We Interview one of the founders of Cozmoslabs who are authors of the popular multilingual plugin TranslatePress
Adrian is the co-founder of Cozmoslabs, a company focused on building premium WordPress plugins since 2011. Their products are used on over 120,000 websites.
Lately he’s mostly focused on marketing and business development, however nothing feels better to him than actually coding a feature.
Their most popular plugins Profile Builder and Paid Member Subscriptions are targeted on membership sites, offering things ranging from building user profiles & advanced front-end forms to creating subscription plans, restricting content and accepting payments.
Their newest product, TranslatePress is a WordPress multilingual plugin that lets you translate your entire site directly from the front-end using a really intuitive interface. It works out of the box with any theme or plugin, including WooCommerce and site builders.
This weeks show is Sponsored By Kinsta Hosting
Sure, we will offer a free TranslatePress business license and a Paid Member Subscriptions Pro license to the person who leaves a comment indicating the missing feature he would love to see developed next in these plugins.
If this is too much, I’m open to ideas on your side as well 🙂
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show. Its episode 381 and we’ve got a great guest with us. We got Adrian Spiac. I probably totally destroyed your surname. I apologize. Would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Adrian: Yes, I’m Adrian Spiac. I’m the cofounder of Cozmos Labs and Translate Press. We basically are focusing on delivering premium plugins for WordPress.
Jonathon: Oh, that’s great. And I’ve got my great cohost Cindy Nicholson. Cindy, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Cindy: Sure. Hi everyone. It’s Cindy Nicholson here from the course whisper.com. And I help entrepreneurs that want to create great online courses.
Jonathon: So Adrian you produce a really fantastic Multilanguage plugin that would be really useful for membership. Or people that has a course website that is looking to have more than one language. But I thought to start off we would be discussing some of the things people got to know about how to set up a plugin like yours. And what are the pitfalls and some things that I should know. How does that sound Adrian?
Adrian: Yes, that sounds great.
Jonathon: But before we go into that folks. I just want to quickly talk about one of my major sponsors and that’s Kinsta Hosting. And what does Kinsta Hosting provide? Well it provides only WordPress hosting. It only specializes in hosting WordPress websites. It’s specialized is if you’re looking for quality hosting. If you’ve got a membership or an eLearning course sites or you got an ecommerce site. Kinsta is a perfect partner. They offer all the technology, all the bells and whistles staging site, one click backup. But the main thing, the main two things are that their network utilizes Google cloud hosting. And secondly, they offer tremendous 24/7 support, which is some of the best in the industry. So if you’re a developer, power user or somebody that just got fed up with mediocre hosting, go to kinsta.com. Adrian, so what do you think are some of the main things people got to be aware of before they set up? Look at having a site that has multiple languages?
Adrian: Yeah, so I think the main thing or the main question, the basic question they should ask is do they really need a multilingual site. And why exactly they need a multilingual site. For example, in some countries like Canada or Switzerland you don’t have an option. If you’re a professional and in business and you’re well established, you have to provide your language your website in multiple languages. But other than that, I think there are a lot of advantages on of offering a multilingual website. One of them is the ability to reach more people. You can reach more customers if you’re actually, you have a web membership site or you have a shop that’s selling products. Having the content available in the user’s native language is the key to gaining trust, credibility and can also increase conversions. So there are several studies I won`t enter into a lot of details. We haven’t performed any study ourselves, but from the case studies we read and the things available on the Internet. You can see a significant increase in traffic as well as conversions on businesses which opted to build a multilingual website.
Jonathon: Sounds great. Cindy?
Cindy: Adrian thanks for that. I live in my world where I’m mostly English. And most of the websites that I go to are in English and it’s interesting because I’m planning a trip in September, so I’m visiting a lot of websites that are in different countries. So Japan, China or what have you. And I’m finding that the translation to English is super, super important. You talked about the advantage of being able to reach more people, but can you talk a little bit more about how to know whether or not your membership site or your course, whether or not you should. Is there a way to find out whether or not you, you are missing out on opportunities?
Adrian: Absolutely. I think the simplest way would be to open Google analytics and check out your traffic sources. And see you have a big list of countries least where you’re, I know as percentage of customers or visitors that come from each country. So I think you can easily assess if a significant number of visitors come from a certain country, which for example, I do not speak English. It probably would be a good idea to have your website translated into their language as well.
Cindy: Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. Just even going to Google analytics to see where your audience is coming from. Is a great way to see if there are persons who maybe as a second language accessing your site.
