Multilingual Blog in WordPress: qTranslate, WPML or Multisite Feature

As I setup this blog on a new platform, I wanted to make sure it is multilingual directly from the beginning.

Disappointed I realized that WordPress still does not provide options for multilingual blogs originally. I don’t understand that, because obviously many people have exactly this problem: how to get the WordPress blog multilingual.

While searching for a solution, I basically found three useful options:

  • Plug-in qTranslate
  • Plug-in WPML
  • Using the multisite feature of WordPress itself


When I tested this plug-in I saw quite fast that it does not provide slug translation for posts, pages, categories and tags. This way this plug-in is useless in my opinion, because without a slug translation search engine optimization is basically impossible.

Obviously the original plug-in developer did not like or had no time to implement that feature yet, but although there are already other guys dealing with that issue (see this forum post), I don’t want to use such an incomplete plug-in right now.


On the first sight WPML looks like a good alternative. It is not free (anymore), but I don’t mind paying some dollars for a good plug-in.

But there are following reasons why I will not use it and asked for refunding my money (which is possible within 30 days):

  1. I want to have all languages (including the default one) in a subdirectory and this is not supported by WPML. The workaround provided in the forum is a little bit too “hacky” (you never know which problems you’ll get with such hacks later on).
  2. it is unhandy that WPML does not allow to have tags and categories with the same names and slugs for different languages. If different languages are placed in a subdirectory (or even subdomain), there is no need to have cross-language unique names and slugs.
  3. there is a bug in WPML where posts are losing the translation relation to each other. No explanation or solution was provided therefore till now.

But I would like to add that refunding the money was done very fast (within few hours) as promised by the company; so it’s save to test WPML yourself.

WordPress Multisite

Obviously there are not many options left. Therefore I go this way now.

Of course, there is a drawback with this solution, too: translated posts are not directly linked to each other and therefore the reader cannot switch to another language of the post easily. But maybe I’ll create a plug-in to fix this later on myself.

At least you don’t need to rely on other plug-ins for multilingual blogs with this solution.

Here I explain how to add language selection flags although using WordPress Multisite.

And which option you are using for your multilingual blog?

This post is also available in Deutsch.

10 thoughts on “Multilingual Blog in WordPress: qTranslate, WPML or Multisite Feature

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  3. Hi, I’m also trying some translation plugins, and came across

    Why I think it is pretty cool is that you can have your site automatically translated in just about any language, but you can control translations for your more important languages yourself by changing the translations manually.

    Example: I write my website in English, I edit googles automatic translations (done by the plugin) for German and Dutch so the translations are correct. For other languages like French I just let the plugin do it’s work.

    Every language has it’s own URL that is SEO friendly including meta tags.

    Would love your opionion on this, cause it almost seems to good to be true ;)

    • Hello Flow,

      in my opinion no serious website should have automatic translations at all. I would never add any automatic translation to one of my own websites.

      And regarding manual translation the question is if you can translate with gTranslate really everything including page titles, categories, keywords and so on.

      Currently far the best (and free) solution I would is the one in this post.

      Best regards

      • Hi Andreas,

        I totally agree automatic translations should not be used. However, the manual translation mode is very impressive. It does ie translate META tags, and the way of translating is super easy. You select a paragraph, click edit, and you get the original text and a place where you can type your translation. Click save, and that’s it. No more double pages, confusion, lots of extra work, and it comes straight out of a cached folder so it’s super fast.

        I’m gonna try it for some weeks and see how it goes! :)

        • Hello Flow,

          didn’t have time to test it myself now, but the question is if you can also translate tags and categories and the most important thing: also every slug of posts, tags, categories and so on (at least on their webpage I don’t read something like that, so I guess it is not able to translate slugs). But only if that’s the case, it’s a good translation plug-in – also from the SEO perspective.

          Just post your blog URL: it would be interesting to see how it looks like when translated with gTranslate.

          Best regards

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