Polylang – simple translation in WordPress

There are many solutions available on the market that will make it easier to translate in WordPress. One of the best solutions is the Polylang plugin that provides numerous features and conveniences. Find out what it is, how to download, install and configure it as well as details on how to use it.

Polylang – free WordPress plugin

Polylang will make it possible to create multilingual websites. After installing it, you can translate posts, websites, categories and even the website menu. It is available as a free and premium tool. The PRO version makes its integration with WooCommerce possible. It also simplifies all translation-related work with new features offered by this plugin.

How to install Polylang in WordPress.

If you want to use the Polylang plugin, you will need to install it first. To do that, log into the administrative panel. Choose “Plugins” from the menu on your left-hand side and click “Add new plugin”. After completing these steps, you will access the WordPress Plugin Repository.

Then, enter “Polylang” in the search field.

Click “Install now” and then “Activate”.

How to use Polylang?

Polylang in the free version does not require additional configuration. It is ready to use immediately after installing. Starting work with this plugin is very simple. First, find “Languages” in the menu on the left-hand side of the administrative panel.

First, add the default language for the website.

You will be redirected to the plugin menu. First, you will have to add a new translation language that will be set as default. For this purpose, choose the language in the drop-down menu. Let’s say you choose “English – en_GB”.

After choosing it, the following fields will be filled out automatically: “Full name”, “Locale”, “Language code” and “Flag”. Leave them with the default value. Click “Add new language”.

In the top of the page, the following message will appear: “There are posts, pages, categories or tags without language. You can set them all to the default language”. When you click the underlined “You can set them all to the default language”, they will be assigned automatically to the new language. This way, you have defined the target version of your website.

Adding a new language in Polylang

Creating a new language version requires adding a new language. For this purpose, complete all steps as in the case of adding “English – en_GB” but this time, choose the language of translation for the entire website. If a new item appears on the right-hand side, the step was completed successfully.

Translating a website with Polylang

The first step that you should take towards translating the website is to create a new language version of the homepage. To start, choose “Pages” from the menu on the left-hand side. You will be forwarded to a list of all pages available in your WordPress. You will see two flags next to each page: the default language and the translation language. Click “+” to start translation.

The content of the page will be copied automatically. Translation consists of adding new foreign-language content in place of content on the source website. After creating the language version, the pencil symbol will appear instead of “+”. Click on it to start editing a given page. Proceed in the same way when adding new language versions for the remaining content on your website.

Adding a Polylang language switch on the website

Translating all pages into a foreign language is not all that needs to be done. You should let your users decide in what language they want to browse your website. For this purpose, add a language switch to the menu. To do that, choose “Appearance” and “Menus” on the left-hand side in the administrative panel. Add “Language switcher” to the menu of the default language version and click “Save menu”.

Before you add the switch to the foreign-language menu, you should first create it. For this purpose, click “Create new menu”, name it accordingly, e.g. “German menu” and click “Create menu”.

Now, add elements of the menu that are to be included in it. Usually, it will contain “Pages”. In the last step, add the “Language switcher”, check “Primary Menu English” in the “Display location” option and click “Save menu”.

Features of Polylang

Polylang provides numerous possibilities besides translating a website with the possibility of switching between language versions. Thanks to this possibility, you can specify URL addresses, activate the option of automated language detection of the user’s browser, and more.

Configuring URL with Polylang

It is possible to change the displayed URL addresses in “Settings”. After clicking this item, you will be redirected to the Polylang settings. Configuration of visible URLs is possible after clicking “Settings” under “URL modifications”. You can choose whether the foreign language version of the website is to be displayed after entering “en.yoursite.com” or “yoursite.com/en”, etc.

Automated detection of browser language

Your website can be automatically displayed to an English-speaking user. For this purpose, in the “Settings”, find “Detect browser language” and click “Activate”.

Translating static elements of a website with Polylang

Polylang provides the possibility of translating some static elements of a website. For this purpose, choose “Languages” and “String translations”. A window will be display with elements for translation, such as website title, messages, e.g. “Search”, “Page not found”, etc.

Lingotek for Polylang

Polylang is fully integrated with free products supplied by Lingotek. All add-ons and extensions can be found in “Languages” and “Lingotek”. This is where you can activate the possibility of automated website translation, using machine translation, etc.

Polylang and professional website translation

Despite the fact that use of Polylang significantly speeds up the process of translating websites in to foreign languages, it will not eliminate the necessity of translating the content. Using services of professional translation agencies will guarantee that your message will be properly conveyed to a foreign recipient. Not only precision of the translation matters but most importantly, adaptation of text to given culture of the country in which your recipient lives.