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WordPress Translation - How to Translate your WP

WordPress Translation

You have just decided that you wanted to present your blog or website in another language, great! WordPress translation at first seems daunting.

If you are reading this article in another language than English, it has been automatically translated by our WordPress Multilingual Plugin.

Yet, like most things WordPress, it is well documented and relatively straightforward. We have decided to compile a step by step guide on how to easily translate your WP.

Firstly, before embarking on the process of translating your website, you may want to consider how you will structure your multilingual content. Although a more technical point, it is an important consideration for user experience and SEO purposes. We covered this in another blog previously on whether you should use TLD, Subdomain or Subfolder for Multilingual Content.

Translating your WP Admin area

The WordPress CMS itself is coded in PHP and uses the GNU gettext framework for translation. This involves the use of POEdit for translating the hard-coded admin content. This is termed “string translation” and uses three file types. These are POT (Portable Object Files), PO (Portable Object) and MO (Machine Object) files.

If this seems a bit too technical at this stage, do not fret. For the most popular languages, a fully functional WordPress translation already exits and is ready for download. You can see whether your language is offered here. Select your language and download and install it. If your language does not have a version available for download, then you will have to search the localization repository of WordPress. Select your language from the available options and download the MO file. You must then upload this MO file onto WordPress in the following directory /wp-content/languages. You could also upload this file to wp-includes/languages/.

Once complete, open your WordPress configuration file (wp-config.php) and insert this little snippet:


This would be the code that you would use if you wanted to load WordPress in Hindi for India. The WP localization repository has the identifier that would be applicable to your language. If, however, the translation does not exist for your language or if it is not entirely complete, you will have to get it translated using POedit as mentioned above. Luckily, a professional translation service will be able to do the job for you. You merely have to send the POT file to the translator. He will then use POedit to translate WP.

Translating your Theme

If you have a theme that you would really like to translate, it would be quite helpful if the theme you initially decided to install was translation ready. Most of the best themes these days are already translation ready. This is usually pretty simple to filter for. In the theme Repository on WordPress.org, you can merely select translation ready in the features option under “Feature Filter” (see below)

Translation Ready Theme

Once you have downloaded your theme, you will need extract the POT file from the language folder. What follows is a translation of the theme using POedit (as described above). We covered this extensively in a previous blog on How to Translate a WordPress Theme.

It is also important to point out that the same process should be followed when translating a WordPress plugin. All good plugin developers will include a POT file with their plugin.

Translating your WP Content

Once you have translated your WordPress back-end, theme and plugins, you will want to translate your WordPress content. This is usually the most important step as your content is what will be presented to your users. This is also where the bulk of the volume of a WordPress Translation is and which changes regularly. These aspects make it appear as quite a daunting task to Translate your WP. Not only do you have to handle extensive amounts of content in a number of different languages, but you also have to make certain that your associated translations are updated and correct.

That is where a WordPress Translation plugin comes in handy. What a translation plugin facilitates is the means to make your website multilingual. There is only one plugin that allows for you to easily manage all of your translations in one place side by side. This is the WordPress Multilingual Plugin that we offer. Once installed on your WordPress, it scans all of your source content and selects all of the elements that need to be translated. It then places this content into your own personal translation cloud. You can then choose how you would like to translate your content (automatically or professionally) into as many languages as you like.

Below is a screenshot from an example post in your WordPress admin. All you have to do is select the option to send your content to the Scrybs cloud (arrow). Once you update your post, the content is automatically sent to your Scrybs Dashboard.

WordPress Admin GF

Once sent to the cloud, you merely have to log onto the Scrybs cloud with your account details. The Scrybs dashboard has all the information on your translations websites and account details (see below).

Scrybs Dashboard Page 1

You merely select the website on the left column and you will be taken to the content and translations for this website. Here, you can select the language you would like to translate to. All of the html content is ready to be translated in whichever way you please (below screenshot).

Second Page DB

Hence, a simple solution to WordPress Translation. Your content is sent straight from your WP admin area and can be viewed side by side with the translated version. There is no copy paste required at all!


Now that you have all the tools to translate your WP, there should be nothing stopping you from launching your website or blog in another language. Of course, offering content in another language is merely the first step in properly localizing a user experience. You will have to consider local conventions other than language. For example, which way is the language read? If it is left-to-right, you will have to consider a different format for your page. Similarly, if you have a commercial WordPress website, then you will want to adapt the entire user experience.You will have to consider the type of SEO strategy (if any) that you want to provide in other regions. Here at Scrybs, we offer a range of localization solutions to suite your business.

Pascal Evertz