Adrian: True. And another thing which comes to mind. For example, if you are offering, like you have a membership site or you have an ecommerce shop. And you basically want to expand your reach, you want to reach more people, reach people from different countries, this is the way to go. You should have your content translated in their language as well.
Cindy: I know. that`s a good point. Jonathan?
Jonathon: What are the kinds of technical technology solutions out there and what some of their strengths and weaknesses?
Adrian: Yeah, this is a very good question. If we’re talking about WordPress, I see three options. You can either go for a plugin, a multilingual plugin, which basically allows you to translate your website in multiple languages. Which from my point of view is the most available and convenient option. The second option would be, let’s say you want to, for more complex websites which have a different content in different languages. I would suggest setting up a WordPress multisite. And that allows you to basically have a certain site in one language. So you basically have a language for each site. This is a super convenient when you have, for example, different products or different things available for each language. But can become a huge hassle when you have to, if you have the same content and you need to manage like each website, imagine that updating, for example, a product description, updating is it in English, and then going to French, Italian and so on.
It can be pretty complicated to, to manage. The third option would be to integrate like third party software as a service and like Barb League for example, which has the benefit that it’s pretty easy to set up and use. But the main disadvantages that once you stop paying basically the translated content you’re losing it. It’s not available anymore. So your website stops being multilingual, which is a pain. It’s a pain. And this is something I would recommend only to users who have a huge budget and are not technical at all.
Jonathon: All right, go on. Sorry.
Adrian: I know coming back to the plugins, like the WordPress plugins, you have a lot of solutions, which we can go into. Which offer a lot of options like for translating different types of interfaces and different type of like complexity? So you have a wide variety of options which you can use to translate your website.
Jonathon: So excluding your own solutions, which we are going to talk about later on. What do you see as the three main leading Multilanguage plugins in the WordPress community at the present moment? And could you, you seem a very fair person. Could you outline their weaknesses and their strengths?
Adrian: Of course. I haven’t. I must admit I haven’t played a lot with most of them lately. But, I did use a lot of them in the past.
Jonathon: I thought you buy it. So that’s why I suggest you come on show. Because I taught you were somebody that’s tested them quite extensively.
Adrian: Yes, yes. The main one, I’m saying the main one because it has the most active installs. Polylang, this is most popular free solution. And the most popular paid solution is WPML. These are two judging by the number of users that use them. Two of the most popular translation solutions on the market. The thing that the way they like strengths and weaknesses. Okay, let’s go into that. We used to work with WPML a lot. It is a really useful tool for complex websites. It has the, I think a ton of features in it has a support from a lot of teams and plugins. You know, a lot of them are WPML compatible. So they had compatibility in order to be able to create multilingual sites using a WPML. The main issues that we had with the plugin were related to speed sometimes.
And the fact that it can get pretty complex. And pretty complicated to set up for our clients. Before building products we were a development agency. So we used to build websites for a lot of clients. And the main issue we encountered with WPML was that sometimes editing stuff or updating translations was not so straight forward. It’s an excellent tool, but it’s more like a developer tool than a tool that can be used for someone which hasn’t any technical knowledge. And it’s just once his website translated. So I would put it like that.
Jonathon: And the other one?
Adrian: And Polylang pretty much the same. I think it’s a little bit easier to use. Of course it’s free, so it has a huge user base. And all that feedback it got acted upon. Because when you have users, you can get a lot of feature requests and blogs so you can publish your products pretty well. I would say it’s also a good solution. I don’t find it sufficiently intuitive that’s for beginners. We’re talking about people who are business owners. Who are website owners, who are membership site owners who just want to have their website translated in the easiest way possible? And why am I saying that? Our vision was I wanted something that was super easy to use that would let you know exactly what you’re translating. Most of the plugins on the market do the translation part from the backend of WordPress. So you’re mostly are looking at the string and don’t know exactly where the string is positioned on the front end of the website. So that’s lacks context and when translator comes to translate that certain sentence, it can easily put it out of context.
Jonathon: That’s a really fantastic point. That could be a devil especially in headlines and h1h2 tag headlines. They can break out of the basic layout structure could look rapidly starting to look pretty basic on it.
Adrian: Yeah, it can.
Jonathon: We’re going to go for our break. And when we come back, we’re going to delve into the world of Multilanguage websites in a bit more detail with Adrian our guest. Be back in a few moments folks.
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Jonathon: It`s something you will have to look at it as a developer or power user. Or we can have our site. In multiple languages. So I thought it was an excellent topic. And I thought Adrian would be the right guy to talk about it. So when he came on the radar, we begged him and have him on the show. Cindy got a question?
