Translating your website into multiple languages & currencies

KeithEcommerce, Web Design, Web Development

If your store operates in different countries you may want to let your customers purchase using their native currency or make it easy for them to read in their own language, but how easy is it to do?

Google Translate

The easiest way to get a multi-lingual site is to use an online service like Google Translate. Many years ago the first websites I built where for German companies importing vending machines into the UK. They used automatic online translators to translate the text from German into English, unfortunately the translator just changed the words and not the grammar, and often got confused with the multiple variations of meanings behind words. This ended up making them look a bit unprofessional and we had to rewrite pages and pages of content. To be fair we’ve come a fair way since 2003, but still, an automated system isn’t going to give you the flexibility and control of your pages that having them professionally translated will.

Translating your site in WordPress

WordPress has a great plugin called The WordPress Multilingual Plugin, or WPML. We use it on Lorom’s website to translate the site into Chinese. WPML makes it easy to translate pages, posts, products, custom types, taxonomy, menus and even custom text in the theme. By default WPML comes with more than 40 languages and you can also add language variants, such as local dialects, using the language editor. If you don’t have a native speaker for the language you want to use WPML links with several translation services that can help you out.

Once you’ve set the language(s) you want to use each page has a translation option. You can copy from your default language, and if you use a WYSIWYG like Visual Composer or Cornerstone it will copy all your layouts, saving you loads of time.

WPML can add a language switcher to your site in various places so your visitors can switch between languages easily or you can use the auto detection feature to show the right language based on the visitors location.

Translating your site in Magento

Magento is a bit trickier in translation but it does have built in support and if you know how store views work you can get it set up. The first thing to do is head over to Magento’s website and find the language pack for the language you want to use e.g. French (France) Language Pack. You’ve now got spreadsheets of all the translatable text in Magento, i.e. Add to Cart, Checkout etc for Magento to use.

You’ll need some FTP access and upload the files to your Magento store. Next you’re going to have to make some store views and then assign your languages to that store view. You can then set up all the pages and static blocks and assign them to that store view. Have we lost you? Get in touch and we can set this up for you.

Accepting Multiple Currencies

If you want to accept multiple currencies your payment gateway will have to be setup for the currencies you want to take. Then you need to set them up on your store.

Multiple Currencies with Magento

Magento supports multiple currencies out of the box and it’s quite straightforward to setup. First you tell Magento what currencies you want to accept in the Configuration menu. Then it’s over to System > Manage Currency Rates to import and set your desired exchange rates. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on exchange rates so you’re not losing out on sales. That’s it! As long as your theme is built properly you should now have a multi currency store!

Multiple Currencies with Woocommerce

By default Woocommerce does not let you have more than the base currency, so you’ll need a plugin. Some plugins change the price right up until the person checks out, and then the payment process is done in your default currency. This isn’t ideal, as exchange rates could vary and you end up with an unhappy customer who’s paid more than you originally showed them.

If you’ve translated the site using WPML there’s a free plugin you can get that works alongside WPML and allows you to offer multiple currencies.

The plugin allows you to use automatic exchange rates or set custom prices per currency and gives you some shortcode to add the switcher to your store.

That’s it, you’re now up and running selling in multiple currencies and with multiple languages for your visitors to read, we hope this article gave you an idea of what’s involved in going multi lingual and multi currency, but if you have any questions or want more information please get in touch.