WPML Multilingual Full Guide



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INTRODUCTION WPML Multilingual Plugin

According to the W3Techs website, about 22% of websites worldwide are designed with WordPress, which rises to 60% if we talk about web pages
made with a CMS or content manager. Despite its popularity, WordPress does not is multilingual, although it is likely to end up natively implementing this language.
functionality as they already do, for example, Joomla or Prestashop, to mention two examples known.

While we wait for this content manager to implement the multilingual functionality, we have to choose some option to have our WordPress website in several
languages. There are basically 3 alternatives for this: install a translation plugin, do a multisite installation of WordPress or use an external translation tool.
These alternatives are explained in this article How to have our website from WordPress in several languages.

One of the best, if not the best, options to have a WordPress website in several languages is to use the WordPress Multilingual plugin, in short WPML. It’s is a plugin that allows you to carry out the localization and website translation in WordPress. According to its website more than 400,000 websites of commercial use of WPML and web developers from all over the world use this plugin.

It is a plugin that will avoid all the problems associated with plugins lack of technical support and the insecurity it creates that with each of its services, the WordPress update your multilingual website may have problems with compatibility with new versions of WordPress.

Advantages WPML Plugin:

  • Reliability. Provides updates before newer versions of WordPress appear. Your team works with other web developers on topics and with leading plugins to ensure full compatibility. Offers a 30-day trial period during which you get your money back if you don’t have any without asking you any questions. At least this is what they specify in your refund policy.
  • Positioning in local search engines. WPML allows you to optimize your website of separate way for each language. It follows the specifications established in the Webmaster tools for Google Webmasters that allow your website to improve its positioning in the local search results. It is compatible with the Wordpress’ main SEO plugins.
  • E-commerce. Works with all major e-commerce plugins as WooCommerce allowing multiple currencies.
  • It is very easy to use. With a basic configuration you can translate yourself your own website. If you are not a translator, you can organize and manage a team of translators.
  • It is easy to install and configure. With three simple steps you can configure it and convert your WordPress into a multilingual website. No knowledge of programming

Disadvantages WMPL Plugin:

    • It’s a payment plugin. It’s a commercial plugin that costs $29 the cheapest version and $79 for the full version. This price entitles you to 1 year of support. If you want to renew it after the first year, it’ll cost you $15 and $39, respectively. However, for 195 dollars you can purchase the full version and support for life. In all versions you can use this plugin in a way unlimited on any website.
    • Creates additional database tables. This sometimes means that the WordPress backend can slow down but not your website. In all case, this is a problem also in other translation plugins.

This guide is based on my personal experience in using it. Although the website WPML provides quite detailed documentation for using the plugin, the same has two main problems:

  • Focuses mainly on the point of view of the page manager web (webmaster or computer) and not from the translator’s perspective. I mean, you know, offers technical documentation for plugin configuration and installation but, in case of change, the documentation that explains how the translator should do his job is very rare. Link to the documentation and its free PDF Manual (13 MB).
  • The information is very scattered and not very well structured. To understand the use of this plugin you have to navigate through many of the pages of the web site of WPML and go put the puzzle pieces together to fully understand their performance. WPML uses a myriad of additional add-ons that you don’t use until you use them you don’t quite understand how it works.

I have tried to collect in this guide most aspects of this plugin both since the viewpoint of the webmaster (the one who usually takes care of installing and configure it) as well as the translator (the one who is in charge of the professional translation of the content). The guide is based on my personal experience and technical documentation of this plugin’s own website, to which I will refer in some sections.

Since the translator is often unfamiliar with WordPress or the use of translation plugins, it is usually quite common that the translation of the website is done by a webmaster.
In this sense, the webmaster of the website usually copy all the contents of the website into an Office file, which is sent to translator. This returns the translated file to the owner of the website on to copy and paste the contents into WordPress. This procedure, which is the most comfortable for the translator, is not the most appropriate way to do the localization and translation of a website in WordPress.

Therefore, in this guide or manual I intend to give a broader and more detailed view of what it is like the localization and translation process within WordPress itself using WPML, and that can be useful for translators or webmasters interested in localization web.


WPML is composed of a main plugin and several modules or add-ons (known as add-ons). The main plugin called WPML Multilingual CMS is always required, while any combination of modules can be installed to give it more functionality.
It may not be necessary to install them all on your website, only those strictly necessary. In any case, the most important module is WPML String Translations, which has which allows you to translate the website title, short description, widgets, as well as the widgets, as well as the major part of your website part of text strings from your website in WordPress.


