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How to translate widgets & strengthen your multilingual site

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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 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 for navigation, calls to action, post listings, images, and lots more.

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 to translate elements outside the main page content.

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.

weglot-multilingual

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.

translate widgets

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:

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.

visual editor Weglot

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.

edit-translation

If you want to use a translation service for manual editing, you can also set this up inside the Welgot 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 gives 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.

appearance language switcher

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

language switcher widget

You can also add the language switcher widget 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: you can start with the free multilingual WordPress plugin, and 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!

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