs about the top 10 languages by Content published as of 14th January, 2020.

language data 2020

Another statistics by on top 10 languages in which blogs are written all over the world as of 2020.

top languages wordpress blogs 2020

So, it’s high time you think a step further than your competitors and localize your website. That is to say, making your site available in local languages is as important as optimizing and promoting it.

Here are some of the key benefits of making your WordPress site multilingual.

  • Reach out to new domestic and global market.
  • Build credibility.
  • Gain the SEO benefits.
  • Increase customer engagement.

Putting all things together, localizing your website is one of the fundamental business requirements today. At least that is what a web-savvy marketer would do!

Do we need to translate the whole WordPress site and is it costly?

The concept of making WordPress multilingual sites seem quite expensive and daunting at the same time, but the cost is nothing compared to the benefits it has in the long run. It isn’t a big deal even if your budgets are tight because WordPress language switcher makes it very easy to translate any of your posts, pages, tags, categories and even the themes into as many languages as you need.

Thus, it is not mandatory to localize your whole website at once. Simply, localize your key pages, and that will also lead you to the increased traffics and boost your search engine rankings in that particular nation. Considering all things, localizing your website is the most cost-efficient way to exploring avenues to global market.

How to create a multilingual WordPress Site?

How to create a multilingual WordPress Site using WPML? #WordPress #Multilingual #Websites #WPML Click To Tweet Generally, there are three ways to make your site multilingual. They are:

  • Using a WordPress multilingual plugin like WPML.
  • Creating a WordPress multisite.
  • Building Different installation for each language.

Though these are the three solutions for creating a multilingual site, however, the second options can be quite hectic if you are to migrate to other solutions later. Similarly, the third option is not mostly recommended. Thus, in this article, we will only show you all how to make your WordPress site multilingual buy using WordPress multilingual plugin.

Let’s start…

Creating a multilingual WordPress site using WPML

WPML-WordPress-multilingual-pluginCreating a WordPress website is very easy but converting it to a multilingual WordPress site is not an easy task. But the availability of the WordPress multiple plugins has made it convenient. However, the process can be quite confusing. So, let me show you all how to make WordPress site multilingual using a WordPress multilingual plugin.

WPML happens to be the best WordPress translation plugins so far. So, start by installing and activating the WPML (WordPress Multi-language) plugin.

After the plugin is activated, a new menu item “WPML” will be added to the WordPress menu. Then, click on the menu, and you will be redirected to the plugin’s configuration wizard.Here, you need to select your WordPress site’s language. However, the plugin will detect and select it automatically. Then, click on the next button to continue.

WordPress-multilingualAfter that, it will lead you to the next screen where you will be asked to select the languages that you want to enable on your website. Just pick the languages of your choice and click on the next button when you are done. Remember the language selection can be changed later as per your needs.

WP-multilingual-pluginAnd on the next screen, you have to add a language switcher to your website. This is to allow the users to view the contents of your site in their preferred languages. Also, you will be given two options to handle languages that are without translations. Moreover, you can reorder the languages. For that, drag the language and drop it to another position. Once, you are satisfied with the changes you made, click on the next button.


Finally, under registration part, you will be asked to enter the site key. To get your site key, you have to go the WPML website where you will be asked to your site to your WPML account. It will then generate a site key. Simply, copy the key and paste it into your WordPress site.

WP-language-switcherAnd that is it. The WPML setup wizard is completed. Lastly, click on the Finish button to exit.


As I have mentioned already, we can translate only the key pages and posts as we require. To do so, go to the Pages menu. There you will see the Languages column next to your existing page titles.


Since I had added only French and Spanish in settings, add buttons for these languages is shown next to your page titles. Next, click on the button to translate your page to that particular language.

Besides, you also have an option to manage the translations through post edit. For that, click on the edit button like you usually do to go to the edit screen. You will notice a meta box named “Language” on the right-hand side of the screen.WordPress-language-switcherTo translate the contents of your website, you have two options. Either add the translated content yourself, or you can add the WordPress users and authors to your WordPress site and have them do the translation.

Apart from that, you can also purchase the Multilingual CMS plan offered by WPML. Upon the purchase, you will be able to use the translation management module that allows you to add users as the translators. The assigned user cum translator will add the translations directly to WPML.


Thus, this makes the whole translation task very easy.


WPML also allows translating any of the WordPress taxonomies like categories and tags as required. For that, go to WPML >> Taxonomy Translation. Then, select the taxonomy you like to translate from the drop down. Finally, click on the add button to add the translation.WP-multi-language


Translating the navigation menu is as simple as adding translations for categories, tags, and other taxonomies. First, go to Appearance>> Menus. After you are redirected to the menus page, select the menu you want to get translated. Then, on the right, you will see the menu links to translate your menus into other languages.

If you click on the link, it will then create a new menu for the language you selected. Simply, add all the menu items to the newly created menu that were in your primary language menu.WordPress-multiple-languages
And don’t forget to save the changes.


Lastly, we will now see how to translate the themes and plugins with WPML. WPML Multilingual CMS provides you with the option to select the official translations of themes and plugins. Otherwise, it also has a string translator of its own.

Firstly, visit WPML >> Themes and Plugins Localization. And on the localization options section, you can see you are asked to select one of the three options for translating strings in themes and plugins. By default, the first option is selected (don’t load .mo files). You can leave that as it is. But if you want to stay on the safer side then you can select the second option. That is because even if your database gets corrupted by any means your .mo file can still be called automatically.WP-multiple-LanguagesLastly, make sure that you save your changes.


At last, it wouldn’t be wrong to say English is slowly losing its status of being the internet’s universal language. Thus, making your WordPress site multilingual is one of the most prominent needs for the growth of your business.

Furthermore, making your WordPress site multilingual is no more a headache now. All thanks to the WordPress community for those well-configured WordPress multilingual plugin like WPML, you can now make your web pages available in multiple languages just like that 🙂

Hopefully, this article was beneficial in making your website multilingual, and you are now ready to give that instant boost to your product sales by opening doors to international trade. If you like this article, please feel free to check out on our other articles as well:

Maneela K.C

Maneela is a blogging enthusiast who aspires to become a wordsmith of the digital world. A writer by profession and dreamer by nature, she loves to read, travel, and try new things. You can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter

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