The Internet has given every business and individual the chance to reach a global audience. But…language hasn’t quite caught up. Until we launch the unified galactic alliance and adopt one interstellar language, we’re stuck being unable to easily communicate with each other.
Scrybs WordPress Multilingual Plugin aims to make that communication a lot easier. It allows you to translate your website into 62 different languages, each easily available by a built-in language switcher.
But, it’s not just about allowing you to manually translate your site. Though you can do it manually, the Scrybs WordPress Multilingual Plugin also allows you to automatically use machine translation or make use of Scrybs professional human translation services.
So essentially, you can have your WordPress site professionally or automatically translated, and then all that content is integrated into your site, constantly synchronized, and available via a language switcher button.
As someone who has previously manually gone through a .po file to translate a site, I know firsthand that this will save you a ton of time (and lots and lots of aggravation). Tabbing back and forth between the site and the .po file, trying to find the proper context for the translation. Then trying to import the translation…it’s, well, rage-inducingly annoying. Scrybs promises a better way.
So, can the Scrybs WordPress Multilingual Plugin actually accomplish this? Let’s dig in and find out:
Features and Benefits
- Automatic translation – machine translation into 62 different languages
- One dashboard for all translations – easily edit translations in a .po style editor cloud interface
- Automatic synchronization – if you change the content in your default language, it will automatically sync the translated versions
- Unlimited use – one license lets you use the plugin on unlimited websites with unlimited languages
- SEO-optimized translations – translations are given clean URLs that are easily crawlable by search engines. Easy to rank in international search.
- Optimized for speed – translations are cached to run just as fast as your regular site.
- Compatibility – the plugin works with any theme
- Professional human translation – you can get professional human translations done through Scrybs’ translation service
Scrybs is great for anyone trying to reach a multilingual audience. Because it’s SEO-optimized, it’s also great for expanding your website into different markets. E.g. if the English language competition is tough, you can still grab search rankings in Germany, Vietnam or any other country.
Installing Scrybs WordPress Multilingual Plugin
After uploading the plugin to your site, you’ll need to activate it with your API key (available in your Scrybs website panel):
Inputting the API key will unlock the Scrybs admin panel.
On the admin panel you’ll be able to select which of the 62 available languages you want to target:
One tiny thing that was a bit odd is that, even after selecting my default language as English when I entered my API key, the language names are all in their native language, which made it a bit hard to find the languages I wanted. This makes sense for the external site, but not really for the internal interface.
Because I’m an American living in Vietnam, I chose Vietnamese and Spanish as my target languages.
Next, you’ll need to enable or disable two features:
The first is automatic translation. If you enable this checkbox, Scrybs will automatically translate your content into the target languages. Because I don’t want to go through translating everything myself, I’ll leave this option enabled.
The next is automatic redirects. It allows you to automatically redirect people to different language pages of your site based on their browser language. You can enable or disable this. Keep in mind that this won’t catch everyone – from personal experience in Vietnam, lots of Vietnamese users have English set as their browser language despite only speaking Vietnamese.
The rest of the settings deal with the built-in language switcher button:
You can choose how to display the language names and if you want it to be a dropdown menu or a full list of all the languages.
You can also choose whether or not to use a flag and which flags should be used. Because I’m petty, I changed the flag for the English language to be an American flag, but you can leave it as the Union Jack (the default) :)
Finally, you can choose where to display the language switcher:
By default, it will sit in the bottom right corner of the user’s viewable screen. It will stay there even as the user scrolls.
I think this default placement is pretty nice, but you can also choose to add it to your nav menu, as a widget, a shortcode, or add it to your source code. Basically, you have plenty of options to move it around.
That’s it for the basic configuration – let’s see how it looks on the site!
How Translations Look on a Live Site
I found this cool Wikipedia article on snail racing to use as an example. Here’s how it looks in default English. You can also see what the default language switcher looks like. I clicked to expand the language menu – by default, it only displays the current language:
When I select Vietnamese on the language switcher, I see this:
It translates everything, including the site name and navigation menu. For some reason, the plugin missed the post title (which it didn’t on other translations).
The URLs created by Scrybs are very clean. It just appends a “/vi” to the base domain name. So “yoursite.com” becomes “yoursite.com/vi” for the Vietnamese version. All the other links are rewritten to automatically go to the chosen language, so search engines should be able to easily crawl your translated site. Clean and SEO-optimized.
Here’s what it looks like for Spanish, which again is created by just appending “/es” to the URL:
The translation process is very clean. It doesn’t break the design or give you weird URLs. Everything looks totally normal – just in a different language.
Editing Translations at the Scrybs Website
As I mentioned, Scrybs is also a professional translation service. The plugin fully integrates with that service and connects to the Scrybs website. At the Scrybs website, you can manually edit translations in a .po editor type interface, or request professional translations (which cost money, of course).
You can always access the Scrybs site by clicking on the link in the plugin settings panel:
In the Scrybs website, you can view and edit all your translations by language. This includes the URL for the translated page as well as meta tags (if you have them), which is a really nice touch for SEO.
So when I click on the Vietnamese tab, I see all my translations:
On the left, I can navigate to the specific page I want to view text for. Then, I can accept the machine translation or edit it. Scrybs will mark the translation to let you know if it was done automatically or by a human.
Because larger translations might take some time to process, you can also see the completion percentage for your translations by clicking on a menu button at the top:
The website interface is definitely easy to navigate. To edit text, all you have to do is click in a text box and type. I think anyone should be able to handle it.
Also, the fact that the translations are viewable by each individual page makes it really easy to find context for the words, which is essential for a good translation.
Are translations free?
You get some translations included in the plugin price (more on that below!). But, after that, you might need to buy credits to continue translating.
Note – don’t worry – Scrybs does not double dip with their translating word counts. Even though the text in a single post might appear on several pages (e.g. the home page, post page, category archives, etc), Scrybs will only count those words once.
What about professional, human translations?
You can also get professionally done human translations through Scrybs’ site. You need to manually request them, though.
There are plans to make this feature more integrated with the plugin, but, for now, machine translation is the only automatic option.
Scrybs WordPress Multilingual has a 15-day free trial for you to test out the plugin and get a feel for things. After that, Scrybs uses a SaaS style pricing structure. There are three plans:
- Startup $69 / year – 1 website, 100 pages, 3 languages, 50k translated words
- Business $139 / year – 3 websites, unlimited pages, 5 languages, 200k translated words
- Enterprise $249 / year – unlimited websites, pages and languages, 500k translated words
Scrybs WordPress Multilingual really does make translation a helluva lot easier. The automatic translation is done via machine, so it won’t be perfect. But, it’s easy to go back in and manually correct any mistakes. Or, you can always have Scrybs do a professional translation.
They also mentioned to me that they’re considering adding a proofreading service. So, you could have it machine translated, and then just pay a small fee to have a native speaker go through and correct any machine errors.
The way the plugin connects with Scrybs external dashboard is very slick, and the .po style editor in the Scrybs dashboard is easy to use.
If you want a multilingual WordPress site, I don’t think there are any options out there which come close to reaching this level of automation and control.