With over 6,000 votes on the Webflow Wishlist, native support for creating multi-lingual experiences is currently their second most requested feature. While Webflow has informed us that they plan to eventually build this feature in the future, they also made clear that it isn't an immediate priority for them as there are a number of third-party solutions available to achieve multi-lingual functionality. However, using a third-party solution isn't ideal for everyone, as many users prefer to manually build this feature and not be tied to another ongoing subscription. The 3 most common solutions to create multi-lingual Webflow websites are Duplicate Pages, Duplicate Website, or Use Weglot.
[Update Nov. 13, 2022: At Webflow Conf 2022, Webflow announced that native multi-lingual support will be coming to Webflow in 2023.]
Duplicating Pages is best suited for smaller, 1 to 5 page, websites. It also works for larger sites but can become unmanageable as you add/update content and scale. If you're utilizing dynamic pages (CMS), you'll need to create new CMS collections for each category in each language. For example, say we have a blog in English that needs to be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese versions. We would have to create corresponding collections for each language and devise a system to match content between languages like adding numbers before the titles.
- Translated Versions be managed directly inside your Webflow Projects
- Good for small sites without elaborate use of the CMS
- Tedious & Time-consuming
- No ability to duplicate existing CMS pages into a language folder
- CMS collections need to be duplicated for each language to use dynamic pages
- Can't translate utility pages like Search and 404
- Large websites could approach their 100 page limit
Another option is to duplicate your project and connect it to a subdomain. ie: es.google.com. This would require you to maintain at least 2 separate sites and pay hosting for each, but could be a more organized approach for some organizations. Each language would have its own separate website on its respective subdomain. This option may be suitable for organizations that have teams that will work o each localized site. For example, there could be a team for the Spanish website, one for the Portuguese, and one for the Japanese. Each website wouldn't necessarily have to house the same content or even layout, and a more localized approach can be taken.
- Could be more organized for larger websites and large teams
- Each individual site would have a limit of 100 static pages instead of all languages counting against the limit on just 1 site
- You have to pay a web hosting plan for each language
- Not ideal if the site design/layout needs to match across languages because you'd have to update each project individually
Using Weglot is still the easiest to implement solution at this time. Weglot is a multilingual website translation service that works great with Webflow. For approximately $20 a month, you can have your website automatically translated to 3 languages and automatically stay up to date as you make changes to content or add additional pages. With Weglot, a multi-lingual site can be created simply by adding their code to your website and connecting your subdomains to Weglot's server. Of course, you can also add manual translations as needed through Weglot's dashboard. If you want to maintain 3 localized websites in different languages with the same content and layout, this option is preferable and most likely more affordable than duplicating sites manually.
- Instant implementation
- Automatically translates new content and pages
- Easy to install
- Works for any size website
- Translates all pages including CMS and utility pages
- Can translate URL slugs as well (Advanced Plan)
- Monthly Subscription
- Not fully baked into the website
- Translations go away if you cancel the service
Which option is right for you? Do you prefer manually duplicating pages and translating site content or is a more automated approach like Weglot more your preference? There are three different ways one can go about building a multilingual website with Webflow 2021, each of which has its pros and cons. Until Webflow natively supports multilingual sites, we will continue using these methods to speak to our global audience.
I hope this article was helpful for you. If you have any questions or need help deciding how to structure your multilingual website, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.