Temas compatibles

El plugin WPML es compatible con muchos temas de las principales empresas proveedoras tales como Studiopress, Themeforest, Elegant Themes, WooThemes, etc. Para estar seguro
de que tu tema está preparado para ser multilingüe con WPML debes consultar en su página web.
Que tu tema no esté en esta lista no significa que no sea compatible sino que no ha sido testado y puede que algunas de las funciones del plugin no respondan de manera adecuada.
Si tienes pensado diseñar una página web multilingüe en WordPress siempre es conveniente adquirir un tema compatible con este plugin. Suelo utilizar el framework Genesis de
Wordpress que es totalmente compatible con este plugin.

Compatible plugins

A list of compatible plugins that work is also available on the WPML website with multilingual WPML sites. To cite some examples of the most important relevant:

  • WordPress SEO
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • Revolution Slider
  • Events Manager
  • Nivo Slider
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Genesis eNews Extended
  • Contact Form 7


The first thing you should do after installing the main plugin is to configure the languages. To you should go to WPML > Languages. When you first set up WPML, you must choose
first the language of the existing content and then add the languages you want to add them to translate the site. Later you can always return to this configuration and add or delete languages.
The best way to see this is through the little over two-minute video that appears on the home page of your website and that will teach you how to set up the languages, as well as the
main plugin functionalities.


Before you buy a WordPress theme, make sure you don’t just check that it is WPML compatible but also that the language selector is integrated in an elegant way on it. To this end, it is advisable to check this factor in the demo of the topic. There are many themes compatible with this plugin but that integrate of the language selector in the menu and then you have to do the following modifications in the php and css codes to better integrate it. If you go to design a multilingual website, this factor should be important in choosing the theme of

Configure SEO Options

One of the most important aspects of a multilingual website is to appear above search results in the different languages in which you have access to Google’s search results your website. The process of trying to promote your website as high as possible is called SEO (de Search Engine Optimization) abbreviation. When dealing with a website in several languages
languages is called Multilingual SEO.
From WPML’s own website, they recommend the use of WordPress SEO by plugin Yoast. In addition to this plugin (which I will explain later in this tutorial how to translate), WPML allows two important options to be established to improve the positioning of your web site in searches in various languages that are convenient to have marked:

  • Display the language alternatives in the HEADING section.
  • Add links to the original content with rel=”canonical”attributes.

This way we’ll be telling Google the languages of the website as well as where to find it find our original content and where the translated. In this sense, the label rel= “canonical” contains the original URL of each content, so that Google won’t confuse it with SPAM and will always know where the original content is.


Before going into detail about how to translate content with WPML, it is important to the importance of carrying out the localization and translation of the document in advance, and
theme or the plugins we are using. This is an aspect that most of the time is overlooked and results in certain text strings appearing in English (since most themes and plugins are developed in this language)

However, most texts in English will be in the backend part of the website Wordpress. The latter can choose not to translate them because they are texts that only you’ll see.
Themes or plugins already translated. There are many themes and plugins that are already translated into other languages, especially the most popular. Translations are sometimes done by professional translators, but it is not uncommon for them to be done by volunteers, basically for two reasons:

  • Users of the theme or plugin from another country who decide to translate to their own language language and share it with other users.
  • Translators (professional or otherwise), who voluntarily perform the work for to get an incoming link to your website, as on the web pages of the themes or plugins are usually published by the authors of the translation as well as a link to your website.

As a consequence of the foregoing, in many cases translations are not usually from quality but, at least, they are a good starting point to start working with.
To localise themes or plugins in WordPress (or modify them already WPML allows you to do this in two ways (WPML > Location of topics and plugins):

  • The traditional method using. mo and. po files. This method is explained in this article: How to translate a wordpress theme or plugin:. po and. mo files.
  • Translate the theme or plugin directly with WPML. In this article from the very WPML page module.



Localization and translation of WordPress content with the WPML plugin will be done by you can do in 3 ways:
1. Manual creation of pages and entries in other languages, using the editor Wordpress standard. To do this, you must be the owner or administrator of the site

2. Using the module called “Translation Management”. It’s about a WPML add-on that allows the administrator or owner of the website to send jobs to a translator who has previously been hired and who is given access to to WordPress with subscriber privileges. Through this method, the translator will you can also use your own computer assisted translation tool (TAO) by means of
of the WPML XLIFF interface.

3. By means of translators that you can hire through the panel of Wordpress administration, through professional translation service of Icanlocalize, from OnTheGoSystems, the developer of the WPML plugin.

Note. If you are a translator and want to know how to calculate the amount of content in a website, you may be interested in this article: How to count the words on a website.
Wordpress indicates at the bottom of each page or entry the number of words of each one of them

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