How to translate widgets & strengthen your multilingual site

Being able to translate widgets as well as the content of your posts and pages in your multilingual website will give you a fully bilingual or multilingual website with a greatly improved user experience (UX) for international visitors. Just over half of the internet is in the English language. But only 25% of internet users have English as their first language, so creating a multilingual site and translating widgets into different languages will open your business up to a much bigger audience.

Widgets are an integral part of many websites. But if your translation plugin didn’t translate them, users would have the confusing experience of interacting with a page that’s partly in one language, and partly in another.

In this article, we’ll show you how to translate widgets on multilingual WordPress sites, as well as looking at how you use a widget for your language switcher.

We’ll be using Weglot, the best WordPress translation plugin, for this tutorial. We’re focusing on WordPress widgets here, but Weglot can translate widgets on other platforms too. This tutorial is easy to follow, and will help you to quickly achieve the results you need. Let’s get to it!

What are widgets and why translate them?

Widgets are snippets of content on a webpage that sit outside of the main post or page content. On a WordPress site they’re added to widget areas, normally in the sidebar and footer, and are used to customize your site’s functionality, navigation, calls to action, post listings, images, and lots more.

Weglot translate widgets

Translating your widgets means that the whole page will be in your visitors’ native language, so it’s important to pick a translation solution that includes widget translation. 

Having your widgets translated as well as the page content means your visitors get the benefit of a fully translated website and don’t have to resort to using tools like Google Translate that might often fail to translate elements outside the main page content, affecting your localization efforts.

Having pages in two languages will make your site look unprofessional, giving visitors speaking your translated languages the impression that they aren’t as valuable to you as people who speak your website’s main language.

How to translate widgets using Weglot

Weglot is a website translation solution designed to make translating your website easy. It uses machine translation or human translation, or a combination of the two (the most efficient option!), to translate your website. 

When you install the plugin and select the languages you’d like to use, it will use automatic translation to translate all of your content, including all your different widgets, menus, shortcodes and page content.

Start by going to the Weglot settings screen and select the language of your choice to translate your content from the dropdown.

Integrating Weglot with your WordPress website

This plugin will use string translation to automatically translate all of your content, including widgets. You can view these translations by going to the Translations screen in your Weglot account.

Translation list

Weglot also lets you manually edit your translated content, meaning you can optimize it for search engine optimization (SEO) and for UX. 

So if a translated phrase needs to be worded differently in Spanish, French or even Indonesian, for example, you can edit it manually to ensure it’s right. Or, if you’d like to target a different keyword for Google search in a translated language, you can make sure it’s in the translated text. This is most useful for text widgets with manual content.

A text widget might include some welcome text in the default language:

Translate text widget

Included in the content that’s translated are your widgets: all widgets, including the built-in ones and any you add via a plugin such as WooCommerce or Jetpack.

If you open a page in your site using the visual editor, you’ll see that the widgets in the sidebar and/or footer are translated as well as the page content, as well as other items such as navigation menus.

Weglot's visual editor

You can manually edit the translated text in your widgets, too. 

Open the visual editor and click on the widget you’d like to translate. Click the editing icon (a pen) next to it and a popup window will open with both original text and the translated text from the widget. 

Here you can edit the translated text to get it exactly how you please.

Editing text using Weglot's visual editor

If you want to use a translation service for manual editing, you can also set this up inside the Weglot dashboard and work with professional, native translators.

Work through all of the widgets in your site, checking that they’re translated correctly. When you add a new widget, that will be translated too, and you can edit it if you need to.

How to add the Weglot language switcher button in a widget area

As well as translating your widgets, Weglot also comes with its own translation widget, giving you the option to put a language switcher in a widget area, giving you the flexibility to place it wherever you need to on your site.

In your WordPress admin, go to Appearance > Widgets. Alternatively, open the Customizer and click the Widgets option to edit your widgets.

Editing text using Weglot's widget editor

You can also add a widget title and save it so the language switcher appears in your sidebar.

Weglot language switcher

You can add the language switcher to more than one widget area, so people can find it in the footer too.

Translating widgets means your site is completely multilingual

For a multilingual site to be effective and professional, you must translate every element. Use a multilingual solution like Weglot to translate your widgets, as well as the main content of your posts and pages.

Follow the guide above, and you’ll be able to translate widgets and have a fully multilingual website which doesn’t confuse users by being only partially translated.

You’ll find Weglot simple to use: start your 10-day free trial and try it for yourself! If you need to translate widgets on other platforms, such as Squarespace or Shopify, Weglot has you covered too. Enjoy the many benefits of a multilingual website and translated widgets!

Interested in trying Weglot for free?
Try our 10-day free trial and see how quickly you can have a multilingual website up and running!
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