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WPML Review: Is It the BEST WP Translation Plugin (In 2024)?

Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem Expert

There’s no two ways about it; WPML is probably the best WordPress translation plugin out there1. It’s user-friendly, integrates with most other popular plugins, and provides nearly every feature you could want for translating your site. That said, it comes at a significant price, so it might not be worth it for smaller websites.

Overview

The Best Translation Plugin for WordPress, Hands Down

WPML homepage
WPML is the most popular WordPress translation plugin for a reason
1

If you want your WordPress site to reach a global audience, you’ll need a translation plugin. The WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) is arguably the most famous one there is – but just because something’s popular doesn’t mean that it’s good. Plus, when you take into account that it requires a rather hefty upfront investment, you need to be sure WPML is worth the cost.

With this in mind, I decided to install WPML on a site of my own and test it thoroughly. After taking a close look at its installation process, features, pricing, and customer support, I can confidently say WPML is a worthwhile investment for multilingual sites.

Not only does it include an immense variety of translation features and native support for translations in over 65 different languages, but it also comes with everything you need to set up and manage a translation team for your site.

Continue reading to find out why WPML earns its fame as the best WordPress Translation plugin out there.

5.0

Features

Everything You Could Ask From a Translation Plugin (For a Price)

WPML test blog
WPML gives you complete control over your site’s translations

WPML is the very plugin we use here at Website Planet to offer our content in 28 different languages. While that might sound impressive enough on its own, I wanted to personally make sure it delivered the quality it promised. So, I created a fake website about opossums, filled it with hard-to-translate regionalisms, and tried WPML’s translation features myself.

Unsurprisingly, I confirmed what our content team already knew. Namely, that WPML’s toolkit is unrivaled. That said, I had to sign up for the mid-priced Multilingual content management system (CMS) plan to test it properly. Typically, we’ll perform our tests on the cheapest available plan for nearly all services to replicate the experience of most users. However, WPML’s “Multilingual Blog” plan was far too limited to examine almost any of its features.

That means that if you’re interested in any of the features below, it’ll cost you at least  a year. Though that price isn’t as rough when you consider it’s a yearly expense (and that the price drops after the first year), it still might be outside the reach of smaller websites. However, if you can afford it, WPML offers just about everything you could want1 from a translation plugin.

Translate Your Content as You Go Along

Starting with the basics, WPML gives you access to two kinds of translation: manual and automatic. If you decide to go with the former (more on the latter below), WPML allows you to compare each paragraph and string side-to-side in both languages. This ensures an efficient and painless experience, as you don’t have to go back and forth between pages or documents to keep track of your translations.

What’s more, WPML will let you know when you’re not done translating a page. That way, there’s no risk of accidentally leaving a page segment untranslated, which can signal poor quality to your visitors and cost you future engagement.

Another impressive part of the manual side-to-side editor is that you’re not restricted to the languages WPML offers. Seeing as WPML comes pre-loaded with 65 languages, this won’t be a problem for most users. Here’s a (not-so) quick table with every language that WPML offers native support for

Albanian Dutch Indonesian Nepali Somali
Arabic English Irish Norwegian Bokmål Spanish
Armenian Esperanto Italian Persian Swedish
Azerbaijani Estonian Japanese Polish Tamil
Basque Finnish Korean Portuguese (Brazil) Thai
Bengali French Kurdish Portuguese (Portugal) Turkish
Bosnian Galician Latvian Punjabi Ukrainian
Bulgarian German Lithuanian Quechua Urdu
Catalan Greek Macedonian Romanian Uzbek
Chinese (Simplified & Traditional) Hebrew Malay Russian Vietnamese
Croatian Hindi Maltese Serbian Welsh
Czech Hungarian Moldavian Slovak Yiddish
Danish Icelandic Mongolian Slovenian Zulu

Still, this feature can be handy for specific cases, like a website for indigenous communities that includes content in languages like Navajo, Nahuatl, or Zapotec.

Or, in a far-sillier example, I included an Elvish translation for my site. Just in case I got any visitors from Middle-earth.

WPML manual translation
You can add any language you want to with the manual translation tool.

Complete Tools for Backend Translation

Besides in-page content, WPML allows you to make important translations on the backend. To get better results in different regions, WPML offers search engine optimization (SEO) features like meta description, media, alt text translations, and URL localizations (such as adding /es at the end of your Spanish site’s address).

You can also ensure your site offers clear navigation in any language by letting WPML translate your website’s taxonomies (content groups like categories, tags, and authors). That way, you can offer your visitors an intuitive navigation experience regardless of their language.

E-commerce and Currency Translation

There’s no two ways about it; WPML is probably the best WordPress translation plugin out there. It’s user-friendly, integrates with most other popular plugins, and provides nearly every feature you could want for translating your site. That said, it comes at a significant price, so it might not be worth it for smaller websites.

