Updated: Jun 06, 2023 By: Dessign Team

How to Turn WooCommerce Multilingual and Increase International Sales

Struggling with how to create a multilingual WooCommerce store? Or not sure if you even need to make WooCommerce multilingual in the first place?

Going multilingual is a great way to improve the user experience on your store and reach new customers. In a vacuum, the benefits of translating your store are pretty clear.

However, you might be worried about the complexity or time investment involved in making your store multilingual. Will you need to translate everything from scratch? Is the technical process of creating a multilingual store complex?

While creating a multilingual WooCommerce store can be complex, it doesn't have to be.

In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to create a multilingual WooCommerce store without needing any special technical knowledge and without needing to invest tons of time in setting everything up.

Sound good? Let's dig in. But first, let's discuss a few benefits of creating a multilingual WooCommerce store, in case you're still on the fence…

Three Main Benefits of a Multilingual WooCommerce Store

In the next section, we'll show you a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a WooCommerce multilanguage store.

But first, let's quickly summarize the main benefits of translating WooCommerce into one or more new languages.

1. Create a Better User Experience

The first big advantage of creating a multilingual WooCommerce store is that it offers a much better user experience for your customers. You can check the best free translation WordPress plugins.

Even if your store is currently only available in a single language, you probably still have a multilingual audience. But right now, every customer is forced to use your store's default language, which may or may not match their preferred language.

But here's the thing:

Most people would much rather shop in their native language if possible. In a survey of European Union countries commissioned by the EU, Gallup found that 90% of shoppers prefer to use their native language when shopping online.

That's not exactly a mind-blowing stat, but it does drive home the point. By translating your content into new languages, you can match those people's preferences and improve their shopping experiences.

What's more, 42% of shoppers just flat out refuse to use a store if it's not available in their native languages, which brings us to the next point…

2. Open Your Store to New Markets

Beyond creating a better experience for your existing customers, creating a multilingual WooCommerce store also helps you reach more customers in the first place.

As we shared in the previous section, there's a notable proportion of people who won't use your store if it's not available in their preferred languages.

What's more, translating your store can also help you reach entirely new markets, such as expanding into a new country.

If you sell digital products, it's a no-brainer to expand into as many markets as possible because you can “deliver” products to anywhere in the world. And if you sell physical products, you can still expand as long as you have a way to reliably ship to that location.

Both benefits have the end result of creating a bigger pool of customers for your store to connect with.

3. Increase Traffic With Multilingual SEO

Tying with the point above, creating a multilingual WooCommerce store also lets you boost your store's organic traffic via multilingual SEO.

With a single-language store, you can only rank for relevant keywords in one language. However, there are still lots of people out there searching for exactly what you offer…just in different languages.

When you translate your store's content, you can start ranking for those queries in the new languages. 

If you choose the right WordPress translation plugin, you'll also be able to translate other important details such as SEO titles, meta descriptions, URL slugs, and so on so that you can optimize your content for each language.

How to Create a Multi-Language WooCommerce Store (Without Code)

Now that you know the benefits of making WooCommerce multilingual, let's get into the actual nuts and bolts of how you can translate your store's content into one or more new languages.

To set this up, you can use the freemium TranslatePress WordPress translation plugin. This plugin lets you translate 100% of your store's content, including the following:

  • Single product pages
  • Store listing pages (including category listing, search, and so on)
  • Cart page
  • Checkout page
  • My Account page
  • …everything

You'll also be able to translate non-WooCommerce content, such as your blog or content from another plugin that you're using.

You can either translate your content manually from scratch – either yourself or by hiring a freelancer or translation service. Or, you can use automatic machine translation from Google Translate or DeepL to generate your site's translations.

Even if you use automatic translation, you'll still be able to manually edit and refine those translations.

The free version of the plugin at WordPress.org will let you translate your store into one new language, with Google Translate support for automatic translation. The premium version adds support for unlimited languages, DeepL automatic translation, improved multilingual SEO, and more.

Here's how to use TranslatePress to set up a WooCommerce store in multiple languages…

1. Fully Set Up Your Store In Its Original Language

Before you can create a multilingual store, you first need to fully set up your store in its original language.

