In North America, language translation on websites isn’t terribly common; most websites are in a single language representative of the large demographic of English speakers. But around the world, there is a much larger demand for website translation, and even within North America, there are regulations that businesses and organizations must follow which require translation options. Canada, for example, requires French in many cases due to its status as an official language. Fun fact: every single Canadian has spent breakfast reading both the English and French sides of the cereal box.
Up until 2019, a common method for adding easy translations to a website was to use the Google Translate Widget. It was easy, free, and automatically translated the page on the fly. But if you follow that link, you’ll notice this widget has been discontinued. But you do have other options!
Where to Get Free Website Translation
Hopefully, your primary website visitors use Chrome, Edge, or Safari as their main browsers. These browsers include native translation and will prompt the user to select their chosen language without any extra effort on your part as the website owner. Google does offer a translation extension that can be used on other browsers, such as Brave or Firefox. This means you do not need to make changes to your site to offer native translation.
At the moment, if your demographic primarily speaks a single language, this is probably the route you want to take, unless you have to meet government regulations due to the nature of your organization and the country you live in. In which case, then you want a more robust solution and a budget to match.
Where to Get Paid Website Translation
If your translation needs are greater, you will be looking at a paid service. And the cost will vary depending on the size of your site, the amount of content, and the service you use. The following are the solutions Kanopi has the most direct experience with.
Cloud Translation API
Google’s recommended alternative to their former Google Translate Widget is their cloud translation service, Cloud Translation API. It’s affordable and supported by both WordPress and Drupal with the appropriate extensions. There are a few plan options to choose from, letting you decide what’s best for your site. While a developer can help integrate this solution into your site, you will also need to create your own account for your company and work with the Cloud Translation API sales team to estimate your monthly costs.
Using a Translation Service and/or Premium Extensions
Short of having employees who can do all your translation, a translation service allows you to submit your source content with language requirements and receive translated copies in return. If you need to alter the content of your pages based on language, for example switching from imperial measurements to metric, this is likely something you want to consider.
The modules (Drupal) and plugins (WordPress) needed to make this work can help automate some of the actual translation. Yet depending on how many languages are supported, some organizations find they need at least one dedicated role to help manage and review these translation processes.
There’s a huge array of services to choose from, and the right solution will depend on your organization’s needs. Meanwhile, here are the premium extensions Kanopi recommends for adding language translation to your website.
Use WPML with their Automatic Translation. This plugin will also work with various translation services if needed. Cost-wise, you are looking at $99 per year, plus the optional translation service you might use.
TMGT allows you to work with a variety of translation services depending on what Drupal version your site is on. Price will vary with your choice of service.
Lingotek is another integration that Kanopi has used frequently. It’s a combination of an extension and translation service. Price will vary according to your needs.
Get website translation and go global!
If language translation is right for your site, start scouting your translation service options. Start with looking at the Cloud Translation API, then move on to researching the premium plugins if you need something a little more hands-on. And as always, Kanopi would love to hear from you if you’re looking for a développeuse (that’s French for developer).