WPML 4.5 introduces the Translate Everything mode which takes care of translating your whole site for you automatically. But what does it mean if you’re already using a translation service?
WPML’s Translate Everything Mode
WPML 4.5’s Translate Everything mode marks a whole shift in how you can translate your website. Now, you can focus on writing the content in the original language and simply let WPML do all the translation work for you. As you publish new pages and edit existing ones, WPML sends them all for translation in the background.
Translate Everything uses automatic translation so all you have to do is make sure you have enough translation credits and you’re set.
Automatic vs. Human Translation
Automatic translation is better today than it was a few years ago. However, it’s not perfect, and we recommend reviewing it by a person.
And of course, when you need to translate niche-topic content, like medical, legal, or very technical documentation, human translation is the way to go.
What We’re Planning To Do Ourselves
WPML.org uses professional translation. People, who understand our business, have translated every page on our site. We’ve used our own translation service ICanLocalize to translate the most important pages. In the future, we’ll be combining automated translation with manual (professional translation). We’ll stay with human translation for critical content and use automatic translation+review for larger and less critical content.
And we’re already using Translate Everything on our other project’s website, Adelance.com and we’re going to use it on our company site (onthegosystems.com) very soon.
Our Recommendation For Sites Using Translation Services
If you have an existing site with content translated using a translation service, we suggest keeping this setup. This way, you keep all existing translations on your site. You also keep the translation memory that the service has for your site.
If you’re building sites that talk about legal, medical, or other very sensitive stuff, you should stay with professional translation. The cost of translation mistakes will be higher than the cost of the translation.
For general-purpose content, have a look at WPML’s automatic translation and use it with human reviewers. This keeps your costs down while delivering great results (accurate and natural translations).
Visit our Translation Reviewer Directory to find reliable translators for reviewing your translations.
What Are Your Thoughts?
We’ve already started to work on the WPML 4.6 release. One of the things we’d like to further improve is the whole workflow for reviewing automatic translations.
But we really want to hear your thoughts on all of this. Does our recommendation make sense to your own situation? Let us know in the comments what you would need.
I tried WPML to translate a few learndash courses but i stopped it because i found the whole process to complicated because i had to copy and reconnected everything. Will this new version work better?
Hi, Roland, thanks for the comment. For the 4.5 release, we reviewed, tested, and updated our documentation page about translating LearnDash sites using WPML. There are a bit more steps when it comes to LearnDash but it’s working as described on that page. Did you already check this page?
I did not check updated page.
Please check it and see if it helps. I would also like to point out that when it comes to compatibility, we cannot control everything from our end only. It takes the cooperation of both plugin teams. So, if you still find the process too complicated, it would be best to create support tickets in LearnDash and our own support. Explain the issue and feel free to outline what workflow would seem reasonable to you. Thanks!
I wish that professional translations would also be saved in the translation memory from the Advanced Translation Editor. That way, all translations are sentence based rather then block based as in the Classic Translation Editor. It will make it easier to make minor changes without having to go back to the professional translation service. Especially because not all translation services use a translation memory (or they do but still charge for the entire text).
Hi, John-Pierre! Thank you for an interesting suggestion. At this moment, it’s not possible for us to enable this. However, I have raised this to our developers for further evaluation. You can also send an official feature request for this here: https://wpml.org/suggest-a-new-feature-for-wpml/
when it comes to automatic translation I always use deepl (https://deepl.com), which in my view is by far the best automatic translation system.
Is there already or in the near future a connection to this service by wpml?
Hi, Udo! Actually, WPML has already been integrated with DeepL about a year ago. All you have to do is select it as a preferred translation engine. You’ll probably also be interested in pricing for automatic translation.
So, no matter which mode of automatic translation you select, you can use DeepL for all your automatic translation.
I use the Weglot. They are one of the best translators. It has the widgets of the country’s flag you want that certain language to translate to. It is great but pricey, and I think that is because they are the only ones out there that are accurate and that the users can just switch to their language whenever they want to.
Now, I had to stop it, because they are very pricey and could not afford to continue. If WPML can have a system the way the Weglot works, then it would be absolutely fantastic.
