How to Translate Your Website Content to reach the global marketplace

In the content economy, it is essential to make your content available across all languages before your competitors do. To successfully localize content for international markets, you must consider not only to the translation of the words on the page but to areas such as:

  • Adapting images to appeal to local audiences.
  • Ensuring the website page layout supports the localized site language format.
  • Updating units of measurement, such as the date and time formats.
  • Including cultural norms and values from the target region.

To learn more about website localization check out our step-by-step guide and checklist.

In this article we look at how you can apply the modern technology to the most common CMSs powering websites and their content globally.

Options for translating a website

As well as it comes to translating a file there are several valid options for making your website content multilingual.

You can go with a human, or machine, or both.

  • Automated translation is a great solution if you need to quickly translate dozens and even hundreds of pages and you don’t have much time or many resources to get it done. However, it usually needs a human touch to deliver real finesse.
  • Human translators can do the job too. If you select them wisely, you’ll come up with the ones who know your subject and have the right skill to present it. But… content exchange and communication can seriously slow down the process.
  • Automated translation+human editing is the most popular choice nowadays. This approach combines the speed of the machine translation engine, the consistency provided by the translation memory, and the unique style and knowledge of a vetted language professional.  Utilizing it involves advanced language delivery platforms like Smartcat, that host automatic translation technology and offer the services of trusted translators all in one place.

Anyway, before you make your choice, let’s discuss the technical side of the question.

Website localization for popular content management systems

The most popular CMSs 2022

According to Kinsta the top 5 most popular CMS available are:

  • WordPress  - 59.8%
  • Joomla - 6.4%
  • Drupal - 4.6%
  • Magento - 2.5%
  • Other - 27%
Most popular CMSs 2022

Each of the above listed supports various means of content translation and localization and has some specifics we'll consider below.

But why won't you try and translate your website right now without any plugins or add-ons.

Just go to https://translator.smartcat.com/, type in the URL, select the languages and go.

Smartcat Website Translator

And it works simple as 1,23:

  1. Automatically translate individual pages or your entire website into multiple languages
  2. Review and improve the translation copy before pushing it live
  3. Embed a simple piece of javascript code to push it live. No need for back-end system integrations or manually uploading your translations

Looking for more? Then let's move on.

WordPress powers almost 60% of all the websites published globally, which is a massive market presence. There are several effective methods for translating WordPress websites, and here are some of the most widely used.

Smartcat integration for WPML

Smartcat integrates with WP in two ways:

Although you can use each of the mentioned plugins independently Smartcat gives you a bunch of undeniable benefits such as:

  • Once you set up the integration you don’t need to leave the WordPress platform to run the translation process.
  • The content is sent from WordPress to Smartcat and back automatically or semi-automatically (for Polylang).
  • You can choose to localize all content or just a part of it depending on the size of your website, time and resources.
  • You have access to all Smartcat features, such as Smartwords, 8 industry leading translation engines, translation memories, Editor, and Marketplace that are not available in the plugin.
  • You can go with machine or human translation at your choice.
  • You can improve the quality of the resulting texts yourself or with your colleagues without paying extra, if needed.
Smartcat WPML integration

GTranslate plugin for WordPress

The GTranslate plugin uses the Google Translate automatic translation engine to translate WordPress sites. GTranslate works in 103 available languages, which is almost 3 times less than Smartcat has, but still can make your website accessible to a very significant online audience.

TranslatePress WordPress plugin

TranslatePress gives you the ability to quickly translate an entire webpage all at once, including the output from shortcodes, forms, and page builders. It is also compatible with WooCommerce back-ends.

The second most popular website CMS, Joomla powers 6.7% of websites globally. Here are the most popular options for a Joomla translation plugin.

Smartcat integration for Joomla

The extension works by linking your Joomla website to a Smartcat account and pushing the content for translation upon request. After the translation is done it is automatically pulled back into Joomla.

Smartcat Joomla integration

Though using this integration requires a bit more effort compared to WPML connector, it is still beneficial in terms of languages, translation engines and the ability to hire professional translators without leaving the app.

GTranslate Joomla module

Similar to how other GTranslate modules work among common CMS systems, GTranslate for Joomla leverages the power of the Google Translate machine translation at its most basic, with the same quality reservations as we made above.

SEF Translate Joomla module

This module is a free version of the Joomla Translation extension. SEF Translate can also add chosen languages to the website sitemap, which will improve search engine visibility and SEO rankings for other languages.

JV Bing Translator

This module is the first to use Microsoft’s Bing Translate API. With JV Bing Translator front-end users can translate any page on your website into any supported language. Lacking some of the more robust localization features of other modules, this is still an excellent option for comprehensive language translation for Joomla.

Used by 4.6% of users worldwide, Drupal is a solid contender to be the #2 CMS of choice for website owners. There are several options when considering a Drupal translation management tool.

Smartcat translation module for Drupal

The extension that has recently been revamped connects to your Drupal website via the very popular Translation Management Tool (TMGMT).

Smartcat Drupal integration

This lets you enjoy the flexibility of TMGMT that lets you translate content from a wide variety of external and internal sources but not be limited by the number of automated scenarios or the choice of external translation providers.

Drupal Localization module

Included with Drupal 9 Core as part of the multilingual module categories, the Drupal Localization module automatically downloads and updates your translations via updates from the localize.drupal.org server. You can learn more about the recommended supporting modules and project information here.

