How to Create a Multilingual WordPress Site for Your Charity

Learn how to create a WordPress multilingual site for your charity using GiveWP and Weglot. Fully translate your donation forms.
Multilingual Site Featured Image

If you run a charity or are trying to promote any type of cause, creating a WordPress multilingual site offers a great way to expand the reach of your cause. It helps you connect with more people and raise more money.

Most of the world’s largest charities offer their sites in multiple languages. But if you’re using WordPress and GiveWP, how can you create a WordPress multilingual site for your cause in the most efficient way possible?

That’s the topic of this post. You’ll learn how to get started with a WordPress multilingual site in just a few minutes. And you don’t need any special technical or language knowledge.

You’ll be able to fully translate your GiveWP donation forms and campaign goals, as well as all the rest of your site’s content.

Let’s dig in…

Why Create a WordPress Multilingual Site for Your Charity?

Creating a WordPress multilingual site for your charity helps you achieve two central benefits:

  1. It makes it easier for people to get involved with your charity or cause because they can find the relevant information in their own language.
  2. It helps you create more awareness for your charity or cause because you can reach more people.

To the first point, most people on the Internet want to browse the web in their own native languages. In fact, the European Union commissioned a survey from Gallup which found that 90% of respondents prefer to visit a website in their native language whenever possible. 45% of respondents just flat out won’t use a language other than their own when online.

Basically, people might be interested in your cause but can’t get involved because of language barriers. Creating a WordPress multilingual site for your charity helps you fix that.

But translating your charity’s WordPress site isn’t just about helping people who are already interested in your cause — it also helps you connect with new supporters who might not previously have known about your cause.

For example, people might be searching Google for topics around your cause. Just like people prefer to browse websites in their native languages, they also prefer to search Google in their native languages.

By translating your site, you can start ranking for Google queries in new languages, which expands your search visibility.

Offering your site in a global language (like English) can also help you get more press because it makes it easier for journalists and bloggers to learn more about your cause (and hopefully mention you or reach out for an interview!).

The Benefits of a WordPress Multilingual Site in Action

The Niels on Wheels website features a language toggle in the lower right corner.

Back in July 2019, the GiveWP blog featured Niels Vink, a wheelchair tennis player. He needed fundraising for the estimated €30,000 required for him to participate in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Niels is Dutch, but he also has a global audience who might be interested in supporting him. To help those people support his trip to the Paralympics, Niels includes a donation form from the GiveWP donation plugin that is available in both Dutch and English.

By doing this, Niels is able to connect with a much wider audience than a Dutch-only site would allow and he’s also able to make it easier for people to donate since all his donation forms are available in both English and Dutch.

To translate his website into Dutch and English, Niels and his team use the Weglot WordPress translation plugin. This is what you’ll use to create a WordPress multilingual website in the next section.

How to Create a WordPress Multilingual Site

The Weglot WordPress translation plugin lets you translate 100% of your site’s content, including content from any themes and plugins that you’re using.

Weglot also integrates with GiveWP right out of the box so that you can translate all of your donation forms and campaign content. It also adds a language switcher so that visitors can quickly choose between all the different languages that you offer.

As soon as you activate Weglot, it uses machine translation to translate all of your site’s content, including your donation forms. Then, you can always go back and manually refine your translations through the Weglot dashboard.

If you want to see Weglot in action, you can check out the Niels on Wheels website that we mentioned above or play around with the dedicated GiveWP demo site from the Weglot team.

Here’s how to use Weglot to create a WordPress multilingual site and donation forms for your charity…

1. Set Up GiveWP

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to get started by setting up your fundraising campaigns and donation forms with GiveWP.

If you’re not familiar, GiveWP makes it easy for you to accept donations for your charity or cause using WordPress. You can create easy-to-use donation forms, set campaign donation goals, and lots more.

The core GiveWP plugin is available for free at WordPress.org, so you can start collecting donations for your cause without spending a penny. Then, if you want a little more flexibility, you can purchase GiveWP add-ons to add extra features like recurring donations, marketing tools, payment gateways, and more.

