If you want to create a multilingual eCommerce store, learning how to automatically translate WooCommerce can save you a ton of time and money.
Rather than painstakingly translating each product details from scratch, you can use machine translation to create your baseline translations and then go back and manually refine them as needed.
In this post, you’ll learn how to automatically translate your WooCommerce store using the Google Translate API and a free WordPress translation plugin.
You’ll be able to create static, SEO-friendly translations for each product and shop page. And if needed, you can also go back and manually edit any of your machine translations using a simple visual translation interface.
Ready to start translating? Let’s dig in…
How to Automatically Translate WooCommerce
To automatically translate a WooCommerce store, you can use the free version of the TranslatePress plugin.
TranslatePress lets you translate your entire WooCommerce store using automatic machine translation powered by the Google Translate API or DeepL. It will then store those translations locally and let you manually edit them using a simple visual translation management interface.
To demonstrate how to automatically translate WooCommerce, we’ve set up a demo site using the Storefront theme and the WooCommerce demo data, but TranslatePress will work with any WooCommerce theme and any WooCommerce extensions that you’re using.
To get started, we’ll take you through how to automatically translate your WooCommerce store using the free version of TranslatePress and the Google Translate API.
Then, we’ll highlight some other features that can help you create a successful multilingual WooCommerce store.
1. Choose Your Languages
Once you’ve installed and activated the free TranslatePress plugin at WordPress.org, your first step is to choose the languages you want to offer on your WooCommerce store.
To do that, go to Settings → TranslatePress.
First, use the Default Language drop-down to indicate the language that your store currently exists in.
Then, use the All Languages settings to select the language(s) into which you want to automatically translate your store’s content.
For example, to translate an English-language store into Spanish, you’d set it up like this:
The free version of TranslatePress lets you translate your store’s content into one language, while the premium version adds support for unlimited languages.
Feel free to peruse all the other general settings (like customizing the language switcher) and make sure to click “Save Changes” once you’re done.
2. Select Your Automatic Translation Service
To enable automatic translation in TranslatePress, go to the Automatic Translation tab and select Yes from the drop-down.
This will reveal an additional list of settings.
First, choose your Translation Engine.
TranslatePress supports two different services that you can use to automatically translate WooCommerce:
- Google Translate API – this is the same translation API that powers Google Translate.
- DeepL – many people consider DeepL’s translations to be more accurate.
TranslatePress lets you use Google Translate for free, while DeepL is available in the premium versions of TranslatePress.
While TranslatePress itself doesn’t charge you to use Google Translate, Google charges $20 per 1 million characters that you translate with the API.
At the same time, Google gives you a $10 credit per month, which lets you translate ~500k characters per month for free, which should be enough for most WooCommerce stores.
It’s important to understand that TranslatePress only has to translate your content one time, which helps keep your costs down, significantly.
So if your store has 1 million characters, you’d pay ~$20 as a one-time fee to the translation API to translate that content. Then, there are no ongoing fees (beyond translating any new content that you add to your store).
To further control your budget, TranslatePress lets you set a maximum number of characters to translate per day. This avoids any budget surprises and lets you set a maximum you’re willing to spend on machine translation per day.
For this tutorial, we’ll use the Google Translate API because it’s available in the free version of TranslatePress and Google lets you translate up to 500k characters for free:
3. Generate Google Translate API Key
Next, you need to generate a Google Translate API key from the Google Cloud Platform APIs & Services dashboard. This is what lets your site connect to the Google Translate service.
This is the most complicated part of the whole process, but we’ll take you through every step…
To get started, open the console and create a new project if needed.
With your project open, click on the hamburger icon to open the menu. Then, go to APIs & Services → Library:
Search for “Translate” and select the Cloud Translation API result:
Then, Enable the service:
To better control your billing, we highly recommend that you also set up quotas to limit your usage. TranslatePress can also help you set quotas from your WordPress dashboard – but we’d recommend doing both.
To set quotas, go to the Quotas tab and set your limits:
Remember, the Google Translate API charges $20 per 1 million characters. So if you set your limit to 1 million, you’ll never pay more than $20 per day. And remember, you only pay one time for translation because TranslatePress locally stores your translated content.
Next, open the menu and go to APIs & Services → Credentials:
In the Credentials interface, click the button to Create credentials and select API key from the drop-down:
You should see a popup that contains your API key – click the button to Restrict Key:
On the next screen, choose HTTP referrers under Application restrictions and paste in the URL to your WordPress install:
If you’re not sure which URL to put, you can find this information in the Automatic Translation tab of the TranslatePress settings.
Save your changes. Then, keep this window handy because you’ll need your API Key in the next step:
4. Add API Key to TranslatePress to Automatically Translate WooCommerce
Now that you’ve set up your API key, you’re ready to automatically translate your WooCommerce store.
Copy the API key from your Google Cloud Platform dashboard and paste it into the Google Translate API Key box in the TranslatePress settings.
You can also set another limit in TranslatePress to control your budget:
As soon as you save your changes, TranslatePress will automatically translate 100% of your store’s content into the language you selected in Step #1, including your…
- Shop and archive pages
- Single product pages
- Cart page
- Checkout page
How to Manually Refine Your Automatic Translations
At this point, your store should be fully translated using machine translations from the Google Translate API.
If you want to manually edit any of those translations, TranslatePress provides a visual interface from which you can edit every piece of translated text.
To open the manual translation editor, go to any page or product on your store and click the Translate Page button on the WordPress toolbar:
To edit any string, you can hover over it on the live preview and click the pencil icon. You’ll then be able to edit the machine translation version in the sidebar:
If you hover over an element and see a green pencil icon, that indicates that the string is used on multiple parts of your site. These are dynamic strings or gettext strings, coming from your translation-ready theme or a plugin. Common examples from WooCommerce are the…
- Add to cart button
- Sales badges
- Meta data
When you edit any one of those elements, the change will automatically update on every page where that element is used.
You can also use this interface to edit other elements, including:
Increase your Multilingual WooCommerce SEO
The free version of TranslatePress helps you use automatic machine translation to translate all of your WooCommerce store’s front-end content, but if you want to rank your translated product and shop pages in search engines like Google, you might want the SEO Pack addon for TranslatePress.
With the SEO Pack addon, you’ll also be able to translate important SEO information like:
- Product URL slugs
- SEO titles and meta descriptions for your products and shop pages
- Product image alt tags
- Product Open Graph Tags for multilingual sharing on Facebook
- Your store’s multilingual sitemap
Consider DeepL for Better Automatic Translation
As mentioned above, TranslatePress also supports the DeepL automatic translation API.
Many consider DeepL’s translation quality to be superior to Google Translate. For example, in a blind test (sponsored by DeepL), translators preferred DeepL’s translations over other services by a factor of 3:1.
DeepL charges a flat €4.99 fee per month plus €20 per 1 million characters, which makes it a little more expensive than Google Translate, but not by too much.
Automatically Translate WooCommerce Today
If you want to create a multilingual WooCommerce store, automatically translating your store using TranslatePress is a great way to start.
Using machine translation gives you a solid baseline for all your store’s translations. But at the same time, you can also go back and manually refine high-value pages if needed.
To get started, follow this tutorial. Then, if you’re happy with the results, consider checking out the premium plans for improved multilingual SEO, access to DeepL, automatic user language detection and more.