Using a WordPress Plugin WPML I have been getting this error on saving a draft post:

PHP Fatal error:  Cannot use object of type WP_Error as array in /home/user/domain.com/wp-content/plugins/sitepress-multilingual-cms/inc/taxonomy-term-translation/wpml-term-translations.class.php on line 1018

On that line I have

    $new_term = wp_insert_term( $term_name, $taxonomy, array( 'slug' => self::term_unique_slug( sanitize_title( $term_name ), $taxonomy, $post_lang ) ) );
if ( isset( $new_term[ 'term_taxonomy_id' ] ) ) {
                                $ttid_in_correct_lang = $new_term[ 'term_taxonomy_id' ];
                                $trid                 = false;
                                if ( $bulk ) {
                                    $trid = $sitepress->get_element_trid( $ttid, 'tax_' . $taxonomy );
                                $sitepress->set_element_language_details( $ttid_in_correct_lang, 'tax_' . $taxonomy, $trid, $post_lang );

In another thread I read about a similar issue, but not quite the same where a plugin was trying to access an object as an array. Any ideas how I could work this out?

  • Did ask WPML, but their support seems to be overwhelmed so I try to see what I can work out here.
    – rhand
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 5:59

1 Answer 1


Well, it's pretty clear, why this problem occurs.

Let's look at wp_insert_term documentation:

Return Values

(array|WP_Error) The Term ID and Term Taxonomy ID. (Example: array('term_id'=>12,'term_taxonomy_id'=>34))

As you can see, on success this function returns array. But... If any error occurs, it will return an object of WP_Error type.

So... This Fatal Error occurs, because wp_insert_term ends with error and the rest of code doesn't process it correctly.

The simple way to fix this is adding another condition to your if statement like this:

$new_term = wp_insert_term( $term_name, $taxonomy, array( 'slug' => self::term_unique_slug( sanitize_title( $term_name ), $taxonomy, $post_lang ) ) );
if ( !is_wp_error($new_term) && isset( $new_term[ 'term_taxonomy_id' ] ) ) {

But this won't solve the real problem - the error occurring in wp_insert_term call.

  • Yeah I see. Hmmm, well wp_insert_term hangs and WP_Error is returned causing a fatal error. Do understand more now, but yeah that does not deal with the actual issue. Does get things moving though so will mark this as solved and might open another question on cause of wp_insert_term not working.
    – rhand
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 7:08

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