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Updated
October 11, 2021

Some plugins are not compatible with the WPML Advanced Translation Editor or Classic Translation Editor. When translating content from these plugins, you need to translate your site manually. You can also use this process to create different designs in different languages for a page or post.

When to Use Manual Translation

There are two reasons to use manual translation:

  1. If you want to translate content from one of the few plugins that are not compatible with the Advanced Translation Editor or Classic Translation Editor. If a plugin is only compatible via manual translation, it will say so in our Recommended Plugins Directory.
  2. If you would like to create different designs for the same page in different languages.

In either case, you can only use manual translation if you translate the page or post yourself rather than use a professional translation service or local translators.

If your site can use the Advanced Translation Editor or Classic Translation Editor, we strongly recommend it. They keep track of the content in the different languages and make translation easier. When using manual translation, you will need to keep each language up-to-date individually.

Also, if you need to manually translate any part of your site, please be sure you have Translate Some mode enabled in WPMLSettingsTranslation Mode. If you use Translate Everything, it will overwrite your manual translations.

How to Use Manual Translation

To use manual translation, edit the page or post you would like to translate or create a different design for.

  1. In the sidebar, find the Language meta box, and turn off WPML’s Translation Editor.
  2. In the pop-up dialog that appears, select This page.

Turning off WPML’s Translation Editor

Choosing This Page

  1. In the Language meta box, select the Duplicate checkbox, and then click Duplicate. This will duplicate the page in the selected secondary language.
Duplicating the page in your secondary language
  1. Click on the pencil icon to edit the page in the other language. You may have to click Show to get your translation to show up.
Editing the page in the secondary language
  1. When editing the duplicated page, click Translate independently in the Language box. This unsyncs the secondary language page so your design or translations won’t be overwritten when you update the default language page.
Unsyncing the secondary language page with the default language page
  1. Type in your translations or edit the design. In our example, we added our German translations and added an additional contact option for German site visitors. This required a change to the page layout.
Changing the design for the page in the secondary language
  1. Once you finish translating all the elements on the page or customizing your design, click Update.
Updating the page to publish the changes

After being published, you can see two different designs for the English and German pages:

Contact Page in English

Contact Page in German