WPML provides full support for popular e-commerce plugins such as WooCommerce. By adding local translations, you increase your chances of having international visitors find and shop from your online store.

Besides, WPML offers multi-currency support. You can either set your own currency conversions (which I don’t really recommend) or connect to a live conversion system. This way, your international visitors will always know exactly how much they have to pay.

You can even set custom rates and payment methods across different regions. For example, a $20 USD product might be unaffordable for people in regions with unfavorable exchange rates. Also, the popularity of different payment methods varies wildly from region to region (Venmo is pretty much unheard of outside of the US). With WPML, you can make your products accessible all over the world1.

Fine-Tune Your Language Menu

WPML gives you full control over how your language menu displays on your site, including colors, dropdown menu settings, and what information to show. You can choose to show the language’s name in the current language (French as French), in its own language (French as Français), whether to show its corresponding country flag, or any combination of the former.

WPML language Menu tools
WPML lets you decide exactly how you want to display your language menu

If you add a language manually, you can customize each of these settings yourself. Though this last feature might not seem as impressive as the previous ones, it’s always nice to have as much control as you want over every aspect of your site.

4.0

Ease of use

Incredibly User-Friendly, but the Setup Process Can Get Rough

When I set out to write my WordPress Multilingual Plugin review (which is quite a moniker), I expected that I would encounter several issues. But much to my surprise (and relief), I didn’t need to struggle through complicated terminology, endless installations, or nitpicking over specific interactions with the WordPress CMS.

As it turns out, WPML is much easier than other, far less useful plugins I’ve used1. The installation process was a bit of a pain, but once you’ve got WPML up and running, it makes every step of the translation process intuitive. What’s more, on the Multilingual CMS plan and above, WPML integrates seamlessly with the most popular page builder and e-commerce plugins.

Installation and Getting Started

Just like most premium third-party WordPress plugins, WPML requires a fair number of steps before you can start using it to its full potential. I wouldn’t say the installation process was particularly complicated, but it was quite lengthy.

The first thing you have to do is go to WPML.org, choose your plan, and fill out your personal and payment information. So far, so straightforward, right? Once your payment has been processed, you’ll receive an email with the username and password to your WPML account.

Here’s where things start going a little off the rails. Now that you have your account and password on hand, you’d think it’d be a matter of just downloading and installing the plugin, but the actual process is a little more involved.

For the sake of brevity (and sanity), here’s a list of the steps you have to take to install WPML onto your WordPress site:

  1. Head to WPML.org, log in, and download the WPML plugin.
  2. Install the WPML plugin into your WordPress dashboard (simply upload the .zip file).
  3. After installation, go back to WPML, hover over your username, and select “My account.”
  4. Scroll down to “Download and Register WPML” and click “Register WPML on your sites.”
  5. Click on “Add new site” and register your site’s URL.
  6. Choose your website’s “type” (“development” or “production”), choose how many automatic translation credits you want to assign to it, and click continue.
  7. WPML will generate a site key for you. Copy it.
  8. Back on your WordPress dashboard, head over to “plugins,” select “WPML,” and click “Register WPML.”
  9. Copy your key into the box and click on “register.”
  10. Finally, select which WPML plugins you want to install.

It’s a bit much, but it doesn’t seem that bad, right? The thing is, those are just the steps for installation. You still need to configure the plugin before you get started.

Luckily, the setup portion is a lot quicker and intuitive. While you can change your configuration later, here’s a quick “getting started” guide:

Start by selecting your website’s current language and which languages you want to translate it to (you can choose from the available languages or a custom one if you wish). Then, choose how you want to format your site’s URL.

WPML Setup
WPML’s setup process can get a little lengthy. Hover over for more

You’ll then have the option of translating all of your site’s current content automatically or make manual selections. Select who will be translating your site (yourself, a specific translator, or a translating agency), choose your review settings, and then you’ll be able to start using WPML.

Once again, WPML’s setup process is fairly easy, but I wouldn’t recommend taking it on if you’re in a hurry.

High-Quality Automatic Translation for 65 Languages

WPML automatic translation credits
Use a set amount of “language credits” to access powerful automatic translations

Depending on your plan, WPML offers a set number of credits that you can use to automatically translate any section of your website into any one of its available 65 languages. Each credit represents between one and two words, depending on the technology being used for the automatic translations. At first, this might sound dreadful to anyone who’s ever used Google Translate and received a less-than-accurate result, especially if credits aren’t unlimited.

