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March 26, 2024

With WPML, you can easily translate WordPress taxonomies, including categories, tags, and custom taxonomies. For most taxonomies, there’s no special setup required – just send the post that uses the taxonomy for translation.

WordPress categories, tags, and custom taxonomies let you group content on your website. WPML enables you to translate them so that your content remains organized across languages.

On This Page:

The Easiest Way to Translate Taxonomies

When you translate a post with WPML, it automatically includes any categories or tags assigned to it. Just go to WPML → Translation Management to send the post for automatic translation or assign it to a translator. 

Here’s what sending the content for automatic translation looks like in action:

Assign categories to a post

Go to  WPML → Translation Management and send the post for automatic translation

Take a look at the translated page on your site’s front-end

How to Make Custom Taxonomies Translatable

Custom taxonomies offer unique ways to organize your site’s content. WordPress themes and plugins may include custom taxonomies for built-in custom post types. You can also create your own custom taxonomies with plugins or by using custom code.

To translate custom taxonomies, you need to make them translatable first.

  1. Go to WPML → Settings and scroll down to the Taxonomies Translation section.
  2. Set your custom taxonomy to one of the two Translate options. You can show only translated items on the front-end or show the taxonomy in the default language when a translation isn’t there.
  3. Click Save.
Making custom taxonomies translatable in WPML Settings

Now, you can translate the post or page that uses the custom taxonomy the same way you would a post with categories or tags. For example, if you decide to translate the post yourself, taking the translation job opens WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor. In the editor, you’ll see your main content and the custom taxonomy ready for translation.

Translating a post and its assigned custom taxonomy in the Advanced Translation Editor

Enabling the Translation of Custom Taxonomy Base Slugs

If your WordPress permalinks include custom taxonomy slugs, translating these base slugs allows you to customize and localize your website’s URLs for different languages. To enable this, scroll to the Slug translations section on the WPML → Settings page. Select the option to translate custom post and taxonomy base slugs.

Enabling the translation of custom post and taxonomy base slugs

Once enabled, go to WPML → String Translation, search for the taxonomy slug, and translate it.

How to Translate Product Categories, Tags, and Custom Taxonomies in WooCommerce

You can assign taxonomy terms such as categories, tags, and attributes to your WooCommerce products. WPML includes an add-on called WooCommerce Multilingual that lets you translate every part of your WooCommerce store, including product taxonomies.

See the documentation about WooCommerce Multilingual for more details on translating your product taxonomies.

Other Methods for Translating Categories, Tags, and Custom Taxonomies

You may prefer to translate taxonomies separately from their associated posts, so WPML offers different options to do this.

Option 1: Automatically Translate All Taxonomies at Once

To translate many taxonomy terms at once, assign them all to a temporary post and send the post for translation. Then, you can translate your terms all at once in the Advanced Translation Editor using automatic translation.

For a step-by-step guide, see our page about translating all taxonomy terms at once.

Option 2: Translate Taxonomies from a Central Page

WPML offers a central screen to manually translate all categories, tags, and custom taxonomies, giving you complete control over term and slug translations.

Go to WPML → Taxonomy Translation and use the drop-down menu to select which taxonomy to translate. Then, click the plus icon to add the translations.

Manually translating the taxonomy term

Option 3: Translate Taxonomies Using the Taxonomy Edit Screens

You can translate taxonomies right where you add or edit them, such as in Posts → Categories or Posts → Tags

Simply edit the term you want to translate and then in the Language meta box, click to add a translation. This opens the page in your secondary language, where you can add the Name and Slug translation and click Add New Category.

Manually adding the taxonomy translation from the taxonomy edit screen

How to Maintain Your Taxonomy Structure Across Languages

If you change your site’s taxonomy structure in the default language, WPML makes it easy to sync these changes across all languages. Simply go to WPML → Taxonomy Translation and click on the Hierarchy Synchronization tab.

Synchronizing the taxonomy hierarchy in Taxonomy Translation

If there’s something to synchronize, you’ll see the taxonomy terms listed and you can click the Update Taxonomy Hierarchy button. 

How to Reconnect Taxonomy Translations to Default Language Terms

Sometimes, a taxonomy translation may become disconnected from its default language term. This usually happens when you import taxonomy terms and your import plugin can’t manage the connections between languages.

To prevent disconnected taxonomy translations, use the WPML Export and Import add-on with your import plugin. This add-on helps by assigning language information and linking translations after you’ve completed the import.

If you’ve already imported content and find taxonomy translations disconnected from the default content, or if your terms are disconnected for another reason, see the page about connecting taxonomy translations to the default language terms.