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March 28, 2024

Easily translate custom fields in WordPress with WPML. Translate into multiple languages using automatic translation or by yourself.

Custom fields let you add extra data like text, images, or selections to your posts, pages, and custom post types. This lets you manage and organize your content more effectively.

For example, a real estate website might use a custom post type called Properties, which has custom fields like Price, Property Type, and Number of Rooms. When you fill out these fields for each property, you offer valuable information to the readers.

An example of a custom post type with various custom fields assigned to it on the site’s backend

With WPML, you can translate custom fields to make all this additional information available in many languages.

A Default Language Page with Custom Fields

A Translated Page with Custom Fields

Getting started is easy. Just install and activate the WPML Multilingual CMS plugin on your site and follow three simple steps.

1. Identify the Source of Your Custom Fields

The custom fields on your WordPress website might come from:

  • Your theme
  • A dedicated plugin, such as Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)
  • Custom code you’ve added to your site

WPML works with all major WordPress custom field plugins. It also supports translating custom fields added via code, as long as you set their translation options correctly

Your translation approach depends on where these custom fields come from. For example, if you’re using ACF, you can translate all your fields using the Advanced Custom Fields Multilingual (ACFML) add-on plugin.

For custom fields created in all other ways, you need to tell WPML how it should translate each one.

2. Decide How to Translate Custom Fields

To tell WPML how to translate your custom fields, go to WPML → Settings and scroll down to Custom Fields Translation. You’ll see four translation options to choose from for each custom field:

  • Makes your custom field values available for translation.
  • Ideal for text fields.
  • Copies the field value across all languages, keeping it the same everywhere.
  • Ideal for custom fields like numbers or images that stay the same in every language.
  • Copies the value from the default language only one time, which allows you to create different field values per language.
  • The default option for custom fields that you haven’t chosen how to translate yet. 
  • You can select Don’t translate for fields you want WPML to overlook. If you want a field to have the same value across languages, switch it to the Copy option.

Once you select a translation preference for each custom field, don’t forget to Save.

Selecting the translation preferences for custom fields on the WPML Settings page

3. Translate the Posts or Pages with the Assigned Custom Fields

WPML translates custom fields along with their associated posts. 

If you’ve enabled automatic translation for your entire site, WPML automatically handles translations for you. For all other translation methods, just send the posts or pages with the custom fields for translation. 

  1. Go to WPML → Translation Management and select the posts, pages, or custom post types with the assigned custom fields you want to translate. 
  2. Choose the languages you want to translate into and the translation method. You can translate automatically, by yourself, or assign the translation to another translator on your site. 
  3. Click the Start translating button to send your items for translation.
Sending the post with custom fields for translation in Translation Management

If you’re translating by yourself, go to WPML → Translations and click the Translate button. This opens the Advanced Translation Editor, where you’ll see automatically generated translations for your post content and custom fields. You can accept and edit them as needed, or click the Undo translation button and add your own translations.

Translating a post with translatable custom fields in the Advanced Translation Editor

After translation, check your pages and posts on the front-end to make sure everything displays correctly.

Go Multilingual with WPML

WPML does more than translate custom fields. It’s your comprehensive solution for translating every website aspect, from pages and posts to forms and WooCommerce products.

Find the right WPML account type for your website.