WPML Review: Key Features, Usage & Alternatives (2024)

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by 5 Comments

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WPML Review: Key Features, Usage & Alternatives (2024)
Blog / WordPress / WPML Review: Key Features, Usage & Alternatives (2024)

WPML is a plugin that allows users to translate their WordPress websites into any language. WPML can help you achieve your goals, whether you want to create a multilingual website, a global e-commerce store, or a personal blog in your native language. In this article, we will review WPML and show you how it works, its features, and why it is an excellent choice for WordPress translation.

Why You Need a Multilingual Plugin Like WPML

Many people wonder if WordPress can handle multiple languages, and the answer is yes, but not without some help. By default, WordPress doesn’t have built-in multilingual capabilities or translation options. However, you can easily add a translation plugin to support your site’s different languages. One highly recommended option is WPML (WordPress Multilingual Plugin). It’s considered one of the best choices for creating a multilingual WordPress website.

What is WPML?

WPML is a WordPress plugin that takes the stress out of managing websites meant to be read in multiple languages. It handles all technical pieces, like hreflang tags, language-switching icons, and more.

WPML - Homepage - January 2024

With WPML, users can translate posts, pages, menus, widgets, themes, plugins, and more. They can also choose from over 65 languages or add their custom languages. WPML is also SEO-friendly by managing multi-language URLs and is compatible with popular WordPress plugins and themes.

Let’s see what WPML has to offer.

Review of WPML’s Translation Features

WPML has a lot of features that potential users will be interested in. Here’s an up-close look at what makes WPML a complete solution for WordPress translations.

Automatic Translations for Massive Time + Money Savings

One of the best features that WPML offers users is automatic translations. This feature runs on a credit system, with your first 2,000 credits being free to use (much, much more when purchasing CMS or Agency plans). Credits can be purchased starting at €6 for 8,000 credits.

Automatic Site Translation WPML

WPML’s credit expenditure per work depends on the language model used.

  • DeepL – 2 Credits per Word
  • Google Translate – 2 Credits per Word
  • Mircosoft – 1 Credit per Word

Notably, popular AI models such as GPT-3 and GPT-4 are unavailable, which would likely decrease translation prices instead of using these more traditional translation models.

Calculate WPML Credit Costs

At any rate, WPML’s automatic translation works like a dream. It can translate post and page content and things you’d not realize, like widgets, headers/footers, and more.

Setup Workflows for Manual Translation

Many people will want to take advantage of WPML’s manual translation process. They may want to do this if they are multilingual or wish to outsource the translation process. Users can configure how they want to handle translations for the post/page in the block editor. They can set the priority of the page’s translation, add a new translation instantly, and determine how the media on that page should be handled concerning translations.

WPLM Settings on Post or Page Settings

Inside the WPML “Translation Management” settings page, users will get a high-level view of their website and its translatable aspects. It is straightforward to manage translations for each asset from this view. However, with continuous content updates, managing translations can become clunky with WPML’s setup.

WPML Translation Dashboard

Use for Any Locale with Support for 65 Languages

With support for 65 languages built-in, chances are that WPML can cover your translation needs. Users can add language variants for languages that aren’t natively supported to allow the plugin to work with their needs.

Each page that features translations has a footer added to it that makes it easy to switch languages.

Switch Language Footer

For some, this isn’t as prominent of a place as they’d like. So, WPML also gives you access to a shortcode for placing a language switcher wherever you want. This is usable in theme builder areas like headers or blog posts.

Switch Language Shortcode

This easily switches the content to one of the supplied languages for that post/page.

Switched to Greek Example

Sell Across the World with Multicurrency

For WooCommerce stores, translating needs to happen in more places, not just the words on a page. Prices also need to be localized to make sense to readers. WPML enables store owners to display their product prices in various currencies depending on the language settings. It comes with a conversion rate converter so that the prices have the correct currency symbol and actual cost.

Woo - WooCommcerce Multilingual

Of course, WPML also translates product taxonomy, individual products, and shipping information so that your website truly functions in multiple languages. Overall, it is a solid WooCommerce multilingual solution for your online store.

Support Your Team with Admin & User UI Translations

When translating a website, the admin dashboard’s UI is often an afterthought. However, being able to translate the WordPress backend is excellent when you have people with multiple languages logging into the backend.

WordPress Admin Dashboard Translations

Accommodating your team’s language preferences, even if they are bilingual, is a great way to increase productivity and show them that they care.

Translate Your Site Quickly with Smooth Onboarding

Knowing where to start is hard when installing a translation plugin. So many things may need translating, and the technology is often somewhat complex. Luckily for WordPress users, the WPML plugin has a streamlined onboarding process for easy setup. First, it allows you to set your site’s preferred languages.

WPML Onboarding Setup - Steps 1

After that, it helps you structure how those translations will be handled regarding your URL.

WPML Onboarding Setup - Steps 2

After this, the last pages of the setup ask about how you will go about translating your site (manually or with auto-translating). From there, you can use the plugin to translate your high-priority pages.

Pricing Review of WPML

WPML - Pricing Page - January 2024

WPML has three main pricing options for bloggers, businesses, or agencies that need a multilingual site.

Multilingual Blog

“Multilingual Blog” is the simplest plan that WPML offers. This plan allows website owners to manually enter translations while it handles some of the technical arrangements. It allows you to manually translate your site’s primary content, including posts, pages, taxonomy, menus, and media. This plan offers No automatic translation credits, so you are on the hook for creating your own translated content.

