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May 11, 2022

WPML not only lets you translate every part of your site, it also lets you choose who will translate it and how to do it. Here’s an overview of options available with WPML.

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Installing & Configuring WPML

Start by making sure your site meets WPML’s minimum requirements. Then, install the main WPML components:

  • WPML Multilingual CMS (the core plugin)
  • String Translation
  • Media Translation

They are available from your account’s Downloads page. Please note that the WPML Multilingual Blog account type does not provide access to other components besides the WPML core plugin.

Read more about how to download and activate your WPML plugins on your site.

When you first activate WPML a setup wizard will help you specify the essential settings you need to prepare your site for multilingual content.

Follow the wizard to:

After setting up your site, you can also customize your site’s language switcher, which is added to the footer by default.

Translation Mode Options

You have two options for translating your site: Translate Everything or Translate Some. The WPML setup wizard will try to choose the best option for you depending on how much content is on your site.

Choosing a translation mode when setting up WPML the first time
Choosing a translation mode when setting up WPML the first time

Both of these options are fully compatible with the WordPress Gutenberg block editor. You can easily translate your content designed using Gutenberg.

Translate Everything: Automatically Translate Your Entire Site’s Content

This option sends all of your site’s content to be translated automatically when you finish the setup wizard or change your translation mode.

WPML’s automatic translation completes your translations in minutes, and you can choose to review the translations before or after publishing them on your site. Don’t speak the language you’re translating your site into? No problem. You can hire a translation reviewer to make sure your translated content sounds natural and accurate.

Viewing the status of your automatic translations
Viewing the status of your automatic translations

As you add new content or edit existing content on your site, WPML translates it immediately, which means your site’s translations are never out of date.

This feature works for the following types of content:

  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Taxonomy terms that are assigned to posts or pages
  • WooCommerce products

It also works with custom post types, custom taxonomies, and other custom content that you set to Translatable in WPML’s settings. You may still need to translate some content such as strings and some plugin content (such as content from form plugins). This is because short texts often don’t have enough context to provide a useful translation automatically.

Please note that this mode translates content from your site’s default language to the secondary languages. If you create a post or a page in a secondary language, it will not be automatically translated to other languages.

Read more about WPML’s automatic translation options.

Translate Some: Choose Which Content to Translate

If you don’t want to translate your whole site or would prefer to hire translators to work on your site, this option gives you more control over what you translate and who will translate it.

If you have a WPML Multilingual CMS or Agency account, you can set up individual translators, connect directly with a professional translation service, or translate your content yourself.

Then, go to WPML Translation Management to choose which content you would like to translate.

Sending pages for translation using the Translation Management Dashboard
Sending pages for translation using the Translation Management Dashboard

Translating Your Site Yourself

If you have a WPML Blog account, or you’re the only one translating your site’s content, you can translate your posts and pages by clicking the plus and pencil icons.

List of Pages with translation controls
List of Pages with translation controls
WPML Language box when editing a page
WPML Language box when editing a page

Translation Icons

This is what the different icons mean:

Icon Current status Action
The content is not yet translated Create a new translation and start editing it
The content is already translated, and the translation is up-to-date Edit the existing translation
The content is translated, but the translation needs updating Edit the existing translation
The content is translated, but the translation needs updating, and a new translation is already in progress Further action is not possible because a translation is already in progress

Using Multilingual-Ready Themes and Plugins

The WPML team works closely with authors of the most popular themes and plugins to ensure you don’t encounter any compatibility problems when translating your site. See our directories of recommended themes and plugins for specific documentation and workarounds for any current known issues:

Translating Other Site Content

Besides posts and pages, there are other elements that you will want to translate. This includes front-end texts coming from your theme and plugins, menus, widgets, and more.

Again, you can send these types of content for translation to others, or translate it directly by yourself.

Taxonomies »

Translating taxonomies

Go to WPMLTaxonomy Translation to translate tags, categories and custom taxonomy.

Custom fields »

Translating custom fields

Go to WPMLSettingsCustom Fields Translation to choose which fields will appear in WPML’s Advanced Translation Editor.

Images and other media »

Translating image texts

WPML Media Translation allows you to use different images and other media for your translated content when you’re using WPML Translation Management.

Translating menus

Use WPML to show different menus for each language. Set up different menus manually or automatically synchronize the menu content.

Widgets »

Translating widgets

Use the String Translation module to translate standard WordPress widget texts as well as texts from custom widgets registered by your theme or plugins.

URLs »

Translating URLs

Edit the permalink directly to translate page names appearing in URLs, and use Translation Management settings to translate slugs of custom post types.

Themes and plugins »

WPML lets you translate the texts that come from the theme and plugins that are running on your site. This way, if themes and plugins are missing some translations, you can add them using the String Translation module.

Admin strings »

You can choose any string in the wp_options table and make it translatable via WPML. Then, translate these strings using the String Translation module.

E-Commerce sites

WPML offers support for the popular e-commerce plugins:


See our documentation for translating forms according to which form plugin you use. Download any necessary glue plugins from your Downloads page.

Custom elements

When you build custom elements for a multilingual site, you will need to translate them. Read the guide on developing custom multilingual sites to see what WPML offers.