If you are running an online business, chances are you have clients from more than one country. That means you need to make it easy for both native and non-native speakers of a language.
If you have a WordPress website in English and if you have clients from all over the world, you cannot expect all of them to clearly understand the content on your site.
Some may understand and some may not. And while I say “some”, that “some” is usually a big number. That may have a significant impact on your business.
Here’s where you could think about the possibility of having a translate feature, preferably Google translate. You should already be familiar with Google translate if you are using Google search.
Now how about adding this feature right in your WordPress website so any reader who knows a language that is something other than what you use on your site should be easily able to use your site?
Why do you need Google translate in your website?
Here’s a Spanish website. Let’s say you are looking for a very important information on this site and you don’t know Spanish.
A translate feature comes in handy, right?
Say you run a restaurant/hotel in a tourist city. Your customers are mostly tourists from different countries and think about not having a translate feature on your website.
How will they order dishes or check out your menus? How will they book rooms?
So, you get the idea!
How to add Google translate in your WordPress website?
With WordPress anything can be done with a plugin. That’s a blessing (and probably a curse too).
So, to add Google translate, you need to install the Google language translator plugin which is a quite popular plugin.
The plugin is actively updated and maintained by the developers (at the time of writing this post) and has 100000+ active installs!
Go to your WordPress dashboard > Plugins > Add New > search for Google Language Translator > Install and activate the plugin.
Once that is done, hover your mouse over Settings and select Google Language Translator.
Under the main settings, you need to choose the original language of your website. By default, English is chosen. You might have to change that if you have a non-English site on WordPress.
And then, under Layout settings, you need to give the options (Languages) for your readers. You can either turn ON all languages or certain specific ones if you are sure you get visitors from those countries alone.
Then you have the option to display flags – you can choose to display a handful of flags of your choice.
There is a preview on the right, so you can see how the options you select in settings affect the view of the translate widget.
Further down, you have a few more settings options, most of which are self explanatory.
How to use the Google Language translator plugin?
You could add it as a widget in the sidebar. To do this, go to Appearance > Widgets and drag drop the Google Language Translator widget to the location of your choice.
Or you can use the shortcode [google-translator] on posts or pages.
Or if you want to put up the translate box in header, footer or page templates you need to use this shortcode:
<?php echo do_shortcode('[google-translator]'); ?>
What you can and cannot expect from this Google translate feature?
Many WordPress users confuse this translate feature to that of developing a multilingual site on WordPress.
A WordPress multilingual site is a standalone version for different languages – each site’s content can be indexed by Google.
On the other hand, the translate button will only display the translated form of the site – the translated content that is shown is not indexable by Google.
So if you are into dominating search engines for other languages, you need to create a multilingual site. Merely putting up a Google translate button won’t cut it.
But if you are into making it easy for your visitors who know various other languages (and may not know your site’s original language), a simple option to capture their attention is to provide a translate button.
With the translate button you get the luxury of translating your site’s content to 100+ languages with the click of a button, and it is simply impossible to do it otherwise.
At the same time, unlike the content you yourself create in multiple languages, the translate button provides you with machine translation.
This means the translation might not be perfect – and in some cases can even misleading. And a drawback that prevails is you can’t do anything about it (like editing the translated content).
So yes, if you want a handy way to help your readers from all over the world, go for it.
But don’t expect too much from this route of presenting translated content of your website!