How To Create A Multilingual WooCommerce Store (Easy And SEO-Friendly)
Are you trying to set up a multilingual WooCommerce store but not sure where to start?
Making WooCommerce multilingual is a great way to…
- Create a more shopper-friendly store by letting people shop in their native languages, which most people prefer to do;
- Attract more shoppers in the first place by letting you rank your translated products in Google and helping you get more multilingual shares on social media.
But, as you might have figured out, WooCommerce doesn’t come with built-in multilingual functionality.
Don’t worry! You can create a multilingual WooCommerce store; you’re just going to need the help of a plugin, which is what this post is about.
In this post, you’ll learn step-by-step how to make WooCommerce multilingual – zero technical knowledge required.
Using a visual interface like the one below, you’ll be able to translate every single part of your store including your shop page, single product pages, cart page, checkout page, blog, and everything else.
Ready to start translating? Let’s dig in…
What you need to create a multilingual WooCommerce store
To create a multilingual store, you’ll need a WordPress translation plugin that supports WooCommerce.
While there are several popular translation plugins, we’re going to use TranslatePress for this tutorial for a few reasons:
- It offers out-of-the-box support for WooCommerce;
- It has a free version that lets you create a functioning multilingual store;
- You can optimize your store for multilingual SEO if that’s part of your marketing strategy.
Once you choose your languages in the TranslatePress interface, you’ll be able to translate your store using the visual interface that you saw above.
To help you save time, you also have the option to use automatic machine translation from Google Translate or DeepL.
You’ll learn more about how it works in the step-by-step tutorial below.
How to make WooCommerce multilingual with TranslatePress
Now that you know what’s going on, let’s get into the step-by-step guide for how you can set up a multilingual WooCommerce store using the TranslatePress plugin.
For this example, we set up a fresh WooCommerce store using the Kadence theme and now we’ll take you through every step needed to create a functioning store in multiple languages.
You will be able to follow almost all of this tutorial using just the free version of TranslatePress at WordPress.org. However, we will note some specific features where you’ll need to have the premium version.
While the premium version gives you a lot of different features, the two most relevant features for the average store are as follows:
- Unlimited languages – the free version of the plugin lets you translate your store into one new language, while the premium version supports unlimited languages.
- Multilingual SEO – the free version of the plugin lets you translate all of your human-visible content, but you’ll need the premium version to translate backend SEO details such as the SEO title, meta description, sitewide URL slugs, and so on. The premium version integrates with most popular SEO plugins so that you can easily translate your existing SEO details.
Both of these features are available with the entry-level Personal license.
Basically, here’s how it goes:
- if you’re serious about using multilingual SEO to grow your store, you’ll probably want to purchase the premium version;
- If you just want to translate your store into a new language to improve the user experience, you might be fine with the free version.
To get started, make sure to install and activate the TranslatePress plugin on your site. You can always just start with the free version at WordPress.org and upgrade later on if needed — you won’t lose any of your translations upgrading from free to paid.
Let’s dig in…
1. Choose your store’s languages
Once you’ve activated the plugin, go to Settings → TranslatePress to choose the languages that you want to offer on your store:
- Default Language – this is the language in which your store’s content currently exists. TranslatePress should automatically detect it, but you’ll want to verify that it’s correct;
- All Languages – this lets you add one or more new languages into which you want to translate your store’s content. Again, the free version of the plugin supports one new language while the premium version allows unlimited languages.
For example, if your store’s original language is English and you want to add support for Spanish, you’d configure it like this:
TranslatePress offers built-in support for over a hundred languages, so you’ll almost certainly see your language in the drop-down. However, if you don’t see the language, you can add a custom language in the Advanced tab of the TranslatePress settings area.
2. Set up automatic translation (optional)
This step is 100% optional. However, if your store has a lot of content, you might not want to translate everything from scratch. Instead, you can use automatic machine translation from either Google Translate or DeepL.
