If you decide to translate your blog in different languages as I did recently (see my earlier post about the argument), you will need a good plugin allowing to easily translate and manage your posts in different languages. I opted for qTranslate, a WordPress plugin that gives you the ability to handle all your translations of a given post inside one single post (other plugins, like WPML, require you to have different posts for the different languages). In this post I will give you a short installation guide and an overview of the main functions of qTranslate.[more…]
Before you start
qTranslate will change your database structure drastically, so ensure that before you start installing qTranslate you perform a backup of the entire database (and also perform a backup of your WordPress folder, just to be sure).
Installation and configuration
To start, go to the qTranslate download page and download the latest version of it. Then unpack it and copy the qtranslate folder to your wp-content/plugins folder. Alternatively you can download and install it directly from your “Install Plugins” page (usually www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/plugin-install.php), by searching for qTranslate. After the installation do not forget to activate the plugin. In my case it was necessary to manually create the wp-content/languages folder and chmod it to 777 before I could use the plugin correctly. Please do this only if an according error message (“could not write to folder wp-content/languages”) is showing up. Once you are done with the installation and activation, you can start configuring the plugin. First of all you will have to choose the languages you need, to do this go to the settings page of the plugin (“Settings” > “Languages”) and activate / deactivate the desired languages in the table (see image). In my case I have activated English, German, French and Italian. For each language you have some settings that you can change (like for example the language flag and date format), but you can leave the default values if you wish. If the language you need is not included by default, you can even add a new one with the according form. After having chosen your languages, you can take a look at the other settings of the plugin: you can choose your default language, reorder the languages, hide untranslated content and detect the browser language. In addition you have some advanced settings, which let you choose the format of your translated urls, the date/time format and update settings. In my case I had to choose “Use strftime instead of date” in the “Date / Time Conversion” setting in order to make the post dates show up correctly. But this will depend on your WordPress and server settings, itrack.it so just try it out and find the setting that works for you.
Now that you have correctly set up and configured the plugin, it is time to use it. Just create a new post and you will already see the changes: instead of the traditional single post title you will now have one title for each language you have activated, and the on top of the textarea of the post body you will find a tab for each language. Now you will just have to create your post, translate it and publish it.
The language chooser
In order to be able to switch between the different languages, you will have to activate the qTranlate Language Chooser. You can do this either by activating the corresponding widget (under “Appearance” > “Widgets”) or by editing your theme files and inserting qtrans_generateLanguageSelectCode($type) [$type = ‘image’|’text’|’both’|’dropdown’] where you want the language chooser to appear. As an alternative you can also install a language switcher plugin, but this has still to be tested.
The easiest way to test your translations is to activate the Language Chooser widget and go to your translated post. By switching the language with the Language Chooser, the language of the post should change accordingly.
Use it together with All in one SEO pack
The use of qTranslate together with the All in One SEO Packis quite easy: you just have to insert language tags in the format
[ :en], [ :de], [ :fr], [ :it], etc.
inside the SEO fields (remove the space between “[” and “:”). For example I will put the following into the SEO “Title” field for this post:
[ :en]qTranslate - The multilingual WordPress plugin[ :de]qTranslate - Das mehrsprachige WordPress plugin[ :fr]qTranslate - Le plugin WordPress plurilingue[ :it]qTranslate - Il plugin WordPress plurilingue
The same applies also for the other fields.
Managing a multilingual blog is not an easy task, but with qTranslate it gets a lot easier: you have many options, you handle all your translations in a single post and can even integrate translations into the All in One SEO Pack fields. Now what is missing is only the time needed to translate the posts in different languages…
You use a multilingual plugin for WordPress? You have any tips & tricks to share with the community? Feel free to post your feedback in the comments.