WPML avoids this problem by using a mix of DeepLM, Microsoft, and Google services to generate more accurate results. Even if you don’t use the translated text directly, WPML’s automatic translation can save you incredible amounts of time by creating a rough translation for you to refine. Though the Plus plan offers more than enough credits for some hefty initial usage by most websites and blogs (90,000 to be exact), you can always purchase more for a small fee.

Translator Roles

If you have a larger team at your disposal, WPML allows you to create custom translator roles for your site’s contributors1. By assigning specific roles, you can monitor the progress of each translation task independently, and keep on top of the state of your site in other languages.

WPML also offers integrations with some of the top translation services available in your region. These aren’t free integrations, mind you. But if you want to get your site translated by certified professionals, WPML gives you the tools you need to contact them.

4.6

Pricing

Though it is by no means unaffordable, WPML’s pricing is its biggest sore spot. There is no free plan or trial. None of the prices are outrageous when you break it down month-by-month. However, you can only pay annually, which can represent a significant head-on expense for smaller websites.

WPML offers three different plans: Multilingual Blog, which only offers basic manual translation at , Multilingual CMS (the plan that has all the fun stuff in it) at , and Multilingual Agency, which includes everything Multilingual CMS does and lets you register an unlimited number of sites for .

This is also a more personal pet peeve of mine, but I find it baffling that the premier multilingual plugin for WordPress doesn’t show its prices in different currencies. That’s right, WPML gives you access to advanced currency localization tools for your site, but no matter where you are in the world, or what language you access its site in, pricing is displayed exclusively in euros.

Still, WPML’s pricing is far from terrible. Once again, if you divide any of the previous prices by 12, it’s by no means an unreasonable expense. What’s more, WPML’s pricing actually drops after the first year. This means that, as opposed to many other services, you won’t have to pay more for WPML than you did the first time.

Besides, WPML has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans. So if you don’t mind an extra charge floating around your balance for a while, you can try it out completely risk-free.

4.2

Support

For support, WPML offers a very exhaustive user forum and knowledge base for common issues. If you are experiencing a particular problem, you can submit a ticket to WPML’s support forum, but there’s no guarantee about response times.

To test WPML’s support, I tried submitting a ticket asking about custom automatic translation rules and adding languages with a different alphabet. I got a response to my query less than an hour later.

WPML support email
I got a quick response but it wasn’t very in-depth

Though the turnaround was fairly quick, the response pretty much consisted of redirecting me to different forum links. Overall, support wasn’t mind-blowing, but the existing forum is comprehensive enough that you’re bound to find an answer to most technical problems.

WPML REVIEW: BOTTOM LINE

WPML is by far the best translation plugin for WordPress. It’s user-friendly and offers integrations with a wide variety of different plugins, which means that it’s compatible with the vast majority of WordPress sites.

That said, I do have a few issues. There’s no free version and even its starter plan is too limited for most websites. If you can afford the upfront cost, however, WPML comes with everything you need to turn your WordPress site multilingual.

Some of its best features are:
  • Full integration with a variety of page builders and e-commerce plugins
  • Plenty of backend translation options for international SEO
  • 65 languages available for high-quality automatic translation
  • The option to assign and monitor specific translation roles

Keep in mind though, that WPML:
  • Has an extremely limited starter plan
  • Can be somewhat tedious to set up

FAQ

What is WPML?

WPML, or the WordPress Multilingual Translation plugin, is one of the most popular translation plugins for WordPress. WPML is powerful, easy to use, and gives you both back-and front end translation features.

If you want to know how WPML performs, check out our expert WordPress Multilingual Plugin review.

Is WPML compatible with WooCommerce?

Yes! WPML is not only compatible with WooCommerce, but with almost all the most popular e-commerce plugins for WordPress. What’s more, WPML allows you to adapt your e-commerce shop for different currencies, as well as set custom regional prices and conversion rates.

Is WPML compatible with other plugins?

WPML is compatible with almost every one of the most popular WordPress plugins, particularly page builders and e-commerce plugins. What’s more, it even includes custom integration features for plugins like Elementor or WooCommerce.

Does WPML offer a free version?

WPML does not offer a free version. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try it out before committing to it though, as every WPML plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Is WPML only available for WordPress?

Yes. In fact, that’s what the WP part of WPML stands for. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t access multilingual features if you decide to create your website with a different service. Some of our favorite website builders include powerful tools or third-party translation apps.

If you want to create a multilingual site, check out our expertly curated list of the best website builders in 2024.
Andrés Gánem Andrés Gánem
Andrés writes about a variety of topics aimed at helping business owners and merchants grow and manage their ventures. These topics include (but are not limited to) website building, web hosting, project management software, and credit card processing. Andrés has 3+ years of experience as a writer and content creator. He’s also worked as a project manager, website designer, and social media manager for a variety of science communication groups.
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