If you already have a functioning store that you just want to add languages to, you're good to go and you can move on to the next step.

But if you don't have your store yet, you'll want to make sure you have all the basics:

  • Purchase hosting and install the WordPress software. You can use hosts like SiteGround, DreamHost, or Bluehost to easily make that happen.
  • Choose a WooCommerce theme to control the design of your store. To see some great options, check out these collections of the best free WooCommerce themes and overall best WooCommerce themes. We'll use the Virtual Store theme for this tutorial.
  • Install WooCommerce and configure key settings for details such as shipping, payments, and so on.
  • Add all of your products in the original language of your store.

Here's what our store looks like in the default language (English):

Virtual Store WooCommerce WordPress theme

For a more detailed look, you can follow the full step-by-step guide to making a WooCommerce store.

2. Install TranslatePress and Choose Languages

Once you have a working WooCommerce store in your original language, you're ready to use TranslatePress to translate WooCommerce into one or more new languages.

To get started, make sure to install and activate the TranslatePress plugin. You can use the free version at WordPress.org to get started. Or, you can purchase and install the premium version right away.

Once you activate the plugin, go to Settings → TranslatePress in your dashboard to choose the languages for your multilingual WooCommerce store:

  • Default Language – the current language in which your store's content exists.
  • All Languages – one or more new languages into which you want to translate your store's content. Again, the free version of TranslatePress lets you add one new language while the premium version supports unlimited languages.

In addition to choosing the language, you can also choose the specific locale. For example, you could choose between Spanish for people in Spain or Spanish for people in Mexico (or both!).

For example, if your store's content currently exists in English and you want to translate it into Spanish (Spain), you'd configure it like so:

Install TranslatePress and Choose Languages

3. Set Up Automatic Translation (Optional)

This step is 100% optional. If you'd rather translate all of your content from scratch, you can just skip ahead to the next step.

However, if you have a large store and you want to save time when setting up your translations, you might prefer to generate your store's translations using automatic machine translation.

Even if you use machine translation, you'll still be able to 100% edit the automatically generated translations. It can just be helpful to have the machine service generate your site's baseline translations, as you don't need to translate every little detail from scratch.

If you do want to use automatic translation, TranslatePress supports two different services:

  • Google Translate API – you can use this with the free version of TranslatePress.
  • DeepL – you need the TranslatePress Business license to access DeepL support.

TranslatePress doesn't charge you anything extra to use the translation services. However, you might need to pay for the service directly depending on how much content you need to translate.

Both services let you translate 500,000 characters per month for free (around 100,000 words). However, if your monthly translation needs are higher than that, you'll need to pay directly to Google or DeepL.

To control your budget, TranslatePress includes a feature to limit how many characters your site will translate per day.

To set up automatic translation, go to the Automatic Translation tab in the TranslatePress settings area. Enable the setting, choose your preferred service, and then set up the API connection:

Set Up Automatic Translation (Optional)

For help generating the API key that you need to connect to each service, you can consult the TranslatePress documentation.

4. Translate Your Store's Content (or Edit Automatic Translations)

Now, you're ready to start working with your store's content:

  • If you didn't enable automatic translation, you can add all of your translations from scratch.
  • If you set up automatic translation, you can fully edit the translations that the service generated.

Either way, you'll use the same interface – TranslatePress' visual translation editor. 

This editor works a lot like the native WordPress theme Customizer. You'll see a live preview of your site on the right and a sidebar on the left. In the sidebar, you can add/edit translations and adjust a few other settings.

To select the content that you want to translate, all you need to do is click on it.

To access the translation editor, open the post, page, product, etc. that you want to translate on the frontend of your site, and then click the Translate Page option on the WordPress toolbar:

Translate Your Store's Content (or Edit Automatic Translations)

This will open the visual editor. Again, to translate anything, all you need to do is hover over the content on the live preview and click the pencil icon. Then, add/edit the translation in the sidebar:

Translate Your Store's Content (or Edit Automatic Translations) continue

You can use this point-and-click approach to translate 100% of your store's content, but let's go through how to translate some of the most important details on your store.

