How to Make a Multilingual Website in 6 Steps

Kateryna Hanko
03 May 2024

6 min. read


A multi-language website is key to capturing a wider audience. With 76% of consumers preferring e-commerce information in their language, sticking to just one language is a pricey ticket to obscurity. But worry not, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to learn how to create a multilingual website using WordPress and Wix. We’ll also share lesser-known yet effective strategies to make your multi-language website stand out.

How to make a website multilingual with WordPress

Creating a multilingual website in WordPress is pretty straightforward, thanks to plugins made by the WordPress community. WordPress doesn’t come with built-in multilingual features, so these plugins make it easy to set up and switch between different languages on your site.

Now, let's walk through the process of creating a multilingual WordPress site.

Step 1: Choose a WordPress plugin

The first step is to select a suitable plugin for translating your website. Popular options include WordPress Multilingual (WPML) TranslatePress, and Polylang. We’ll use one of the simplest—Polylang. You can download it here.

Note: The first language you add in the setup wizard becomes the default language of your website. You can change it later.

Step 2: Set up languages

Once the plugin is installed and activated, set up the languages:

  1. In the dashboard, go to Polylang > Languages
  2. Click Add new language

Polylang setup wizard showing language selection

  1. Choose one or multiple languages and click Add
  2. To change the default language, navigate to the Languages section and click the star icon next to the preferred default language

changing the default language in Polylang

Step 3: Translate your content

Use a professional translation management system (TMS) to automatically translate your content and assign it to human editors for review. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Sign up to Centus
  2. Navigate to the Project dashboard and click New project

creating a new project in Centus

  1. Name the project and choose the source and target languages

choosing languages in Centus

  1. Click Create project
  2. In the new project, navigate to the Imports section
  3. Click Select a file to add your DOCX, HTML, or CSV files for translation

importing localization files in Centus

  1. Click Import
  2. In the Editor section, click empty values and choose among available translation options: Google Translate, DeepL translate, and Microsoft Translate. Alternatively, enter translations manually or pull them from the translation memory.

Centus editor

  1. In the Contributors section, click Add people to add a reviewer
  2. Enter the reviewer’s name, email, and other details
  3. Choose the Reviewer role from the dropdown menu

adding contributors in Centus

  1. Click Add project contributor
  2. Let the reviewer edit the translations and leave comments

adding comments in Centus

  1. In the Export section, choose the preferred file format
  2. Click Download export

downloading files in Centus

Step 4: Add the translated content

  1. In the All Posts section, click the + symbol next to the post you want to translate

translating a post in the Polylang plugin

  1. In the editor that opens, add the translated content
  2. Click Publish

Step 5: Translate other elements

Polylang allows translating menus, widgets, and other elements. It goes like this:

  1. In the Languages section, click Translations
  2. Add translations for descriptions, menus, and other elements
  3. Click Save Changes

WordPress page showing Polylang string translations

Step 6: Add a language switcher

Now that you created translations for your pages, let your visitors choose a preferred language. Here’s how to add a language switcher to your website:

  1. In the Languages section, choose a flag for each language
  2. In the Order column, click arrows to set the order of languages in the switcher

Wordpress page showing Polylang language switcher menu Congratulations! Your multilingual WordPress website is now ready to greet its visitors. If you have a Wix website, keep reading to learn how to localize it.

How to make a website multilingual with Wix

Creating a multilingual website on Wix is much simpler than creating one with WordPress. Wix does multilingual web design by duplicating versions of your site in your chosen languages, and providing one dashboard to manage them all. Future changes to your site are also automatically replicated in all language versions.

Step 1: Install Wix Multilingual

To create a multilingual version of your website, install the Wix Multilingual app from the Wix App Market:

  1. In the search bar, type Wix Multilingual and hit Enter
  2. Click Add to Site

adding wix multilingual plugin

Step 2: Add multilingual website versions

Now you can add multiple language versions of your website:

  1. In the Wix Editor menu, select Settings
  2. Click Multilingual, then click Confirm Default Language

Screenshot of Wix Editor menu bar

  1. Click Get Started
  2. Select a language and flag and click Add language

Adding a language in Wix

Note: Removing a language from your site will also permanently erase its translations and any modifications you've made in that language.

Step 3: Translate your content

Everything is set for translating your content. Follow these steps to create automatic translations:

  1. In the Wix Editor, click the language switcher
  2. Select the language you would like to translate
  3. Click Auto-translate site

autotranslating a website in wix

  1. Click on the automatically translated text to edit it, if necessary

Automatic translation gives you 3000 Google Translate word credits for free. You can purchase word credits if you wish to, or you can switch to manual translation.

Step 4: Publish translated content

After translating and editing your content, publish it following these steps:

  1. In the Wix Editor menu, select Settings
  2. Click Multilingual
  3. In the Status column, click Hidden
  4. Select the Visible option

Multilingual menu in Wix

  1. In the Wix Editor, click Publish

Multilingual website best practices

Opening your website to multiple languages can bring you more traffic, but it also comes with challenges and pitfalls. Navigating this process requires smart planning and even smarter tools.

Let's explore five key strategies to ensure your multilingual website delivers a smooth experience and drives sales.

Polish your content

Machine translation helps you translate faster, but it should be a tool, not a crutch. Make sure to proofread automatically translated text. Better yet, invest in professional translation for all customer-facing content.

Make sure your brand voice, message, and design are consistent across all languages for a strong and familiar feel.

Don’t skimp on good tools

Translation management systems (TMS) are your best friends during website translation. These tools streamline the translation process, ensure your translations are correct, and save you valuable time and resources.

For example, Centus cuts the hassle of website localization by automating translation and quality assurance tasks. Centus also gives you advanced project management features and allows seamless integration with Figma and other design tools. Using it, you can ditch the manual tasks and instead focus on more creative aspects of multilingual website management.

Use a language switcher

Don’t force a language on your visitors. Always add a language switcher, and make it easy to find, letting your visitors switch languages effortlessly.

Invest in SEO

International SEO is key to boosting traffic to your multilingual website. Use hreflang tags to tell search engines which language version of your website should be shown to international visitors. Also, use engaging meta descriptions with local keywords to grab more clicks. Finally, don't forget to build local backlinks to help search engines recognize your website as trustworthy and relevant.

Keep on testing

Test your website thoroughly in all languages to ensure everything functions smoothly and translations are accurate. Get feedback from native speakers of each language to find areas for improvement and ensure your content resonates culturally.

These simple practices can help you create a multilingual website that connects with your intended audience in no time. So, whether you opt for a multi-language website on Wix, WordPress, or any other website builder, make sure to always keep these tips in mind. It’ll save you a ton of trouble down the road.

Need help managing your website translation process? Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!

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