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Some important things to be aware of before using Weglot for language translation

First of all, we have no grudge toward Weglot, for many sites Weglot will work just fine and their support team have been very helpful and patient in sorting out issues we’ve experienced (thanks Alexis). Some of the issues has been bug related and some issues has be related to technical limitations in Weglot we learned about along the way.

We started out using Weglot on a couple of small one-pager sites and found Weglot to be a simple, low-threshold solution. The big selling point being that all content can easily be available (and indexed by Google) in multiple languages. The out-of-the-box auto translation of content offers multilingual support without the need for professional translators or extensive language knowledge for the client. The clients was generally happy.

This led us to the bold move of selling in Weglot for multi-language support on the redesign of a larger enterprise site. With a more feature-rich site, demanding lots of custom functionality, the limitations of Weglot started to be more obvious. Better research from our side before the sales pitch would of course have revealed many of these limitations. Some of the limitations we were able to solved with custom coding.

Here I’ve listed some of the most important things we found out along the way, that you should be aware of when using Weglot:

  • Weglot lets you review and edit the initially auto-translated texts in the Weglot dashboard, but if the client later on makes ANY changes in the original text in the Webflow CMS, Weglot will automatically replace the formerly reviewed text with new auto-translated text on the live site. The client will have to login to Weglot and track down the new auto-generated text block and the old text block with the reviewed/manually translated text and copy/past to the new text block, then delete the old text block. If the client does lots of minor text edits in the Webflow CMS, this will result in duplicated text blocks in Weglot for EVERY edit made in Webflow. It can be very hard for the client to know what is the latest version of the text blocks and what of these text blocks is actually in use on the live site. This is a really bad UX experience for the client!
  • If professionally translated texts will be used on the site, the limitations mentioned above will be even more problematic in administrating translated texts and translators.
  • Weglot adds correct hreflang tags to all the pages that is translated with Weglot, but NOT to the original pages in Webflow. By default, the Weglot script you paste in to Webflow custom code when setting up Weglot will add a hreflang root-URL (e.g: mysite.com/), but this will also be used on ALL sub pages, resulting in a wrong hreflang setup. Google will not be able to separate the different language versions in the SERP results. You will have to use a custom Github script supplied by the Weglot support team (on request) or set the correct hreflang tags manually on every page in Webflow.
  • The sitemap generated by Webflow will not work on the translated pages, only the original Webflow pages.
  • The URL-slugs will not be translated (Weglot offers this, but only in the Advanced plan at €1.990 /year!)
  • Weglot does not support multilingual versions of other content than text (e.g. if you want to have youtube videos in different language versions embedded in the Webflow CMS).
  • Weglot does not support setting up 301-redirects from old multilingual URL’s to the new multilingual URL’s (subdomains) supplied by Weglot. This can result in a dramatic drop in the google page ranking when moving old multilingual sites to Webflow/Weglot.
  • Be aware that if the word count supported in your Weglot plan is exceeded, Weglot will stop serving the translated language! If going unaddressed over a longer period of time, this can really harm your SEO.

To sum it up, Webflow, please give us native multilingual support! It’s one of the few big obstacles remaining that stops us using the Webflow platform for “professional” enterprise sites!

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Thanks for sharing this detailed writeup. This should help people making a choice between Webflow plus Weglot or another CMS solution that offers multi-language support natively or through a plugin wired into the backend.

It’s become apparent to me over the last few days that it will be impossible for me serve Quebec clients without a native multilingual solution. Weglot is horrendous for SEO.

This needs to be addressed and it blows my mind that something so basic (native on literally every other platform worth using) isn’t included in the platform from the get-go.

Hi Christoffer,

Rémy here, co founder of Weglot. I just wanted to give a few more precisions about your post.

First, I’m happy Weglot helped you to make your sites multilingual on several projects. Most of the problem you mentioned are indeed true but some are not so I just wanted to give a bit more detail about Weglot.

Weglot is used more than 5000 webflow websites and our users are super happy to be able to translate their website so easily. However, the usage for Weglot is not recommended if you need to make different version for different language. What I mean is for example :
If your french, german website is just the same than your original english website, just translated => Use Weglot
If your french, german websites are totally different, with different pages than the original english website => Do not use Weglot

About your list of limitations:
1 - You are absolutely right. If the original sentence is changed, then the translation is also changed. It can be a problem if you do the translation, but then you change a lot of original text. That being said, we are currently working on improvement on this part. Except some changes.
2 - Same than 1
3 - This is true, but actually not a big problem. And also, we are doing the best we can as we can’t control Webflow code. So we add the root hreflang. It doesn’t mean that Google will not index your website. It will just take more time but Google is actually smart enough to understand your website structure and all pages will still be indexed in translated languages. It’s just not optimal.
So because it’s not optimal, we even created a small script (that takes 5 min to use) that will correct this and make sure you have the hreflangs for each page. Many users are using it and are perfectly happy with it
4 - Yes, but because the translated version are linked in hreflangs, it doesn’t mean to be also in sitemap so there is no problem in that.Again, your webflow site will be indexed by Google in all languages
5 - Yes that is correct. Translations of slugs is actually not mandatory at all and your SEO will again be perfectly fine without it
6 - No, that is not correct. Weglot allows you to have different images or even videos based on the language.
7 - Yes that’s correct, and we would like to but we cannot access this part of Webflow code.
8 - No this is not correct : If you exceed your word count in your paid plan, you will still have your website translated and only the words above the word count will not be translated. Also you will get an email to let you know about it. You can then upgrade, or delete some unused words.

To sum up, I’m not saying Weglot is a perfect solution, but we are a good and widely used one. Having multilingual natively would be of course nice but be aware that it doesn’t mean you will have a perfect solution either. You will probably have other problems (like no automatic translations, third party not translated etc…)
Actually, we are used by other CMS where there is already native multilingual solution but users prefer using Weglot.

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Hi @Remy, sorry, your reply slipped me by. First of all, my frustrations around the multilingual difficulties as a Webflow+Weglot user is not really towards Weglot, it’s towards Webflow, in using Weglot as a… well, excuse for not prioritising native multilingual support. Yes, Weglot offers a solution where there is no real alternatives today and when it comes to simply serving a website in alternate languages, Weglot does a impressive job, especially when keeping in mind that everything is done from the “outside” technically. The automatic translation is also a great feature for users that is ok with initially publishing automatically translated content, and not wanting to spend time and resources on translating.

Our “problem” is that Webflow has evolved and is now actually so good we can make and host advanced and complex enterprise sites on the platform, not just simple marketing sites. For us, this is where the limitations in Weglot really starts to be noticeable. For our (potential) clients already used to native multilingual features, offering a Webflow solution with an external technical layer and UI for languages is unfortunately often seen as a dealbreaker. This is really frustrating because we want to go all-in on Webflow as our platform. Also we more and more feel that the weglot translated versions of sites is some what underperforming when it comes to SEO, but I should point out that we do not have any specific technical proof on this. Hopefully Weglot will get better with time, and even more hopefully Webflow will start to listen to their many users that crave for native multilingual support in Webflow! No hard feelings! :wink: