What WordPress Website Translator should you use? None of them. Here’s Why.

By English Spanish Media | December 8, 2021 | Insights

When it comes time to translate your WordPress website, there is an incredible number of translation plugins to choose from. With more Spanish speakers in the United States than ever, businesses are deciding to invest in bilingual web pages and full-site translations. Based on their cost and availability, it may be tempting to go with a plugin to do this. However, there are some severe downsides that must be considered. Every website is different and installing a quick automatic translation plugin is a fair step. Nonetheless, for your business or organization, ESL (English as a second language) speakers need more than AI machine translations. Consider the following when developing your website or translating a page to Spanish. 

Phillips, Josian. “The Downfalls of Using Auto-Translation WordPress Website Plugins.” Brightlines Translation, 21 Jan. 2019, www.brightlines.co.uk/languages/the-downfalls-of-using-auto-translation-wordpress-website-plugins/.

A good Spanish translation can make
all the difference for your organization.

1. Automatic Spanish translation is limited

Automatic translation is a great way to pass a freshman year Spanish class, but for something as important as your business, a native Spanish speaker, not a machine, is necessary. A native Spanish speaker can easily tell if a page has been given its due diligence or if it has simply been left to machine learning. Other than grammatical errors, image the context, flavor, and voice missing from a translated page. An automatic translation can also leave out key imagery, menu items, popups, or anything else that isn’t standard HTML text content.

2. Your UX/ UI quality is affected by standard plugins

You’ve spent (or will be spending) hours on hours pondering your website. Every single detail matters, because every single detail helps your audience trust and eventually become a customer. A problem is that the translation overlays available from many translation plugins leave a lot to be desired. They may simply consist of an overlay with flags and the language names. This can obstruct menus, become overwhelming with many languages, and be lost within other elements. If you want your language translation to more properly reflect your brand and be more front-and-center, a free translation plugin is not for you.

3. SEO Killer

A big advantage of a translated page is your ability to appear in organic search results for that selected language. A translation plugin can change text, but there are severe limitations in making that translation page work for you. It takes a native language marketing expert to be able to research important keywords and create the snippets, URL, and content hierarchy necessary to rank. A translated page without correct SEO is like building a beautiful house and then building a 50-foot brick wall around it so no one knows it’s there. Technical SEO happens on and off the content page, and only a bilingual expert can help on both fronts.

4. No cultural or linguistic relevance

Cultural relevance is the difference between showing and telling. A human-translated page can use relevant language, cultural insight, and industry terminology that will never be present in a machine translation. Linguistic relevance is what develops your brand’s voice, tone and expertise. Your goal shouldn’t be to just have Spanish on your site, it should be to communicate a specific message to your audience.

5. Translating is not copywriting

Translating should be used for bank statements or legal documents, but not so much for developing your brand. As you may expect, a machine translation will feel emotionless, bland, and non-relevant to your actual living, breathing audience. An experienced bilingual copywriter can improve your customer acquisition and position your brand not as a translated brand, but as THEIR brand. For nonprofits and conscious brands, reach out with clarity and establish a real connection from that first-page visit.

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