Skip Navigation

Getting Started with WPML

This guide will walk you through setting up WPML and making your site multilingual. We’ll cover the setup, as well as how to translate the site’s content.

Installing WPML and Adding Languages to Your Site

Start by making sure your site meets WPML’s minimum requirements. If you have a Multilingual CMS or Multilingual Agency account, you should always install WPML Multilingual CMS and WPML String Translation plugins. If you have a Multilingual Blog account, you only have access to the WPML Multilingual CMS plugin.

On our Downloads page, you’ll find only OTGS Installer. This is a tiny plugin that will download and install WPML for you. WPML’s ZIP files are large and our OTGS Installer makes sure that the installation process will go smoothly for everyone.

After installing WPML core and the WPML addons that your site needs, you’ll go through a setup wizard. There, you’ll add languages, choose translation methods, and make other important decisions.

Translating with WPML

Now that you have WPML installed and set up, it’s time to start translating.

There are two things that you’ll need to do. Translate the “content” and “everything else” (the site’s structure).

We recommend starting with translating the content and only then translating the site’s structure. This way, when you translate the menu, you’ll already have translated content to include in it.

2.1. Translating the Site’s Content

When you translate content, WPML will include everything related to that content. This includes:

WPML will collect for you everything that needs translation and is part of the content that you’re translating.

Translating a page using WPML’s translation editor

The Easy Way – Translating with WPML’s Translation Management

If you have a Multilingual CMS or Multilingual Agency account, go to WPML’s Translation Management. WPML’s Translation Management gives you a complete snapshot of your site’s translation status and allows you to translate in any way you choose.

WPML’s Translation Management offers different ways to translate your content.

Translate Automatically with optional human review

WPML’s automatic translation is fast, accurate, and convenient. Every purchase of WPML comes with enough free credits to translate most WordPress sites without additional costs.

Translate yourself

Have full control of your site’s content in the languages that you speak, using WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor.

Your own translators within WordPress

Easily manage who translates what and give your translators access to WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor.

A professional translation service

Enjoy streamlined integration with the world’s leading translation services.

Fully Flexible – Translating with the “Plus” Icons

Each piece of content will have a “plus” icon, which allows you to translate it.

Using the Plus icons in the WordPress editor to translate content

By default, translation will open WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor. You can disable the Advanced Translation Editor for pages that need a unique design for each translation. Then, translate them using the native WordPress editor.

If you have a Blog account, Translation Management isn’t available for you, so this is your method for translating content.

2.2. Translating the Site’s Structure (for CMS and Agency accounts)

Your site’s structure typically consists of:

WPML’s String Translation (not available in Multilingual Blog accounts) will let you translate the texts in the header, footer, and sidebars. You’ll see the strings that need translation in both WPML → String Translation and in WPML → Translation Dashboard, under the Strings section. WordPress sites will have many strings and you don’t need to translate all of them. The Translation Dashboard will show you the strings that appear on the site’s front-end and are missing translations.

Translating Menus

Before you translate menus, remember to translate the content that appears in the menus. Then, go to
WPMLWP Menus Sync.

Menu in the original language (English)

Menu in the secondary language (Spanish)

Customize WPML

Now that you know how to set-up WPML and translate your content, here are some popular customizations that will help you:

Language switcher

Add and customize language switchers to the site’s menu, footer or widgets.

Language URL format/options

Choose the structure of URLs for translations.

Translating Custom Post Types

Choose what custom post types to translate

Translating Post Categories, Tags, and Custom Taxonomies

Translate any kind of WordPress glossary

Updated
May 23, 2024