Designing a website is all about driving traffic to that website—a website can have the greatest information in the world, but it means nothing if no one is reading. You want to catch a reader’s attention through infographics and cool typography, and then the reading will begin. In a sense, you as the designer are the first piece to the puzzle. Once the reading begins, it is out of the designers hands and into the hands of the writers, right? In many cases yes, a writer has to provide quality, clear information to make a website worthwhile. What many designers don’t realize, however, is that they too can improve the actual content of a website (beyond making it look nice).

Many companies are starting to see the potential in translating their websites into different languages. According to the Internet World Stats, English is the most used language on the Internet at 536.6 million users. For this reason, having a website in English is extremely important; however, the benefits to translating a website into different languages are a little less well-known. A few of these benefits include:

  • Wider Audience – This is probably the most obvious reasons a company would want to translate a website. You will be opening up information to people around the world.
  • Loyal Readers -Although many people speak English, many speak it as their second language. If you offer information in their native language, you will likely capture those readers time and time again.
  • Improved SEO – You will be able to rank highly on search engines in other languages because there is less competition. You website may also do well if someone was to type in a different language on an English search engine. Either way, it can’t hurt.
  • New Perspectives – Most company websites have an option to give feedback or comment on a blog. With other languages able to read the website, you will have a variety of opinions to help you improve your website.
  • Duplicate Content – This does not count across languages, so if you are managing a blog you will not need to worry about writing separate articles for each language you’re targeting.

Most Popular Types of Translation Services

Once you and/or your company have decided to offer content in another language, it is the job of the web designer to install a WordPress plugin. At first glance it seems a bit confusing because there are so many plugins available, but consider a few that are the most popular:

1. Google Translate – This is one of the quickest and most inexpensive ways to translate your blog into different languages. This is considered the best if you expect that most of your readers speak English, but you want to offer the option of different languages. Download the plugin here at Google Translate and then copy the code into WordPress just as you would with any plugin. If you need a refresher course, the Google Translate website will walk you through step by step. You will be surprised just how easy it is!


2. Global Translator – This is one of the best WordPress plugins if you expect your website to be read in a language other than English. If you decide to take this route, it will create subdirectories for all of the translated content. Although this causes extra pages on a website, some prefer this for organization. Download it here and get started.

3. WP Translate – You can’t get much simpler than WP translate. Your readers will be able to select the language they need from a drop down menu. The plugin works as a widget on your WordPress site and you can select the title of this widget. You can download this plugin and learn more information here.

Getting Started with Translation Step by Step

Once you decide which plugin is right for you, it’s time to put the plugin into WordPress. All three services are extremely similar when it comes to downloading and uploading. The below steps take you through how to set up Google Translate onto WordPress:

Step #1: Download – You can download Google Translate here. This widget will bring Google Translate to your sidebar. All your readers have to do is choose from a dropdown menu which language they’d like to read.

Step #2: Select Type of Translation Element – You will have one of two choices: You can either add translation to the entire webpage or add translation to a section of the webpage.

Step #3: Select Language of Your Webpage – This will most likely be “English” for those reading this article.

Step #4: Translation Language and Display Mode – Here you decide which languages you want available to readers and how you want the dropdown menu to look (vertical, horizontal, etc.). You can click specific languages or select all languages available.

Step #5: Copy the Code – This is the most important step. You will need to copy this code into the body section of the web page that you want to be available in other languages.

Once finished, be sure to preview your webpage and make sure everything looks the way you had envisioned. Both of the services will take you through the steps as you begin the process, so few people have any problems. It’s as easy as that!

Quick Tips about Translation Services

  • Just as with any language translation services, no computer can translate a piece of content absolutely perfect. Some slang terms or formalities may change, but the general message will remain intact. Even if the language is not perfect, readers will understand that you are using a translation service. They will still get the overall message.
  • Many business owners get nervous that they will not be able to answer a comment if it is in a different language. However, it is possible to use Google Translate to translate your responses. Copy and paste the comment into Google Translate that you can find online, see what it says, type your comment, translate it, and then paste it as a response to the comment. It’s extremely easy! I will also add that although many people may read your blog in another language, most will actually answer in English!

In the end, translating a website into several languages will be worthwhile for just about every company. For this reason, knowing how to set-up these WordPress plugins will be a necessity in the future. If you are a web designer who knows how to make this happen, you will be all the more marketable to companies hoping to optimize their website in 2012.

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