qTranslate WordPress language Plugin

The qTranslate plugin translates your website into multiple languages using WordPress. There are 2 major caveates that I will discuss in this article, which need to be resolved external to the plugin and that is where I have run into a few bugs.

Benefits of qTranslate Plugin:

  • Localize (Translate) your website into many languages.
  • Have your website seen all around the world and get indexed in internal search engines and get more traffic.
  • Using WordPress, makes it is possible to hire third parties to translate for you directly.
  • Automated language translation services are available.
  • Supports additional domains like es.strategicpoints.com if you want to use this method.

Challenges of qTranslate Plugin:

  • qTranslate has been around for many versions, yet we ran into a few bugs.
  • Installation is not as simple as plug and play. You have to make choices and sometimes DNS changes.
  • Support for problems is still not for non programmers. You may need a technical person to help out.
  • Needs to be planned out and may require a dev environment for larger websites.
  • Issues when you run WordPress Upgrade, often qTranslate needs to be upgraded. WATCHOUT FOR THIS ONE!

Unlike other simple plugins, this plugin allows you to create domains like es.strategicpoints.com and de.strategicpoints.com if you choose. The default would be simply strategicpoints.com/es/ and strategicpoints.com/de/, with the language represented by the directory. So you have to decide which format you are using, either a directory method or a domain name method.

The other issue that needs to be resolved is whether or not you are going to use translations that are done by hand or by a “machine”. By machine this means a translation engine has attempted to translate it for you. Apparently this old translation that most on the web used to call Babelfish, because they were an early automatic translator, as well as systran, is still giving it a go. I guess one day it would be ready for primetime.

After our first attempt at the qTranslate WordPress plugin about a year ago on a small website, there was a second attempt at it this past fall, to translate one of our medium sized websites into 3 additional languages. The first time at this had its pitfalls, but the second time around has been a lot better.

First issue that we ran into is what to call the domain names. After deciding to go with the domain name approach, we found that we were restricted to es.strategicpoints.com… This was a bit disappointing, because we had originally wanted to come up with completely different domain names per language. Maybe this will be a feature that will be added.

The next issue we ran into and still have a problem with is, once we turned it on, the wrong default language kept coming up. We wanted it to be English, but it came up German! The only thing we could think of was to set the default site to en.strategicpoints.com (you realize I am just using this site as an example). And we had to use .htaccess to do this. Not good. But of course marketing folks did not like the en. in front of a site, so we were stuck between a rock and hardplace. Have not yet resolved and we may have to hack the site to get it work right.

Overall it saved us thousands of dollars, and yes we did run into a bug with qTranslate. That said, it still was a big lifesaver and appears to be worth its weight in gold. So, if you have a bit of technical team around and want to local/translate, this is the way to do it in WordPress. In fact I can see sites switching to WordPress for just getting the qTranslate running.

UPDATE

So as an update to the particular bug I ran into using qTranslate, I went through and found out what the real problem was and fixed it manually. Basically the issue was that the program was looking for “de” at the beginning of the domain name. So what was happening is dev.strategicpoints.com was pointing automatically to the German language. That is because “dev” begins with “de”. The qTranslate plugin was just looking at the first two characters of the domain name, and assumed it was de.strategicpoints.com.

How did I fix this?

If you are having this bug, which I doubt, because you would have to have a domain with three parts that begins with either “de”, “es” or “en” or something like that, you could go into the qtranslate_core.php file and correct the problem. That is what I did. I went in and edited the open source code and checked for the full domain name string, “dev.strategicpoints.com” and when it matched I set the language to “en” or english, my base language. Leave me a comment below if you have any additional questions about how I fixed this, though I highly doubt that anybody will have this problem. The biggest issue now that I have solved it, is remembering to not overwrite the old plugin with a new one without fixing the code I placed in there. ..

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