I decided to play with the two popular WordPress plugins to see how they meet my needs. Here are some facts at the time of this writing:

WPML Multilingual CMS:

  • downloads: 199,894

qTranslate:

  • downloads: 190,903

Here is purely my personal opinion:

Pros for qTranslate

  • provides easy one-click buttons on admin menu to localise the admin interface; WPML may have the ability, and I just could not find how to do it after playing with it for a while. I am under the impression that one has to translate the interface string manually, as it provides such capability under its menu.
  • allows the user to choose what flag image to display. For example, I can easily find where to change the flag image for the English language from the British flag to the Canadian flag. I cannot do the same with WPML – either it is not supported or the feature is buried somewhere I could not find it, as an experienced developer.
  • The content of various language versions are stored within the same post as the original post, which makes more semantic sense for Search Engine, and also for content organization. Different language version are just delimited by some special tags.

Cons for qTranslate

  • The post editor does not work very well under the Visual Tag. Sometimes, the English version text does not appear in the editor window even though it is there. Sometimes, when you click the Chinese tab, the content in the editor does not switch to the Chinese content, even though it is there. Update on this point: I have not seen any such problem the last couple of weeks of using qTranslate.
  • There is a warning above the content editor window that the plugin has not been tested with the WordPress version and urging the user to upgrade to the latest version, despite the fact that the plugin is already the most up-to-date version.

Pros for WPML

  • Appears to be slightly easier to edit the content of various language versions, as they are actually stored in different posts, and therefore there won’t be any editor glitches like qTranslate displays.
  • Has a nicer website for the plugin, which looked like there is a bigger team working of the plugin;
  • Provides theme locatization capability;

Cons for WPML

  • appears to be more complicated to use;
  • translations of the same content are stored as different posts;

In the end, I would decide to use qTranslate for its ease of use and the fact that various language versions are stored in the same post. I would recommend using the html mode in the content editor as the visual mode is buggy.

UPDATE

I am very happy since I decided to use qTranslate. I have been able to found solutions to various challenges related to running multilingual WordPress sites with qTranslate.

  • First of all, in the body of posts and pages, you can use the special tags <!--:en--><!--:--> to enclose specific language content
  • For content inside widgets to be language aware, you can use the short tags [:en] English text  [:zh] 中文内容 in either the widget title or body. I even used the short tags to switch between different image tags embedded in text widgets – as images contain text.
  • For template files, I can also make the theme files language-aware by inserting code in this format:
    <pre language=”php”>
    <?php _e("<!--:en-->english text<!--:--><!--:de-->german text<!--:-->");?>
    </pre>
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6 Responses to “WordPress Plugins for Multilingual Support – WPML vs qTranslate”

  1. Dave says:

    Hi there! You can also try a software localization tool like https://poeditor.com/ to better handle your WordPress multilingual translations. It has a WordPress plugin available that will manage better your translations via the POEditor API: https://wordpress.org/plugins/poeditor/

  2. Donato says:

    Hello, I am having similar problems with the visual editor. Do I need to use a shortcode like the one you showed above for only the English part or are there others for the other languages?

  3. Nihad Nagi says:

    TO YOLENE: I might answer your questions on the behalf of Peng Zhang, if he allows me to, because all your questions are very valid to serious implementer. But i will answer them only because i have been surveying these concerns on the same day.

    1) First, qTranslate downloads have exceeded 300,000 UTD.

    2) Regarding, the cost, there is another cost to add, if you consider using professional translation services, but qTranslate offers a very important part, which is the integration with Google translator, which is a major advantage over WPML. Additionally, with the same code used to parse to G-translator engine, you can use another engines, right?.Maybe, the translator will not provide a 100% translation, but its much better than starting from scratch bearing in mind that any translation still needs reviewing anyway.

    3)Your question regarding SEO, is not addressing translation plugins. It addresses XML sitemaps.In our case, we want to have multi-Sitemap XML for every language, there are two plugins that offers support with QTranslate, the same way another with WPML does, here is the link to the plug-in with more downloads

    http://wordpress.org/extend/pl.....e-support/

    and please note that in this case you will need an XML Sitemap index referring to the different sitemaps, a snippet of the code is attached to you below to help you get the gist of the idea:

    view plain

    http://www.mysite.com/sitemap_en.xml

    http://www.mysite.com/sitemap_es.xml

    http://www.mysite.com/sitemap_ru.xml

    I hope I did help you or others.

  4. yolene says:

    Hi,
    Just an SEO question : if Q-translate has both versions ont the same post, does it mean that the post has a one language only url or you can set a language specific url ?
    Does it write with url rewrite types of plugins ?
    And also : what about comments then, are they displayed in all the languages altogether ? Thanks a lot for those details. I’m struggling to chose, and i have to say WPML being 30$ does make me lean toward Qtranslate, but i have to be sure it’s a relevant choice. Thanks

  5. Peng Zhang says:

    I don’t know, Valentin. That wasn’t an issue for me and I have not looked into that.

    Thanks for the comment

    Peng

  6. Hi Peng.
    I used in the past Qtranslate and I found a small issue. This was that when you publsh in social network between tools like Onlywire, shareit, and others, always, add
    in the tittle of the post.

    Are this issue solved in lastest versions?
    Thanks
    Valentin

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