Hi, Tiffany and thank you for your comment. Actually, I would say that WPML is much fairer in this regard. With WPML, you pay for automatic translations when you need them. You don’t need to pay again for content that you already translated. This is because all translations are yours and are stored in your site’s database.
For example, let’s say you translated your “About Us” page using WPML and automatic translation. That’s it, the content is translated and it is in your site. Even if your WPML subscription expires tomorrow, your translations are yours and they will stay working just as before.
If you’re new to WPML, I suggest reading our documentation about automatic translation with WPML and automatic translation pricing.
I have used ATE and a profesisonal translator for review (paid by the hour), and I found it very efficient, timewise and costwise. A few improvements:
1. I wish small edits in the original language, like removing a double spcae or so, would not be detected as a change needing update in translation
2. When the original version is changed, ATE shoudl display, or at least propose the former translation (that on finds in the front office), rather than a blank field. It is exterremely annoying to have to redo it all once there is a small change.
3. It the translation goes in the background, I am afraid it will translate much more than needed. Typically, there are huge numbers of strings like from plugins etc which one does not necessarily need translation.
4. The way things get into translation memories could be improved. in many cases, it seems strings that were there are counted again.
5. I’d like to be able to count the words for review. At the moment I paid by hour because I did not find a way to do it differently. If you did it now, that is great.
6. ATE is great but the delays to get translations back into the front office are sometimes a hassle.
Thanks for all the improvements!
Hi, Agnes! Thanks for this great feedback. I forwarded your comments under 1, 2, and 3 to our team.
There is really nothing to worry about background translation because Translate Everything goes only over your content (posts and pages). It does not translate strings coming from themes and plugins. And even for content, you are in control of which post types get auto-translated. Whatsmore, you can even set a monthly limit for automatic translation to make sure you’ll never pay more than you prefer.
About counting the words for review. You can do it from the WPML → Translation Management page by selecting the content you want to count the words for. The number of words will appear right below the table that lists content. This is explained on our page about website word count. Does this help or would you have some other suggestions for working with translation reviewers? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Finally, can you please clarify what you mean about “the delays to get translations back into the front-office are sometimes a hassle”? Could you share an example of this for me, what happens?
Fixing 1 and 2 (‘and especially 2, that is not providing a blanck field but previous translations proposal when the original wwas updated) would be a HUGE improvement for our routine processes.
Regarding delaus for translation, I have reported it here: https://wpml.org/fr/forums/topic/delais-dans-le-retour-des-traductions-ate/
I regularly have to wait until next day to see my ATE translations corrections show up in the front office.
Thanks for the details on other issues.
Hi there !
Very interesting new feature. I would have a question though
What if the site is already translated manually, and we want to set up the automatic translation. Do you loose all our already translated pages ? I mean, does the automatic translation translates only the new and missing content ?
Hi, Tristan! Could you please specify how you manually translated the content, did you use the Advanced Translation Editor or the Classic one?
Hi Dario, thanks a lot for your answer !
I ‘ve been using the classic editor for a client’s website, and they have 600+ pages so indeed it would be convenient not to loose these traduction
I used automatic translation as a base for translation from English to German. Works impressively good but not perfect. Still I am looking forward to use the automation of the automatic translation for a existing project.
But I understand that you don’t recommend to use it for changes of content that is already translated be human? Or for extensions (more pages) of this website?
Suggestion: improve the link trasnlation.
At the moment, I must ask a translator to enter manually eacxh link translation. Though that infiormation is registered by WPML in WP./
And it is source of error, as one does not seee them in ATE unless typing the link.
Hi, Agnes! Thanks a lot for all the information, it’s super helpful. I am forwarding it all to the developers.
We do all content translations manually, and it’s currently 4.4.12. We totally don’t need translate everything feature and want to keep things manual, so we just skip 4.5 update?
Hi, Irina! You should update to 4.5 and it will not change your translation workflow, everything will stay the same. You can simply keep translating things manually. WPML will never force you to use any specific workflow or change settings by itself, without your permission. The new Translate Everything mode is one of the translation options and if you don’t need it, that’s perfectly fine, you simply won’t use it.
However, you should always keep WPML up to date because every release brings other improvements like bug fixes, stability and performance improvements, etc.
Thank you, just wanted to make it 100% clear that update won’t change my settings by itself.