As a Belgian web designer, I often need to build web sites in multiple languages. But how to translate your WordPress dashboard and create / show content in different languages? The answer is simple and free: qTranslate.
With qTranslate you can write your content in more then 1 language very easily. It doesn’t matter if you need 2, 3 or more languages, qTranslate can handle this. You can even choose the language of your dashboard!
Watch the Video Tutorial!
Installation and Configuration
Installation of qTranslate
First of all, install and activate the qTranslate plugin (if you don’t know how to do this, read my previous post “How to install a WordPress plugin”).
The “Language Management” Screen
Now it’s time to configure the plugin! In the left menu, choose “Settings” > “Languages”. The following screen will open:
Let’s take a look at the settings:
- Default Language / Order: here you can select the default language of your blog or site. You can also change the language order. This order is used in the qTranslate widget. Out of the box “Deutsch”, “English” and “Chinese” are used, but in a couple of minutes I’ll show you how you can change these default languages.
- Hide untranslated content: If checked, posts will be hidden if the content is not available for the selected language. If unchecked, a message will appear showing all the languages the content is available in. (This function will not work correctly if you installed qTranslate on a blog with existing entries. In this case you will need to take a look at “Convert Database” under “Advanced Settings”)
- Detect Browser Language: When the frontpage is visited via bookmark/external link/type-in, the visitor will be forwarded to the correct URL for the language specified by his browser.
The “Languages” Screen
Under the “Language management” screen you’ll see the “Languages” screen. Her you can:
- select the languages you need
- edit languages
- add languages
For now, all you have to know is how to select the languages you need. You can choose this in the right part of the screen:
Here, in the “Action” column, you can enable or disable the languages you need. For example, if you don’t need the “Deutsch” language, just click on “Disable” next to “Deutsch”. If you wan to enable “Nederlands”, jus click on “Enable” next to “Nederlands”.
Once you selected the languages you need, don’t forget to choose the default language again on top of the “Language management” screen.
The Advanced Settings
You can find the advanced settings under the general settings (“Language management” screen). Click on “Show” to see the advanced settings:
If you’re just starting with qTranslate, the only important advanced setting is the “URL Modification Mode:
For SEO reasons, I always select “Use Pre-Path Mode (Default, puts /en/ in front of URL)”. This will result in this kind of urls: http://www.myblog.com/en/my-post/.
I also always uncheck the “Hide URL language information for default language.” option. By default, there is no url language information for the default language, but I prefer that all my urls have the same structure.
qTranslate Services Settings
You can find the qTranslate Services Settings under the General Settings (“Language management” screen). Click on “Show” to see the qTranslate Services Settings:
With this setting enabled, you’ll be able to use professional human translation services with a few clicks.
If you just want to fill in the translated content yourself, there’s no need to enable this option.
The “qTranslate Language Chooser” Widget
Okay, at this point you installed and configured your WordPress blog or site. You don’t have content yet AND your readers aren’t able to choose a language yet. Luckely, this isn’t very difficult. We can use the “qTranslate Language Chooser” widget for this.
Select “Appearance” > “Widgets” in the left menu. Now, in the list with available widgets, search for the “qTranslate Language Chooser” widget and move this to the widget area where you want the language chooser.
Once you moved this widget to the preferred widget area, the options screen of this widget opens:
Let’s take a look at these options:
- Title: give in a title (this could be something simple and clear like “Choose your language”)
- Hide title: check this if you want to hide the title of this widget
- Display: how do you want the languages to be displayed: text only, image (flags) only, text and images or a dropdown box?
Adding Content in Multiple Languages
Now it’s time to add some content in multiple languages. This is the same for posts and pages, but in this example I’ll show you how to do this with a new post.
Choose “Posts” > “Add New”. Now, let’s take a look at the following screen:
As you can see, there are some differences with a regular WordPress installation (without the qTranslate plugin installed):
- In stead of 1 title, you have to fill in a title for each language (1)
- There is a content tab (2) for each language, so you can write a post for each language.
Choosing the Language of the WordPress Dashboard
qTranslate can also function as a way to translate your WordPress dashboard. Sometimes you need a dashboard in multiple languages. qTranslate adds this function by default. The languages you chose also appear in the left menu. Click on a language to change the language of your dashboard:
New on January 4th 2012: Okay, you translated the content of your blog or your web site. But what to do if you also want to translate your widgets? There are 2 ways to do this. Read how to do this in my new article “How to Translate Widgets Using qTranslate or Widget Logic“.
After using other plugins (like WPML), I finally stick with qTranslate for translating my sites. It’s free, easy to install, and most important of all, it’s very easy to use! My clients like it, so for me there is no reason to look for another plugin to translate my sites then qTranslate!