When you use automatic translation, TranslatePress will send your store’s content to those services for translation. Then, TranslatePress will store the translations in your site’s local database. This means two things:
- You can easily edit any of the machine translation content just as if you’ve added the translations yourself;
- Your site doesn’t need to query the machine translation service for each visit, which improves performance and loading time.
Because you can fully edit all of the automatic translations, a good strategy to save time is to use a hybrid automatic/manual approach:
- You can use the automatic translation service to generate your site’s baseline translations;
- You can have a human proofread those automatic translations to fix any issues with accuracy or clarity.
If you do want to use automatic translation, go to the Automatic Translation tab in the TranslatePress settings area:
- Set the Enable Automatic Translation drop-down equal to Yes;
- Choose your preferred automatic translation service. The free version of TranslatePress lets you use Google Translate for automatic translation, but you’ll need to purchase at least the Business license if you want to use DeepL.
Once you’ve chosen your translation service, you’ll need to go to that service and generate an API key. This API key is what lets TranslatePress connect to the service. The TranslatePress documentation has step-by-step instructions for both services:
Below that, you can also set a limit on the number of machine translation characters that you translate per day. This can help you control your budget.
Note: TranslatePress does not charge anything based on your machine translation usage. However, you might need to pay the translation service directly based on your usage.
Both Google Translate and DeepL let you translate up to 500,000 characters per month for free (~100,000 words or so). If you exceed that limit in a month, you’ll need to pay your chosen service:
- Google Translate – $20 per additional one million characters;
- DeepL – a $5.49 per month flat fee plus $25 per additional one million characters.
Once you’ve made those choices, save your settings. TranslatePress will now start automatically translating your content using your preferred service.
3. Add/edit your store’s translations using the visual editor
Now, you’re ready to use TranslatePress’s visual translation editor to control your site’s translations:
- If you set up automatic translation in the previous step, this is how you can edit the translations from the service;
- If you decided to use exclusively manual translation, this is where you’ll add your translations from scratch.
To begin, open the piece of content that you want to translate on the front-end of your site. Then, click the new Translate Page option on the WordPress toolbar to launch the editor.
For example, here’s what it looks like to launch the editor for a single product:
Now, you’ll be in the visual editor for that product, which looks a lot like the regular WordPress theme customizer. You’ll see a live preview of your site on the right side and a sidebar on the left, which is where you’ll manage your store’s translations.
Here’s how to translate your store’s content:
- Hover over the content that you want to translate;
- Click the pencil icon to open the translation in the sidebar;
- Add/edit the translation using the sidebar;
- Save your changes by clicking the Save translation button or using the “Ctrl + S” or “Cmd + S” keyboard shortcuts;
- Repeat the process to translate additional content.
You can use this approach to translate any content on your store – even images.
For example, maybe you include some text as part of a product image. To ensure a fully localized experience, you’d want to change the language of this text depending on the language that a shopper has selected.
To “translate” a product image, you’d hover over the image and click the pencil icon. Then, you can choose a different image file from your media library. Depending on which version of TransaltePress you’re using, you’ll also be able to translate the image alt text and/or title.
Note: If your WooCommerce theme has an image zoom feature, you might need to open the image in the lightbox zoom popup to translate it:
You can use this point-and-click approach to translate every part of your store, but let’s look at a few other examples.
Translate cart and checkout pages
If you want to translate your cart and checkout pages, go to the front-end of your store and add an item to your shopping cart.
Then, you can open your shopping cart by clicking the Translate Page option on the toolbar. From there, you can translate your cart just like you saw above.
Because WooCommerce already includes its own language packs, TranslatePress will try to automatically import the translation from WooCommerce if it’s available. You’ll then be able to edit WooCommerce’s existing translation in both the original language and any new languages that you’ve added:
You can use the same approach to translate the WooCommerce checkout page.
Translate menu items and widgets
To translate any menu items or widgets, you can use the same point and click approach.
