WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system. It takes more than 60% of the CMS market share thanks to its ease of use and many integrations. As a result, any time someone is considering new languages for their content, they’re most likely working with a WordPress platform. While it does offer some options for localization, it’s essential to understand the limitations of WPML translation management.

The WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML) can be a great standalone tool for small websites that only have to manage a few pages of relatively static content. However, its limitations become evident once you have multiple languages or text that require plenty of updating. For that, you should leverage a program with a robust command-line interface (CLI) to support continuous localization.

The Pros and Cons of WPML Translation Management

WPML is the go-to plugin for translation in WordPress. It’s an excellent tool for recreating websites in multiple languages and offers an easier path to localization. Here are just a few of the reasons that people choose WPML to manage their localization needs:


  • Variety: WPML supports over 40 languages, but it also allows clients to add language variants of their own. For example, they can target Canadian French or Castilian Spanish, rather than just French and Spanish. On top of that, it’s integrable with most themes available on the site. It also has add-on services to support eCommerce websites.
  • Ease of use: One big concern with translation is that it will impact a website’s functionality. Because the WPML is native to WordPress, it seamlessly works with that platform and its themes. It’s easy to use, which minimizes the risk of language updates damaging the user experience.
  • Low cost: The highest-priced tier for WPML is $159 for first-time subscriptions and $119 for annual renewals. This package supports multilingual options for the entire CMS and an unlimited number of websites. Reduced cost options are available for individuals who don’t need quite as much content.

Of course, no language service is ever perfect—including WPML translation management. Before using this as a standalone service, it’s essential to understand its limitations:


  • Management challenges: WPML is only a connector from your content to your multilingual sites. There are many manual steps you’ll still have to take before your content goes live. You’ll have to upload it; send files back and forth; monitor the source text for changes; and schedule jobs. If you have many updates, languages, or content, the time needed to complete these tasks will become a full-time job in itself.
  • Linguists are an add-on service: WPML is translation technology without the translators. If you need a translation agency for your site, you can get it through WPML, but it’s an expensive add-on service.
  • SEO losses: You likely invested a lot of money into SEO best practices for your content, but its effectiveness could weaken or entirely disappear upon translation to a new language. To avoid this, your SEO must remain intact when you update your content; but unfortunately, WPML can’t guarantee that.

On the upside, none of the challenges with WPML translation management are insurmountable. Adding in an additional tool can help streamline many manual tasks, improve translation results, and preserve SEO integrity.

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Improving WPML With Hybrid Continuous Localization

Continuous localization tools allow you to overcome WPML limitations by eliminating most (if not all) manual steps that take up precious time. One of the best resources is a CLI that allows you to set up your connectors and automate most of your program. Bureau Works’ process through our localization management platform—when properly established—offers a clear example of the benefits.

  1. A change to the original English content automatically triggers an assignment.
  2. An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm matches the best linguists based on their experience and prior performance metrics and assigns the job to them.
  3. The linguist completes the assigned work based on the client’s corporate lexicon, translation memory, and intended audience. Previewing capabilities give the client an additional opportunity to provide supplementary context to aid in translation.
  4. The content moves on to quality assurance (QA) for accuracy checks.
  5. Once approved, it’s pushed live on the client’s website.

This hybrid continuous approach builds structure into the process while eliminating manual steps. Much of the work occurs by using the CLI to make specific commands to review content, submit jobs, and assign translators. By using the CLI to build these commands from the very beginning, the client can manage all their translation needs and close gaps created by the WPML program.

WPML language management offers an excellent tool for localization, but it’s only part of the total job. By integrating a platform that can automate tasks while ensuring oversight and structure, companies can easily manage multiple languages and constantly changing content. This is an excellent solution for any company that wants to support its WordPress CMS while minimizing manual steps.

Bureau Works acts as a great companion to WPML translation management by enabling continuous localization. To learn more about our abilities, contact our team.

Published On: January 5th, 2021 / Categories: Platform Technology, Tips & Trends /

Gabriel Fairman

January 5, 2021

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