Cindy: All right, I do. I’m not a techie person, so strings and whatever you’re talking about doesn’t resonate with me. But what does is that is the client experience. When I’m on the other side of a website that has translation options. And again, because I’ve been doing a lot of research recently, I’ve been landing on websites where I’ve needed the translation into English. And I guess my question is, because sometimes the translation is horrible. And you can’t understand what the heck the person is trying to say. Would all of the plugins kind of get the translation services from the same place? Or how can you ensure the quality of the translation? Is there anything that you can do or is it just the nature of the beast because it’s automated to some extent?
Adrian: Yeah, excellent question. Cindy: I don’t know if it was a stupid question.
Adrian: No. I mean, it’s a real problem and there is no control over the quality of translation. So you can do a couple of things. It’s not a good idea to set up automatic translations. We offer these integrations as well because it helps you speed up speed things up. But my suggestion would be to always work with professional translators, especially when it comes to sensitive content, like a landing page or your homepage or so on. And you can ensure the quality by checking the translator profile before. And there are also services which offer this sort of tasks which you can, some plugins integrate example. The WPML has a lot of integrations with different, as its own service. And there are many available there. The thing is we also set something up similar, which allow you to create translator account. And allow other people to translate certain portions of your website. So I think you can do that. Like, make sure you’re working with professional translators or you use a service that is known for offering only professional translations.
Cindy: Oh no, my just, my comment was, I guess some of those websites have probably just been using the automated translation.
Adrian: Probably, probably.
Cindy: So I mean, I think that makes sense.
Adrian: That is the fastest way and it works sometimes. It’s not something I recommend because Google crawls on those websites and if you’re trying to rank, you should at least enter an added the strings to make them sound even better. Like the automatic translation tools, even though they’re becoming better and better. For example, Deebol is another really good competitor to Google translate, which we’re going to add support to. The idea is to always edit and improve the existing automatic translation. Because their main purpose is to help you speed things up. Like not have to translate everything, everything, but just go and check and verify. Or not yourself, but a professional translator.
Cindy: Right, right. Jonathan.
Jonathon: I was just going to ask you what all some of the main leaders in the automatic translation. So you mentioned it was Google and what’s the other one?
Jonathon: And would you say they’re the two main ones or is there a third one?
Adrian: I’m sure there are others. Yes, judging by what our users requested from us in repeated times. Because we always write these things down. These have been the two key, services that they wanted to integrate. And most of them said that Deebol is becoming much, much better than Google as a contextual translation, which is much better.
Jonathon: And the service companies that provide, interpreters and that. Do any of those come to mind that you would recommend?
Adrian: These are a lot. There are a lot of services and you have to. I know a couple but I haven’t tested a lot of them. So I suggest just Googling and doing your own research. There are quite a lot of services. Most of them the ones that are really good, only offer a few languages. Like they are super focused, laser focused and offer like 10 languages or 20. There are also big players which offer up to a hundred or something like that.
Jonathon: So you would say as a recommendation, if they are only specializing in between 5 and 10, that’s a good sign. If they are offering more than that, it could be.
Adrian: Not necessarily. I think you should read the reviews and see exactly, I mean do a little bit of research. It doesn’t really mean, I mean if you have a lot of languages of supporting languages obviously you are a huge company which has a great infrastructure for providing translations. So some of them can be really, really good.
Jonathon: Have you got any idea around price when you’re hiring? Can you give us some rough ideas how they charge? Do they charge by the minute?
Adrian: They normally charged by word. Basically you how this works a lot of WordPress plugins have integration with the professional translation service. So the way it worked, you send a couple of strings to the translator and then he can send them back directly to the WordPress interface. You approve them and then they appear as translated on your website. And you get a bill which is calculated based on the number of words you send for translation. This is how it normally works, but you can also like keep it simple and send your content. Do a translation and then just upload it on your website once it gets translated back to you.
Cindy: Wow. Like you opened up a whole new world from Adrian. So your plugins are relatively new plugin?
Adrian: It has been here a year and three months.
Cindy: I can Imagine how much work it must be putting one of those together. Can you maybe just tell us the story about why you decided to do it? And what that journey to get you to where it is today? Having created a plugin.
Adrian: Yes. Yes. So the main stories that we used to work on a lot of multilingual websites. We build them even for like a simple presentation sites. But also for like university websites where you had the really complex setups and so on. And we were really happy with the existing multilingual solutions. We were also looking to come up with a new product. Because before building Translate Press, we already had like three products which were built before. And this sounded like a great opportunity and an amazing opportunity. So we decided to build a plugin that was the main idea was to make it super dead simple to use. Like for a nontechnical people. Not get all the features in it, but just come up with something that would allow translating to your website in a couple of clicks.