GTranslate module for Drupal

Just like in the case of WordPress, the GTranslate Drupal plugin uses the Google Translate automatic translation service to translate Drupal sites. Same caveat here: Translation quality might be an increasingly pressing issue as your website grows as the module features machine translation only.

Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform that has a market share of 2.5%. There are several effective plugins and modules for translating websites built using Magento.

Smartcat integration for Magento

The Smartcat extension is an excellent way to translate Magento store content. Its user-friendly platform connects you and your company to a host of language, translation, and localization industry professionals to make sure your content is accurate and engaging.

Smartcat Magento integration

Improving and enhancing product descriptions with the Smartcat Editor will allow you to connect more efficiently with the customer and boost your sales.

AppJetty Language Translator for Magento

AppJetty leverages the Google Translate API but differentiates itself with ease of management of your translations. Features such as “Search & Translate” and “Mass Translation” give users a robust set of controls for ongoing seamless translation.

LingoTek | The Translation Network for Magento

LingoTek is a cloud-based translation technology that utilizes CAT tools to facilitate language translation. This extension gives you the ability to translate your e-commerce site easily in many different languages.

Store Switcher by Mageplaza for Magento

Store Switcher is designed to improve the visitor experience regardless of which country they are visiting your website from. Enabling features such as currency adaptation for source country and instant viewing of product information in a visitor’s native language gives your buyers a consistent experience across your website no matter what country they are browsing from.

Who said that only website owners are interested in reaching out to global markets? Clients want to shop, learn, and communicate across the globe too.

So now after we’ve considered localization options for the most popular CMSs, we will take a look at client-side options.

Let’s start with the list of most popular browsers.

Most popular browsers in 2022

Source

If you use one of the listed above the built-in features of your favorite web browser will let you translate almost any website content. Here’s how it works.

Google Chrome is by far the most straightforward browser for translating webpages automatically as you browse and it is no surprise with the popularity of the Google Translate service. To enable automatic translation, you must follow these steps first:

  1. Click the red up arrow in the top right of your browser window.
  2. Navigate to the “Settings” menu item.
  3. Scroll down to “Languages” and click on your selected language.
  4. Enable the “Offer to translate pages that aren’t in a language you can read” option.
  5. You will now be prompted to automatically translate any webpage that is not in your selected language with a single button click.

However you’re still limited to one translation engine. To improve translation quality you can always use the Smartcat Translator for Chrome, an extension that in addition will let you streamline your communication on forums and chats.

To Google Translate add-on

This add-on allows you to click on a context menu and send selected text to Google Translate. While this is limited to basic machine translation, it is a good option for many users as it works in Firefox too.

While Firefox does not have a native single-click translation option, you can add multiple languages to the browser via the “Language and Appearance” section of the “Settings” menu. However, there are add-ons for Firefox that will allow you to translate websites as needed. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Google Translator for Firefox add-on

The Google Translator for Firefox add-on is easy to install and enables the translation of any text to any supported language with a single click, similar to how Chrome handles automated website translation. Options are available to translate and replace selected text or to translate an entire page all at once.

Google Translate, ImTranslator, Dictionary, TTS extension

This is a newer add-on for Firefox that features some of the most robust options for translation and localization in the Firefox browser. Features of this add-on include an inline translator, dictionary, access to Google Translate, Microsoft Translator and on-the-fly localization options. You can learn more about this add-on here.

Mate Translate

Mate Translate is a convenient way to translate selected text as you browse the internet. Highlight text on any webpage to translate it. Mate currently supports 103 different languages. You can learn more about Mate Translate here.

Polyglot

Polyglot is a simple but effective Polyglot is a powerful translator for Safari that translates selected text into your browser  language. It’s also worth mentioning that it detects the source language automatically, and has synonyms selection, transliteration and shortcuts as helpful extras.

TranslateMe

TranslateMe’s mission is to empower you to read the entire web. With a simple to use click or button press option, you can translate entire webpages or selected text.

Translating websites on handheld devices

Today more than ever, people browse the web using their smartphones and tablets, so being able to translate webpages on the go no matter what device you are using is critical.

How to translate a website on an iPhone

iPhone users have a simple way to translate any webpage they find with Microsoft’s Translator, a free download from the Apple app store. Using Safari on yHow to translate a website in Firefox “Share” button and scroll left and tap the “More” button. You will now see a “Microsoft Translator” option which you should set to the “on” position, then tap “Done.”

When you are browsing a website in Safari on your iPhone that you want to translate tap the “share” button and then the “Microsoft Translate” button to have the entire webpage translated for you. While somewhat limited, this is a great option for translating webpages on the go via mobile.

How to translate a website on Android

Translating a webpage on any Android device is as simple as using Google Translate in the built-in Chrome browser. Open the Chrome app and when visiting a webpage in another language select “More” and then the target language at the bottom of the page. Chrome will offer to translate the webpage one time or to always translate it.

One tool for all your needs

Regardless of whether you want a simple translation of your non-native language while browsing the web or you want complex and comprehensive website localization for your CMS system, Smartcat offers a wide variety of options including

  • fully-featured integrations and connectors,
  • add-ons for automated translation,
  • professional human localization services,
  • Localization project management automation,
  • … and more.

Are you ready to go global? Go global with Smartcat!