How to Translate WooCommerce Products

To translate a WooCommerce product, open the product on the frontend of your store and then launch the TranslatePress editor.

To translate text content, hover over the product details and click the pencil icon:

How to Translate WooCommerce Products

If needed, you can use the same approach to translate your product images. Just hover over the image and click the pencil icon. Then, you can choose a new image from your Media Library.

You'll also be able to translate the image title and alt text if applicable.

How to Translate WooCommerce Store Listing Pages

If you've already translated the single product page for a product, TranslatePress will automatically detect that and use the same translations when it shows the product on your store listing pages.

However, you might want to translate other details on your store listing pages, such as filters or titles. Or, you can also translate interface details, such as sales badges.

To do that, open the TranslatePress editor for the store listing page. Then, use the point-and-click approach to translate key details:

How to Translate WooCommerce Store Listing Pages

How to Translate WooCommerce Cart Page

To translate the WooCommerce cart page, you can use the exact same approach as above. However, there's one tricky detail that's worth noting:

There are actually two “states” that you need to translate for your cart page:

  • Empty cart 
  • Cart with products added

To begin, open an empty shopping cart and launch the TranslatePress editor. Then, translate the content for the empty cart state:

How to Translate WooCommerce Cart Page

Then, add one of your store's products to the cart on the frontend of your site and relaunch the TranslatePress editor.

Now, you'll be able to translate the content that appears when a shopper has one or more items in their carts. As with the store listing page, TranslatePress will automatically detect the translations for the products themselves – you only need to translate the cart content.

How to Translate WooCommerce Cart Page continue

How to Translate WooCommerce Checkout Page

To translate the checkout page, make sure there's an item in your shopping cart and then start the actual checkout process on your store.

Once you've opened the checkout page, you can launch the TranslatePress editor to translate all of the content that appears on the checkout page:

How to Translate WooCommerce Checkout Page

How to Translate WooCommerce My Account Page

You can use the exact same approach to translate the WooCommerce My Account page. Just open the page on the frontend of your site and launch the TranslatePress editor to translate all of the content:

How to Translate WooCommerce My Account Page

How to Translate SEO Details

If you want your store to really benefit from multilingual SEO, TranslatePress also lets you translate all of your store's SEO details including:

  • SEO title
  • Meta description
  • Sitewide URL slugs
  • Social media share information
  • Image alt text (including for product images)

For the SEO translations, you can translate content from popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and Rank Math.

To access these features, you'll need the TranslatePress SEO Pack add-on, which is available on the Personal license and above.

Once you activate the SEO Pack add-on, you can use the drop-down in the translation editor to translate most SEO details.

To translate sitewide URL slugs (e.g. product category base slugs), you can click the option to open the String Translation interface.

5. Configure Your Store's Language Switcher

Once you've translated your store's content, the last piece of the puzzle is to configure the frontend language switcher that your customers will use to choose their preferred languages.

By default, TranslatePress adds a floating language switcher that appears in the bottom-right corner of your store:

Configure Your Store's Language Switcher

However, you can move this to a different location or you can disable it and use a different approach, such as adding it to your header or footer navigation menu. You can also manually place the language switcher anywhere on your site using a shortcode.

To access the main language switcher settings, go to Settings → TranslatePress. Then, scroll down in the General settings to find the Language Switcher settings:

Configure Your Store's Language Switcher continue

If you want to add your language switcher to a navigation menu, you can set that up by going to Appearance → Menus:

Configure Your Store's Language Switcher final

Make WooCommerce Multilingual Today!

Creating a WooCommerce multilanguage store is a great way to offer a better experience for your existing shoppers, open your store to new markets/customers, and improve your organic visibility with multilingual SEO.

For the easiest way to set up a multilingual WooCommerce store, you can use a plugin like TranslatePress. 

Once you have your store in its original language, you can easily translate it into one or more new languages using a visual interface, along with support for automatic machine translation if you'd like a helping hand.

Set up your multilingual store today and start enjoying the benefits!

If you want to translate another type of WordPress site, you can also follow this general guide to creating a multilingual WordPress website.