And the main idea we did is that we moved everything in the front end. Basically in an interface that allows you to see exactly what you translate and to modify the translations in real time. By just simply clicking it and entering the translated text. Or once you play with it. It’s super intuitive. It’s easy to figure out how to translate something. And this works basically with everything including page builders or a complex teams without having to add compatibility. Because we translate the text that it already output it to by these elements on the front end. So that’s how we came up with idea. We thought we were going to create an initial version in three to four months. It took almost eight. So we were way off with the initial estimations. But then started to, we launch it for free on wp.org as a free plugin. And now I would say it grew pretty beautifully. It powers more than 30,000 websites and people find it real easy to use. We’re still doing a lot of polishing, building new features and so on. But it’s on the right path.
Cindy: And what was the launch like? How did you go about getting it out there? And letting people know what was available?
Adrian: Yeah, so we did a couple of things. We try to leverage the fact that we already had an audience and some existing customers. So we pitched this product to our other customers, which mostly bought like membership plugins from us. We also added the download for free under their user account on the Cozmoslabs. We reached out to a lot of websites to write about it. We sponsored a Word Camp in Bucharest and so on. The idea was not to get say and set for us. We wanted to get the free version in as many hands as possible and to constantly improve the plugin. And I think the key thing was to build a really powerful free version. That people can use without having any limitations as to the number of words you can translate or things like that. And then we went from there.
Cindy: Wow. Congratulations. That’s pretty good in three months.
Adrian: It’s a year and three months.
Cindy: Oh, it’s a year and 3 months. I thought you had said three months. Got It.
Adrian: Yeah, that would have been great.
Jonathon: That would have been a lot of work in 3 months for you and your team. So we are going to wrap up. You said it works on the front end. Does it work reasonably well with the major page builders? Like Beaver Builder and Elementor?
Adrian: Yes. It works with all of them. Actually we had a blog post on Elementor regarding how to translate on Elementor website using Translate Press. It should work out of the box with any page builder because we’re only touching the output on the front end. So the content that is displayed, you can also translate like age strings, like the dynamic strings that, for example, Woocommerce when you add to cart a certain product. It can display the message. You can easily translate that as well.
Jonathon: Oh, right. So do you know if it works reasonably well with the two leading learning management systems? Like Lifter LMS or Learn Dash does it work with those two?
Adrian: It should work. It should work. One key thing is Translate Press doesn’t translate the content in your backend. So it translates only the things that are in your front. And then on the front of the website, in the front end. Everything that’s output in there, you can translate it when translated easily. So everything that their users or customers see’s, you can easily translate it with Translate Press. Now we’re also working on an, add on that will allow you to translate all the get text strings added by certain plugins or teams that appear in the backend of the website. Something like if you’re familiar with local translate, local translate does that. It allows you to basically translate, certain strings from added by certain plugins or team. If they do it in the end. If you have a string which is output by the team in the front end or by the plugin in the front end, you can easily translate them with Translate Press.
Jonathon: Oh, sounds great. We are going to wrap up the podcast part of the show folks. Adrian has agreed to stay on. Cozmos Labs has a membership plugin as well and some others that Adrian has mentioned. We’re going to have a bit of a chat, a quick chat about those. So if you want to stay on and listen more, go to the Mail Right website. And go to the WP tonic website or go especially to our YouTube channel and you’ll be able to see the whole interview. So Adrian, what’s the best way to learn more about you Cozmos Labs and what you’re team are up to?
Adrian: So we’re regularly publishing a transparency report on translatepress.com. So you can check out our journey there. We share detailed regarding revenue, like up and downs, what we did to promote a certain things to get downloads and so on. What improvements are next in the plugin? And also check out cozmoslabs.com. There is a display of all our products, including what Jonathan mentioned, like the membership plugins we developed.
Jonathon: Oh, that’s great. Cindy, how can people find out more about what you’re thinking, what you’re up to and your thoughts in general?
Cindy: Come visit me at my website at thecoursewhisper.com. Or reach out to me on LinkedIn. So search for Cindy Nicholson and you should find me there.
Jonathon: That’s great. And if you want to find out more about the membership learning management offerings and what we do for clients. Go to the WP tonic website and we got a load of articles that will help you build that first all-powerful membership learning management system website. We will see you next week where we have another great guest sharing their experience and knowledge with you listeners and viewers. We see you soon. Thanks. Bye.
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