• Support multi-language, mainly in English and supplemented by Chinese;
  • When visiting pages begin with /, e.g. /about.html, /posts/hello-world, English pages would be shown;
  • When visiting pages began with /zh/, e.g. /zh/about.html, /zh/posts/hello-world, Chinese pages would be shown;
  • When visiting ../hello-world posts, corresponding langugage posts would be jumped via the link;
  • Posts which are specified language would only be shown in archive and index pages.


  • As 404.html page was not supported for separate language file, two langugage content would be shown on it at the same time.
  • The jekyll-paginate-v2, a plugin supports pagination for multi-language, is not supported by GitHub Pages. So the blog has not been supported pagination so far. See details below.
  • It is a little bit tricky to show date in multi-language way. Some string formatting work should be taken as it is able to have done that but is not a better way. Please see Jekyll Date Formatting.


Firstly, I found a i18n plugin Jekyll Multiple Languages Plugin.

The number of stars in this plugin is the most among multi-language plugins, and there are many other related multi-language plugins listed. You can use it without hesitate if you don’t want to setup custom configuration.

Currently for simplistic and customize, and also omitting unnecessary features in the plugin, I choose to use custom rules to support multi-language.

1. Single Post Setting

There are two properties needed to added for every posts and pages

  • uid for unique post whose English and Chinese are the same uid;
    • Note: uid can be declared in any other name, e.g document_id.
  • locale for language symbol which specify what pages should be shown.

So add configuration in Front Matter of every posts

uid: hello-world
locale: zh

2. For Posts

It is very redundant that locale has to be added in Front Matter every posts at every time. Do not repeat yourself. I am going to use different folders to distinguish posts in different languages and set a default value to locale in config file.

Create zh folder to store Chinese posts in _posts directory, which origin _posts folder is used to store English posts. When visiting /zh/posts/some-posts Chinese pages are shown.

(Of course, follow below to set another path to use different directory)

  - values: #1 
      locale: en
  - scope: #2
      path: _posts/zh/**
      type: posts
      locale: zh
  • #1 not set for scope means global default: all posts and pages are default to en;
  • #2 set for scope means in the path of _posts/zh/**: all posts are default to zh.

3. For Common String

The common string is such as Archive and About from menu or Next Page.

By the feature of site.data, create locales folder in /_data directory, and create en.yaml and zh.yaml for storing English and Chinese string.

# in /_data/locales/en.yml
  about: About
  archive: Archive

# in /_data/locales/zh.yml
  about: 关于
  archive: 归档

Replace the old words specified by locale

<nav class="menu-content">
  <a href="/about">{{ site.data.locales[page.locale].menu.about }}</a>

4. For Pages

The pages are archive.html and about.html such page type in Jekyll.

As use of collection, _zh folder need to be created independently in root directory.

    output: true

And create corresponding files in _zh folder

  • /menu/archive.html
  • /menu/about.html

5. Language Selector

The selector is a button for switching pages or posts between different locale.

Create a new file named language-selector.html in _includes folder.

Finding corresponding language page from posts, pages and collections.

{% if page.uid %} <!-- #1 -->
<div class="language-selector">
  {% assign postsOrPages = site.posts <!-- #2 -->
    | concat: site.pages  
    | concat: site.zh 
    | where: "uid", page.uid 
    | sort: "locale" %}
  {% for item in postsOrPages %}
  {% unless item.url contains '/page/' %} <!-- #3 -->
  <a href="{{ item.url }}" class="{{ item.locale }}">
    {{ site.data.locales[item.locale].name }} <!-- #4 -->
  {% endunless %}
  {% endfor %}
{% endif %}
  • #1 Selector is shown only on uid existed;
  • #2 Concat the list of posts, pages and zh to find the same uid pages;
  • #3 Filter the pages not in /pages/ folder;
  • #4 Get the common string of language symbol form locale

6. For Archive Page

The posts should be filtered in specified locale language manually in archive.html.

There is a convenient method to get the next post by post.next which dose not guarantee the same locale posts shown in one page. Should do an alternative way

<!-- archive.html -->

<!-- use the index of posts instead of post.next -->
{% assign posts = site.posts | where: "locale", page.locale %}

{% for index in (0..posts.size) limit: posts.size %}
	{% assign post = posts[index] %}
	{% assign prevIndex = index | minus: 1 %}
	{% assign prev = posts[prevIndex] %}

	{% capture year %}{{ post.date | date: '%Y' }}{% endcapture %}
	{% capture prevYear %}{{ prev.date | date: '%Y' }}{% endcapture %}

	{% if year != prevYear or index == 0 %}
		<h3>{{ year }}</h3>
	{% endif %}

	<li itemscope>
  	<a href="{{ post.url }}">{{ post.title }}</a>
  	<p class="post-date"><span>{{ post.date | date: "%B %-d" }}</span></p>
{% endfor %}

The key point is that using the index of posts after filtered by locale instead of post.next.

7. Multi-Language SEO

Create a new page named language-seo.html in _included folder to specify corresponding language pages by hreflang.

{% assign posts = site.posts | where:"uid", page.uid | sort: 'locale' %}
{% for post in posts %}
  <link rel="alternate" hreflang="{{ post.locale }}" href="{{ post.url }}" />
{% endfor %}

As well as include in head.html.

<!-- Language SEO -->
{% include language-seo.html %}


Some unimportant and regular configuration are omitted, please to see the Source: lexcao.github.io if you want to learn the full setup.


One More Thing

Support Pagination

The old pagination plugin jekyll-pagination-v1 is no longer suitable for the short of filtering by the criteria. It is not able to show the one language list of posts on specified language.

Fortunately, jekyll-pagination-v2 announced to support pagination on multi-language way. As I mentioned above, the permitted plugins provided by GitHub Pages does not contain this plugin. Which you need to deploy automated manually if you want to use. Here are setup jekyll-pagination-v2.

Gemfile install

$ gem 'jekyll-paginate-v2'

_config.yaml setup

Note: the configuration of v2 and v1 is not compatible.

  - jekyll-paginate-v2
  enabled: true
  per_page: 5
  permalink: /page/:num/
  sort_reverse: true

pages configs

You need add more configuration in Front Matter of index.html to paginate.

# /index.html
  enabled: true # yes, enable is needed here
  locale: en

pagination.locale is to specify the criteria of the language according to locale of the pages. I use locale for my custom rules for multi-language so that the pagination use the same filed for reusable.

Correspondly, create index.html in _zh folder.

# /_zh/index.html
permalink: /zh/ # I don't like suffix of .html so do this
  enabled: true
  locale: zh

Note: I came cross a problem here that the pagination was not working after I put the index.html into _zh folder, which has not been solved yet.

The temporary solution was to put zh/index.html file to the root directory, and renamed to index_zh.html.


The use of paginating is as same as the v1 does. Please see Pagination.