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How to Add Languages in WordPress (Guide & Tutorial)

In an increasingly multilingual world, a WordPress translation plugin helps you connect with visitors in their native languages.

This can have some real positive effects on your site. With the right WordPress translation plugin, it’s surprisingly simple to start offering your WordPress site in different languages.

In this post, you’ll learn exactly how to get started with WordPress translation using a free WordPress multilingual plugin, as well as the two big ways in which going multilingual can help your website grow and succeed.

WordPress Add Language: Why It’s Important (Two Benefits)

A WordPress translation plugin can help you connect better with your existing visitors, as well as reach more visitors in the first place by expanding your visibility in search engines like Google.

1. Most People Want to Browse in Their Native Language

If you have a multilingual audience – which most websites do – it’s not surprising that most of that audience want to browse your site in their native language.

According to a survey commissioned by the European Union, around 90% of people prefer to browse in their native language whenever it’s available.

Perhaps more importantly, about half that number – 45% – just will not use a different language on the Internet.

When you consider that only around 25% of people on the Internet speak English, those numbers become pretty important.

Even if you geographically narrow things down further than “every person on the Internet“, there’s still a good chance you have a multilingual audience. For example, in California alone, the US Census Bureau reported that ~45% of people age 5+ speak a language other than English when at home. For the USA as a whole, that number is still almost 22%.

To get an estimate for the languages spoken by your website’s audience, you can check out the Geo → Languages tab in Google Analytics:

WordPress add language suggestions in Google analytics

If you find that you have a multilingual audience, a WordPress translation plugin is a great way to improve your site’s user experience by creating a multilingual site to match.

2. You Can Expand Your Visibility in Google

Beyond your existing visitors, a WordPress translation plugin can also help you implement a marketing strategy known as multilingual SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

Regular SEO is all about ranking your content at the top of Google’s search results. Then, multilingual SEO expands on that by helping you rank the same ideas in new languages.

See, people around the world are searching Google for the same ideas – just in different languages.

While an English speaker might find the Popup Maker website by searching for “WordPress popup plugin”, there are also people searching for the same idea in Spanish – “Complemento emergente de WordPress”.

People searching for both phrases want the same thing (as do those searching in different languages), and a WordPress multilingual plugin helps you reach all of those people.

Looking for more ways to improve SEO? Be sure to check out our WordPress SEO Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Conversion Rates article!

WordPress Add Language Tutorial: Step-by-Step

Now that you know why it’s important to create a multilingual WordPress site, let’s dig into how you can do it.

For this example, we’ll show you how to create a multilingual popup with Popup Maker, but you can apply these techniques to the rest of your site as well.

1. Create Your Popup with Popup Maker

To get started, you can install and activate the free Popup Maker plugin from WordPress.org.

Then, head to Popup Maker → Add Popup to create your first popup. From there, add a title and use the visual editor box to add your popup’s content:

Create popup

Then, you can scroll down to the Popup Settings box to configure where and when your popup should display.

For example, you could use a Time Delay trigger to display your popup after a certain length of time:

You can also use the Targeting rules to control which pages the popup appears on, as well as which devices will see the popup.

Once you’re finished, go ahead and Publish your popup. If you go to a page where the popup is targeted, you should see it in action:

Example of po

If you want to add more functionality to your popup, you can check out the huge array of premium extensions.

For example, the Advanced Theme Builder extension gives you more control over creating and editing your popup themes:

Popup theme

Or, the Advanced Targeting Conditions extension and Exit Intent Popups extension give you access to some neat new ways to trigger and target your popups.

Once you’re happy with everything about your popup’s monolingual functionality, let’s take the next step and add a new language.

2. Install the Weglot Plugin and Choose Your Languages

To create a multilingual WordPress site, you can use the Weglot WordPress add language plugin. This plugin works with any WordPress theme, as well as all WordPress plugins, including Popup Maker.

To get started, install and activate the free Weglot plugin from WordPress.org. Then, go to the Weglot registration page and create your Weglot account.

Once you’ve done that, take the API key that Weglot provides you in your Weglot account dashboard and add it to the Weglot plugin’s settings in your WordPress dashboard.

In that same settings area, you’ll also want to choose your language settings:

  • Original language – this is the default WordPress language used by your site.
  • Destination languages – this is the new language that you want to offer your site in. For example, select “German” to add German as a site language. Or, select Spanish. You get the idea!
Configure WordPress Weglot settings to add language

3. Manually Refine Weglot’s Automatic Translations

As soon as you click Save Changes, the Weglot WordPress add language plugin uses automatic translations powered by machine translation to translate your entire site…including your popup!

So as soon as you activate Weglot, your popup (and the rest of your site) will already be multilingual:

WordPress popup in a different language

If you’d like to refine those translations manually, you can use the Weglot cloud dashboard.

Here, you’ll have two ways to edit your translations.

If you want to edit your popup’s translations, you can use the side-by-side Translations list. This interface looks a lot like a PO file or MO file you might add to your wp-content language folder and use in translation software, except there are no language files to deal with. You’ll see the original text on the left and the translated text on the right:

Manage translations in Weglot

For some popups, you can also use the Visual Editor, which shows you a live, interactive version of your site. To edit any text, you just hover over it and click the green pencil icon.

Translate popup

Note – a modal popup will obscure the pencil icon from Weglot, so you’ll want to at least temporarily disable your popup’s overlay in the Popup Maker settings if you want to use the Visual Editor.

And that’s all there is to it! You can use the same translation editing techniques to manage other content on your site, as well.

4. Use Popup Maker to Further Localize Your Site

Beyond just plain translating your popup content, there’s also another neat way that you can integrate Popup Maker with a WordPress add language plugin like Weglot.

If you’ve ever browsed a website from a location other than that site’s default language location, you’ve probably encountered some type of popup telling you about different localized versions of that site.

For example, if you visit Bose’s USA website from outside the USA, Bose will prompt you to visit their local website for your region:

Bose langua

The Weglot WordPress add language plugin automatically adds a front-end language switcher that visitors can use, but Popup Maker lets you take things further and implement this type of language redirect popup.

To set up this functionality, you could create one popup that lists all the localized versions of your site:

Multilingual popup

That would prompt visitors to choose their language when they first visit your site. You can also use Popup Maker’s cookies to ensure visitors don’t see the popup on each visit:

WordPress add language prompt

Or, you could also work with the Popup Maker team to connect to a geotargeting service and create separate geotargeted popups for each language that you offer.

Make WordPress Multilingual Today!

With a WordPress translation plugin, you can start offering your WordPress site in different languages, which helps you provide a better browsing experience for your existing visitors and reach new visitors in search engines like Google.

For an easy way to get started with WordPress translation that’s compatible with Popup Maker and all other WordPress plugins and themes, you can use the Weglot WordPress add language plugin at WordPress.org.

Then, to further localize your site and make sure your visitors know they can browse in different languages, you can use Popup Maker to create a new popup that lets visitors choose their preferred language experience.

Get started today and create your own multilingual WordPress website!

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