First, launch the translation editor for any piece of content that includes the menu item or widget that you want to translate. Then, open the translation by hovering over the item that you want to translate and clicking the pencil icon:
Once you translate the element, your store will automatically use that translation for every instance of that element. For example, when you translate a menu item, your store will use that translation for every page where that menu appears.
Translate any other part of your site
You probably don’t need any more examples here, but the basic idea is that you can continue using this visual editor to translate all the content on your store, whether it comes from WooCommerce, your theme, another WordPress plugin, and so on.
4. Translate SEO details for multilingual SEO
If you plan to use multilingual SEO as a strategy to grow your store’s traffic, TranslatePress can also help you translate your store’s back-end SEO details to maximize your SEO efforts.
To do this, TranslatePress will integrate with your chosen SEO plugin.
For example, let’s say you use Yoast SEO for your store’s SEO. Once you set your SEO title and meta description for your store’s original language in Yoast SEO, TranslatePress will then let you translate those details from its editor.
TranslatePress also makes other SEO improvements, such as making your store’s XML sitemap multilingual.
Again, to access these features, you will need the SEO Pack add-on, which is available starting with the Personal license of the premium version of TranslatePress.
Once you install the premium version of TranslatePress, go to Settings → TranslatePress → Add-Ons and enable the SEO Pack add-on:
You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve already used your SEO plugin to add the SEO details in your store’s original language:
Then, open the translation editor for that piece of content. You can now use the drop-down in the sidebar to select and translate your URL slug and SEO metadata:
To translate your sitewide URL slugs (e.g. your product category base URL slugs), you can open the String Translation interface using the button pictured above:
From here, you can translate any slug on your website using the translation sidebar.
5. Configure your WooCommerce language switcher
In order to let shoppers choose their preferred languages, you’ll want to add a language switcher to your store that lets people pick from your store’s available languages.
By default, TranslatePress adds a floating language switcher in the bottom-right corner of your store:
However, you have the option to move the floating language switcher to a different spot or use a different approach:
- Menu item – you add a language switcher to your store’s navigation menu;
- Shortcode – you can manually place your language switcher anywhere on your site using a shortcode.
You’ll also be able to configure the content of your language switcher. For example, you can choose whether to show the full country name or the two-letter language code. Or, you can choose whether or not to show a country flag along with the language.
To configure your language switcher settings, go to Settings → TranslatePress and scroll down to the Language Switcher settings in the General tab:
How to add a WooCommerce language switcher to your menu
If you want to add a language switcher to your store’s menu, you’ll first want to configure its basic settings in the Language Switcher settings area that we detailed above.
Then, head to the regular WordPress menu management area to add your language switcher (Appearance → Menus):
- Select the navigation menu to which you want to add your language switcher;
- Locate the Language Switcher option in the Add menu items sidebar;
- Add the Current Language menu item as a new top-level menu. Or, if you only have two languages, you can also add the Opposite Language menu item, which will show the opposite language from the one that the user is currently browsing in;
- Add each individual language as a sub-menu item of the Current Language parent menu item. This will let visitors hover over the menu item to choose a specific language. If you use the Opposite Language menu item, you might not need to add these.
It should look something like this:
And then if you go to the front-end of your store, it should look like this:
Create your multilingual WooCommerce store today
If you have a WooCommerce store, going multilingual is a great way to:
- Create a better experience for your store’s existing shoppers by letting them shop in their preferred languages;
- Expand your store’s potential audience by reaching new shoppers with multilingual SEO or getting shared in different languages on social media.
For an easy, non-technical way to create a multilingual WooCommerce store, you can use the TranslatePress plugin.
If you only need to translate your store into one new language and you don’t care about multilingual SEO, you might be fine with the free version of TranslatePress at WordPress.org.
However, for a serious WooCommerce multilingual setup, you’ll probably want to purchase at least TranslatePress’s Personal license so that you get access to multilingual SEO features and support for unlimited languages.
Get started today and you’ll be up and running with a multilingual WooCommerce store in no time!
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