Best For:

Smaller websites that are easier to manage content translations with. It should be a large part of what you need if you outsource content translating to other people or use something like ChatGPT to do it for you (but it requires copying and pasting in the content). If you use FSE or a page builder, this plan will not work.

Price: €39 per year

Multilingual CMS

“Multilingual CMS” is designed for businesses and web agencies building multilingual WordPress sites. It includes all the features of the Multilingual Blog plan and more. With this plan, you can translate your site’s theme and plugin content, page builder content, WooCommerce, custom fields, and more. You can also use automatic translation, integrate with professional translation services, and work with local translators. It comes with 90,000 autotranslate credits, which renew every renewal period.

Best For:

Larger websites, eCommerce stores, and anyone wanting to use autotranslate. It’s a reasonable yearly price for a plugin, especially considering it has many credits.

Price: €99 per year

Multilingual Agency

Agencies building many multilingual WordPress sites are particularly suited for “Multilingual Agency.” It includes all the features of Multilingual CMS but allows unlimited use across multiple websites. The plan offers 180,000 translation credits annually, a nice perk for agencies offering translation services.

Best For:

The only people needing this plan are agencies or freelancers who want WPML installed on many websites. Otherwise, you are better off getting the CMS plan and supplementing translation credits as an add-on.

Price: €199 per year

Review of WPML’s Pros and Cons

People have their opinions and have been vocal about what they like and don’t like about WPML. Let’s start with the most common pros.

Pros of WPML

  • Stable, long-time favorite plugin
  • Supports 65 languages
  • Works well with themes and plugins
  • E-commerce support
  • Integration with popular translation services for easy outsourcing

Cons of WPML

  • It doesn’t have the most straightforward translation workflow/UI
  • High-cost translation credits compared with other options like translating with ChatGPT.
  • Adds a lot of entries to WP Databases
  • No page builder or even FSE support for its base plan

All in all, WPML is a reliable translation plugin. Since it uses more expensive translation models, you may not want to use its auto-translation. But, it has been a reliable plugin for many websites for over a decade.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

Despite the long-standing success and popularity of WPML, the community has mixed opinions about it. Seems like many love the robust features of the plugin and compatibility with WordPress themes and plugins, despite the learning curve. However, the recent bugs and lack of support seem to be issues we hope they address soon.

WPML Alternatives

WPML is a great plugin, but there are some worthy competitors to consider as well. Here’s a look at other top WordPress translation plugins.

TranslatePress

TranslatePress

TranslatePress is a WordPress translation plugin that lets you translate your site from the front end using a visual editor. It is an excellent WPML alternative because it is easy to use, fast, and compatible with any theme or plugin. You can translate your entire site in minutes without coding or technical skills. TranslatePress also has a free version that you can use for unlimited languages and premium add-ons for extra features like multiple language switcher options, translator accounts, navigation based on language, and more.

Polylang

Polylang Homepage - January 2024

Polylang is a good WPML alternative because it is lightweight, flexible, and has a free version. You can use it with any theme or plugin that follows WordPress standards and customize it to suit your needs. Polylang also has a premium version called Polylang Pro that adds features like media translation, custom post-type translation, WooCommerce integration, Lingotek integration, and more.

Weglot

WEGLOT WordPress Translation Plugin

Weglot is an excellent alternative to WPML because it is user-friendly, efficient, and dependable. You can translate your site in minutes without any coding or compatibility issues. Furthermore, Weglot has a free plan that allows you to translate up to 2,000 words into one language and paid plans that provide more words, languages, features, and support.

Who is WPML for?

WPML is a great choice for WordPress website owners looking for a way to translate their website. It is one of the longest-running translation plugins for WordPress. It has a large and loyal fanbase but doesn’t always have the most modern approach to translating. WPML offers competitive pricing, free credits (select plans), and integration with translation service platforms. Choosing WPML for your translation project will give you the tools you need to do the job.

After you get those translations done on your website, you must ensure they rank well on Google. To do that, consider some of the best SEO plugins for WordPress or our favorite SEO tools.

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5 Comments

  1. Good overview. But it is lacking one very important issue: try using WPML in a Divi environment. Theoretically, it should work just fine. In real life, to me it behaves like an absolute nightmare. Integration is sluggish, completely counter-intuitive and it really, really slows your site down. I have seen some evil magic happening, where parts of Divi just reverted to previous versions or disappeared altogether, with no apparent reason. Hard to instruct my clients how to operate it, let alone fully understand it myself.
    Have done 5 or 6 implementations so far, but I won’t do any more. Have even reverted some sites.

    Just my experience, not to break your post down.

    • Absolutely appreciate the real-world experience and anecdote, Eric. I wonder if any of those issues are specific enough and are repeatable so as to be able to be sent over to support (maybe to both our support and WPML’s)? I’m sure you’ve dug into it plenty. Thanks for reaching out with your experience.

    • Hi, I have been experiencing similar issues with WPML and Divi. Every year, I have to open around ten different support tickets to resolve bugs… I’ve been telling myself for years that I need to try another plugin, but I haven’t yet dared to take the plunge.

  2. Very interesting. Personnaly I have always used Polylang with Divi Theme, and it works with WooCommerce.

    • Yes, there are plenty of compelling plugins for handling translations. Glad you have something that works with Woo and Divi.

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