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May 23, 2022

WPML allows you to use one of many professional translation services to translate your site. Learn how to send and receive content right from your website’s admin.

This page is about the how-to steps for translating your website. We recommend you also read the related page about professional translation via WPML. It explains how to choose the best translation service for your website, how to estimate the translation costs and more.

On This Page

Connecting Your Website to a Translation Service

Connecting WPML to a translation service takes only two easy steps:

  1. Select a translation service in WPML
  2. Get an API token from the service and enter it into WPML

First Time Installation

If you are installing WPML for the first time, you’ll be able to choose any translation service directly from the setup wizard:

  1. When you reach Step 4 – How do you want to translate your site? select the option I want to choose what to translate
  2. In the section that appears, select A Professional Translation Service and click to choose one.
Selecting a Translation Service during WPML setup

WPML Already Installed

If you already installed WPML and went through the setup wizard, you can find translation service options on the WPML Translation Management page, under the Translators tab.

Selecting a Translation Service when WPML is already configured

Entering the Service’s API Token

The last thing to do to connect your site to a translation service is to enter the API token. 

Each translation service has its own dedicated documentation page with instructions on how to get the API token. Use our translation service directory to find the service of your choice.

Getting Your Content Translated

Let’s start with steps to translate the content of your site, the actual posts and pages.

Hiding a Language During Translation

Before you even start translating you will want to make sure your visitors don’t see that your target language is still a work in progress.

When you hide a language, only those with access to the back-end can see the translated content. As a result, users on the front-end won’t see any broken content or incomplete translations while you are still working on it.

To hide a language, go to WPML Languages and scroll to the Hide languages section.

Hiding a language while translating it

How Much Are You Going to Pay for the Translation?

Before you decide to send your content for translation you will want an idea of how much it will cost. There are things you can do which will not only give you an idea of how much it will be but can help reduce your costs.

Translation services charge per word so you only need to know the number of words in your content and the service’s price per word. Multiplying these two numbers will give you your cost estimate. It’s an estimate because some translation services have ways of caching sentences you already paid translation for. This way, you pay for repeating sentences only once.

You can get an estimation of costs by using the WPML word count.

Go to WPML → Translation Management and select the items you want to translate. At the bottom, you can see a Word count estimate.

Getting the word count on the Translation Dashboard page

You can also get a word count for entire post types by clicking Word count for the entire site next to the estimate.

How to Send Content to the Translation Service

Use the WPMLTranslation Management page to send your first pages to the translation service:

  1. Select the content you want to translate and click the button to send selected content to the translation basket.
  2. Click the Translation Basket tab and click the Send all items for translation button. A notice will appear that items were sent to the translation service.
Translation Basket confirmation about sending contents for translation

Paying for the Translation

Once content has been submitted for translation, the translation service scans it and calculates its cost. Do not forget to go to the translation service website and pay for the work so that they can start working on it. Most translation services allow you to deposit additional funds, so you do not need to pay per job.

How to Receive Completed Translations

Translations can be delivered automatically or only when you manually click to fetch them. You can configure this on the WPML Settings page, under the Translation pickup mode section.

If your site is set to pull content automatically from the translation service, the translations will appear directly on your site. On the WPML Translation Management page, translated pages are marked with a green check icon.

Translated content is marked with a green check icon

If your site is not set to pull content automatically from the translation service, go to WPML Translation Management and click the Check status and get translations button.

Manually checking the translation status and getting the translations

Canceling Translation Jobs

Sometimes, you might need to cancel translation jobs but you cannot do this directly from WPML. You must contact the translation service and ask them for cancellation. Refer to your service’s dedicated documentation (find it on our directory page) for instructions on canceling translation jobs.

If you have set content to be delivered automatically, once the translation service cancels the job, the cancellation will be automatically synced with your site as well. 

If you have set to fetch content manually, you must go to the Translation Management page and click the Check status and get translations button.

As a result, WPML will remove all canceled jobs from the Jobs tab.

Keeping Translations Up To Date

If you edit a translated page, WPML will indicate that the translation needs to be updated. You can send your page for professional translation by following the same steps as before.

If your edits are minor or you prefer to do the update page yourself, see our documentation about updating translations without resubmitting them to a translation service.

Translating the Rest of Your Site

After translating your site’s content, you might still see some other texts that are not translated. They usually come from the theme, plugins, widgets, and similar places.

Here’s how to take care of them as well.

Identify and Send Other Site Texts for Translation

Anything that doesn’t fall inside posts, pages, or taxonomy goes into String Translation. You can use this module to send all missing texts to your translation service.

Go to WPML String Translation, select the strings you want to translate, and click the Add selected strings to translation basket button.

Sending strings for translation

Head to the Translation Basket tab where you can review your items before sending them to the translation service.

Translate Your Website’s Menu

Once you have received translations for your menu elements you will want to display them on the front-end. A quick way is by using the menu sync tool which keeps your menus in different languages synchronized.

When you head to WPML WP Menus Sync you can see which elements are translated and ready to be added. Click Sync to add them.

Translate Your Media

You can use the WPML Media Translation add-on to provide different images for different languages. It also allows you to translate the image meta texts.

Media posts can be translated just like regular posts. To translate the media text, go to WPML Translation Management and select Media as the type filter. You can now send your media posts to your translation service.

Setting Up Translation Notifications

If you would like the Translation Manager to receive email notifications when a translation job is completed, go to WPML → Settings. Click the Translation Notifications tab. On this page, you can choose the frequency of the notifications.

Setting up translation notifications

If you do not see the Translation Notifications tab, set up a Translation Manager to be in charge of your site’s translations.

Prioritizing Your Translations

To ensure your most important content (including strings) is translated first, you can add priority status to your translations. It allows you to keep track of what needs translating next.

When you edit a post or page, a Translation Priority option is available in the Language box.

You can then filter your content on WPML Translation Management by importance.

Filtering content by translation priority

What If Your Received Translations Are Not Appearing

If you know that a translation job is complete but is still labeled as “in progress” then there are three options you can try:

  • Head to WPML Translation Management and click the Check status and get translations button.
  • Go to WPML → Translation Management and click the Jobs tab. On the list of jobs, find the one you need and click the Check status icon. You can find this icon in the Actions column.
  • Edit the page in question (in original language) and resave the page.  Make sure you don’t actually do any changes before saving.