Blogs in English tend to do pretty well, but as you may be aware, there’s more than one language in the entire world. In fact, about half of all websites don’t use English as their primary language. That means there are a ton of users that you’re not reaching if you limit yourself to English.
The problem is, translating a blog is much easier said than done. Depending on how much content you put out, it can be an enormous task, and it’s not always worth it. However, it can also enable you to gain that many more viewers, so it’s at least worth considering.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what running a multilanguage blog entails. Then I’ll introduce you to some tools you can use to translate your WordPress blog if you’re up to the challenge. Empecemos!
What It Means to Run a Multilingual Blog (And When You Should Consider It)
The concept of multilingual websites is simple – you take all your pages and you translate them into other languages. Then users are free to jump from one version of your site to the other, depending on which language they prefer.
It sounds simple on paper, but translating is a tough job, and if you run a large blog, then it’s probably not something you can keep up on your own. To give you an idea, here’s what the basic process of setting up a multilingual WordPress blog would look like:
- Create new versions of all your pages with the same design.
- Translate all the content for those pages.
- Create new versions for each of your posts and translate their content.
- Add links from your original blog to the translated version and vice-versa.
That’s a lot of work, and we haven’t even talked about how much time it can take to translate a single post. Personally, it can take me about an hour or two to translate and polish a 1,000 article between English and Spanish. If you publish two posts a week, that’s about four hours of your time gone.
If you’re considering machine translation, then don’t. Just try using Google Translate to translate a paragraph of any post from your favorite blog to another language and see how it comes out. As far as machine translation has come, it’s still not ready for prime-time. The websites I know that use it read like unprofessional messes, and poor translations can scare native speakers away.
Aside from translating blog posts yourself or using machines, your only other option is to pay someone to do it for you. As you might imagine, that can get expensive fast. In America, for example, professional translators charge an average of $0.21 per word. For a 1,000 word post, that would come out to $210, so unless you have bottomless pockets, it’s not viable.
Ultimately, although translating a blog does offer a lot of benefits, it’s something I can only recommend under two circumstances:
- You have the skills and time to translate content on your own.
- You have the budget to hire a professional translator who won’t butcher your work.
Sure, it is possible to find translators at lower rates. However, just as with freelance writing, the talented guys aren’t slaving away for a few dollars an hour. Even if you’re lucky, you’ll need a lot of money on an ongoing basis to translate all your content, so it’s only worth it if your blog is already bringing in an income.
If that’s the case, then there are a lot of great places to hire translators online. For example, you might check out Translate.com, Unbabel, and TextMaster. Just make sure you hire the right person since it may be an ongoing gig!
2 Plugins You Can Use to Help You Translate Your WordPress Blog
If you decide you want to translate your WordPress blog, then you’ll want to use one of these plugins to make your life easier. Let’s talk about what these tools do and how they can help you.
Weglot Translate enables you to set up multiple versions of your site for as many languages as you want. That way, all you have to do is focus on the translations themselves. The plugin handles everything else, from creating new pages and posts to adding links between versions, and more.
This particular plugin is perfect if you want to handle translations on your own or provide someone with access to your dashboard to do it. Plus, it also integrates with a professional translation service you can hire through the plugin, although I haven’t tested them personally, so I can’t attest to their quality.
In my experience, this plugin is the way to go if you want to add more than one language to your blog or you have a lot of content.
Just as with the previous plugin, TranslatePress enables you to set up multiple versions of your content in different languages. However, this plugin is unique in that it enables you to translate your content using a front-end editor. That way, you can see how your translated pages will look while you work on them.
TranslatePress also integrates with Google Translate, although I don’t recommend using it for the reasons we talked about earlier. Aside from that, TranslatePress is perfect if you’re looking for a plugin that can help you translate your blog into one other language.
If you need more features down the road, TranslatePress also offers several premium add-ons. Among those, you have options for unlimited languages, a plugin that adds a ‘Translator’ user role to your site, and automatic language detection. In my experience, you don’t need those add-ons to get a lot of mileage out of the plugin, but the option is there if you want it.
If you know more than one language or you have the budget for it, then translating your blog makes sense. At least it does if you’re committed to keeping your multilingual posts up to date, which involves a lot of work. For the best possible results, you’ll also want to confirm there’s a market for your niche in whichever language you’re considering.
Should your blog tick all those boxes, here are two WordPress plugins you can use to help facilitate the translation process:
- Weglot Translate: Perfect for translating a blog into multiple languages.
- TranslatePress: This plugin is very straightforward, and it’s the way to go if you want to add a single additional language.
Do you have any questions about how to run a multilingual WordPress blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.