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Updated
February 7, 2024

In the Expert translation option, you can choose the translation preferences for each field in the field group by yourself. On existing sites built with ACF and WPML, your existing field groups will use the Expert setup.

On This Page:

Required Plugins

Start by installing and activating the following plugins:

Using the Expert Translation Option on an Existing Site

If you have an existing site built with ACF and WPML, all your existing field groups will be set to the Expert translation option by default. We do not recommend changing the translation option for these field groups. 

You can choose between the two other translation options for any new field groups you create.

Making the Field Group Custom Post Type Not Translatable

To translate your field group titles and labels, you may have previously set the translation preferences of the field group custom post type to Translatable

You can now translate field group titles, field labels, and labels for Choices using WPML’s String Translation.

If your Field Group post type is set as translatable and you have existing field label translations, you can switch to using String Translation. To do this:

  1. Go to WPML → String Translation and search for strings in your acf-field-group domain(s). 
  2. Locate the field group title and field label you want to translate and click the plus icon under the language you would like to translate them into.
Translating field group titles and labels in String Translation
  1. Navigate to ACF → Field Groups and using the language switcher in the top admin bar, switch to your secondary language.
Switching to the secondary language
  1. Add the field groups created in your site’s secondary languages to the Trash
  2. Go to the Trash and select the field groups you just deleted. Click on Delete Permanently.
Permanently deleting the field group translations
  1. Use the language switcher in the top admin bar to switch back to your site’s default language.
  2. Head over to WPML → Settings and scroll down to the Post Types Translation section. Set the Field Groups (acf-field-group) post type to Not Translatable and Save your changes.
Making the Field Groups post type not translatable

Using the Expert Translation Option on a New Site

If you have a new site, we recommend choosing the Same fields across languages or Different fields across languages translation options for any field groups you create. Both of these translation options automatically set the translation preferences for the custom fields inside the field group for you.

If you go with the Expert option, you need to manually set the translation preferences for each custom field inside the field group.

Setting the Translation Preferences for ACF Fields

To learn which translation preference to use for each custom field type, see the page about recommended translation settings for ACF custom fields.

You can set the translation preferences for ACF custom fields in two places:

In the Custom Fields Translation section of the WPML → Settings page

By editing the field group in ACF → Field Groups

Setting the Translation Preferences for ACF Repeater and Flexible Content Fields

In Expert mode, you can translate ACF Repeater and Flexible Content fields in two different ways. The translation preferences you need to set depends on how you want to use the fields across languages.

Option 1: Use the same number of fields and the same layout across languages. To do this, you need to set your main Repeater or Flexible Content field to Copy

Then, you can set the translation preferences for your sub fields according to the recommended settings for translation.

This allows you to translate the field values in WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor.

Option 2: Use a different number of fields and/or a different layout across languages. To do this, set the main Repeater or Flexible Content field to Copy Once

Then, set the correct translation preferences for the sub fields according to the recommended settings for different fields across languages

You can then translate the field values in the native WordPress editor.

Translating ACF Fields in the Advanced Translation Editor

Before you start translating, make sure each of the custom fields across your different field groups have a unique Field Name. If you assign the same Field Name to more than one custom field, you may not see all your field values available for translation in the Translation Editor.

Once you set the appropriate translation preferences for your custom fields, you can move on to translating the field values:

  1. Edit the post or page with the assigned custom fields. From the Language box in the right sidebar, click the plus icon next to the language you want to translate the post and field values into.
Clicking the plus icon to translate the post
  1. You’ll be taken to the Advanced Translation Editor. If you have translation credits, you’ll see the translations filled in automatically. If you don’t have credits, enter the translations manually line by line.
Translating the post in the Advanced Translation Editor
  1. Click Complete when you’re done.

Translating ACF Fields in the WordPress Editor

If you set your fields to the Copy Once translation preference, you need to translate both the post content and field values manually in the native WordPress editor. For this to be possible, you need to switch to translating with the WordPress Editor:

  1. Edit the post or page with the custom fields assigned to it.
  2. In the Language box in the right sidebar, select the WordPress Editor option. In the popup that appears, confirm that you want to use the editor to translate this post content. Then, click the Update button.
Selecting to translate the page with the WordPress Editor
  1. In the Language box, click the plus icon next to the secondary language you want to translate your page into.
  2. You’ll be taken to a new page with blank custom fields. Add the page title and click Publish.
  3. Refresh the page. The custom fields are filled in with your default language field values. Replace them with your translations and then click the Update button.
Adding the secondary language field values in the WordPress editor

Translating ACF Repeater and Flexible Content Fields in the WordPress Editor

If your page is using Repeater of Flexible field types, you should start by following the steps from the section above.

If your default and secondary language posts are using a different field order, you additionally need to disable the synchronization of the field order across languages. 

You can do this by editing the post in your default language. In the ACFML Synchronise Translations section at the top of the page, uncheck the option to keep repeater and flexible sub-fields in the same order. Then, Update the page.

Disabling the option to keep the field order in sync across languages