Options for Building a Multilingual Site with WordPress – Free Plugins to Download

Creating and managing a multilingual WordPress site is easier than you might think, thanks to the available plugins. With free and premium options available, you could begin translating your site into another language almost instantly. While these plugins won’t translate your content for you, some of them do provide assistance for working with professional translators. However, they do a good job of making it easy to manage the different versions of your content, with varying degrees of success.

Whether you want to offer different versions of your content, or your whole site, including the admin area, in different languages, these plugins can help you achieve your multilingual goals, adding another entry to the list of good reasons to use WordPress for your site.


The WordPress Multilingual Plugin, WPML, is the most popular and well-accomplished plugin for creating a WordPress site in multiple languages. However, it’s not a free option, but with prices starting from a little as $29 for one year, covering use on an unlimited number of sites, it should be affordable for anyone serious about running a site in more than one language.

Multilingual WPML

The basic version allows you to easily create multiple versions of your posts in the different languages you want to cater for. The plugin provides a translation editor for making the process of translating the content yourself straightforward enough. The original version of the content can be viewed alongside the editor window, where the translated copy is being entered to prevent the need to screen switch back and forth.

If you need assistance carrying out the translation, the Translation Management section of the plugin allows you to connect with recommended translators. You can post a job requesting the services of a translator and hire them, all from within your WordPress admin dashboard.

The CMS version of the plugin allows the easy translation of the rest of your site and not just the content. This includes the widgets, theme and plugin text as well as any navigational features of the site. When a user switches language, your whole site has the potential to be displayed in their chosen language and not just the content.

WPML also has a free ‘glue’ plugin that allow you to translate a WooCommerce store into multiple languages. While the plugin is free it requires the installation of WPML.

This plugin is well supported and the WPML support team will respond to queries within 24 hours between Monday to Friday. Updates are released regularly ensuring compatibility with the latest versions of WordPress.

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Multilingual nLingual

nLingual is a free plugin that has only recently been released. It aims to offer a simple, yet flexible way of creating and managing a WordPress site in multiple languages. The nLingual plugin opts for the approach of creating separate posts for each language rather than trying to merge them together in one single post.

This has many benefits as the different language versions can be written and worked on by different authors, as they are independent of each other. However, posts can be synchronised using this plugin in order to prevent total duplication of the work involved in setting up posts and their attributes. This means the categories and tags applied to a post, as well as the status or page template used can be synchronised across all language versions of the same post.

There are three options for handling the different language content with this plugin and they consist of:

  • Subdomain method (e.g. fr.mydomain.com)
  • Path Prefix method (e.g. mydomain.com/fr/)
  • Get/POST arguments (e.g. ?lang=fr) as well as detecting the visitors browser language

This looks like a promising plugin that is definitely worthy of consideration when looking at how to build a multilingual site with WordPress.

Get nLingual »

Multilingual Press

Multilingual ML Press Free

This is a freemium plugin that can be had for free from WordPress.org or purchased as the pro version from MarketPress.com. It works with WordPress Multisite and allows you to connect multiple sites in different languages to provide multilingual support.

Once you’ve connected two or more sites, you can begin creating different language versions of your content across the network. Posts can be linked with their corresponding post on the other language site, once the plugin has been installed. Once linked, the other versions of the post can be viewed on the ‘Edit Post’ page allowing you to compare and reference the different versions. Should you decide to stop using this plugin, your sites will be unlinked but will still function as standalone sites, allowing you to leave then plugin without losing access to your data and content.

If you need more features, you can upgrade to the pro version, which is available from $75. The pro version includes support for custom post types, editing without the need to switch sites, and the ability to set a preferred language for the backend that is independent of the language used for the front end.

Multilingual ML Press

If you are happy to go down the WordPress Multisite route then this plugin looks like a great way to manage multilingual versions of the same content using this functionality of WP.

Get Multilingual Press »


This is popular free plugin with over 900,000 downloads and counting. The plugin comes with support for many languages already built in, although it is possible to add your own for unlimited support.

Different version of posts in multiple languages is supported and so is translation of the WordPress admin area. Once you’ve defined which languages your site is going to use, the post editor is updated to include a tab for each option. These are displayed next to the Visual and Text tabg buttons on the WordPress post editor.

Multilingual qTranslate

This means it all takes to begin entering the other language version of a post is to click on the specific tab for that language. While this is simple to get to grips with, it does mean that multiple users and translators can’t really work on the same post at the same time, as they can with other plugins that use different methods for storing the alternate versions.

The plugin also allows you to connect with premium translation services from directly within your WordPress admin area. This makes it a one stop shop for creating and managing multiple language versions of your site’s content.

Get qTranslate »


Creating a multilingual WordPress site, whether it’s a blog, content site or even a WooCommerce powered online store is easier than you might think with these premium and free multilingual plugins.

Even if you don’t have the ability to translate your content, some of these plugins such as WPML and qTranlslte make it very easy to get in touch with professional translators from within your WordPress site, through the plugin control panel.

With many approaches to take, from linking multisite networks, creating different language versions within a post or connecting different posts within a single site, there should be a plugin that suits your preferred method of working and your available budget.

If you can afford it, WPML is the best option, thanks to its extensive set of features, premium level support and on-going development and improvement.

Joe Fylan

Joe Fylan

Joe has been using WordPress for many years and spends his time creating content for a wide range of websites and blogs. If you need compelling content for your blog, visit his freelance services portfolio now.

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6 thoughts on “Options for Building a Multilingual Site with WordPress – Free Plugins to Download”

  1. I am actually right in the middle of working on my first multi-language WordPress site, I attempted to use a few plugins to handle this before I abandoned them to do a WordPress Multi Site approach. I didn’t quite need something that would translate for me, and I need to ability to use one portfolio plugin for multiple portfolios. Luckily the company I am doing this for has people who can write the content in the separate languages. So far it is working out fantastic.

  2. i’m using plugin that’s not on the list. transposh. it’s really easy to configure. the translation results automatically obtained from google translate. I know sometimes the results are not good. but hey, we can edit the translation :).

  3. For smaller websites, with only a few pages, an easier option is to create pages for the relevant content, and then use a plugin like Ubermenu ( http://bit.ly/1as2oZ6 ) to direct users to the relevant language. It also has the advantage of being responsive and easier for users to see, compared to the traditional flags in the corner of a site. There’s a tutorial at easylanguageswitcher,com specifically for this.

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