For this example, we’ve set up a donation form for a fictional “World Hunger Relief Fund” cause, complete with extra fields from the GiveWP Form Field Manager add-on to show you how you’ll be able to fully translate your form’s content:

The World Hunger Relief form has extra form fields so we can see more in depth how Weglot will create a multilingual site that includes your GiveWP forms.

Here’s what a simple donation page looks like:

The World Hunger Relief donation form has $0 out of $150 raised and is displayed in English.

Now, here’s how to translate your donation form, along with the rest of your website’s content.

2. Activate Weglot and Choose Languages to Translate Your Site

To create a WordPress multilingual site, your first step is to install and activate the Weglot plugin from WordPress.org. You’ll also need to sign up for a Weglot account to generate the API key that connects your WordPress website to the Weglot service.

Once you’ve installed the Weglot plugin and have your API key, finish the setup with these steps:

  1. Go to the new Weglot area in your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Enter the API key from your Weglot account in the API Key box.
  3. Choose your Original language, which is the language that your charity’s site currently exists in.
  4. Choose your Destination languages, which are one or more languages into which you want to translate your site’s content.

Activate Weglot by entering your API key in the settings.

As soon as you click Save Changes, Weglot will use machine translation to automatically translate all of your site’s content into your destination language(s).

It will also automatically add a language switcher to the bottom-right corner of your site that lets visitors choose their preferred languages:

Weglot translated the entire donation form including the extra fields from Form Field Manager.

Now, you can see how Weglot is able to translate the full GiveWP donation form right out of the box. It even translates the custom form fields added with the GiveWP Form Field Manager add-on.

3. Manually Refine Translations as Needed

By default, Weglot translates your entire site using automatic translation. But you also have the power to manually edit all of those translations using your choice of two interfaces:

  1. List editor
  2. Visual editor

With the list editor, you’ll see a side-by-side view of your original content with the translated version of the content. To edit a translation, you can click and type. Or, you can also outsource translations directly to professional translation services:

Change your translations in the settings menu to make them more accurate.

If you prefer a more visual approach, you can use the visual editor. This shows you a live preview of your website.

To translate any of your content, all you do is hover over it and click the green pencil icon. For example, to translate the name of one of your GiveWP donation levels, you’d hover over it like this:

Edit your translations on the front end using the pencil icon.

Clicking that pencil icon will open a popup where you can edit the translation:

After choosing the pencil, a modal pops up that allows you to edit your translation.

No matter which translation interface you choose, your translations will automatically sync with your live WordPress multilingual site.

4. Customize the Language Switcher if Needed

By default, Weglot adds a floating language switcher to the bottom-right corner of your charity’s site.

However, if you’d prefer to have it in a different location, Weglot also gives you four other placement options:

  1. Menu item (in your primary navigation)
  2. Widget in any widget area
  3. Shortcode anywhere on your site
  4. In your site’s source code

For example, here’s what it looks like to shift the language switcher to your site’s navigation menu:

Get Started with a WordPress Multilingual Site Today

Creating a WordPress multilingual site for your charity or fundraising cause is a great way to enhance awareness and help you reach new potential donors.

Your site’s visitors will be able to browse your website in their native language, which creates a better experience for them and helps them learn about your cause.

You’ll also be able to connect with more people by ranking your site for new queries in Google and making it easier for bloggers and journalists to feature your cause.

To translate your WordPress site, use the Weglot plugin. Weglot works with GiveWP right away to help you translate your donation forms and campaign goals into as many languages as needed.

You can begin with machine translations and then manually refine your translations as needed to perfectly match your charity’s branding.Get started by installing GiveWP and Weglot today. We’d love to see the multilingual site you create with WordPress for your nonprofit.

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2 Responses

  1. Would it be possible to add .mo and .po files in the /public_html/wp-content/languages folder so that we could use a free plug-in like PolyLang to translate strings?

    1. Hi Jacob, yes, GiveWP is already fully internationalized, so if you put PO/MO files in the languages folder, with a sub-folder called “give” then your files will overwrite our default strings. See our docs on that here:

      WeGlot is simply a different tool that uses a different approach to translating that might be preferrable for some users. Rather than having to exact-match the strings in the plugin, you can simply translate the whole page. It feels a bit more intuitive. Thanks!

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