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How to Install WordPress in Other Languages

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How to Install WordPress in Other Languages

In the past, we have written a fairly through guide on how to install WordPress by using 1-click install method, manual 5 minute install, as well as local installs. Recently it was brought to our attention that we missed a fairly important part: localization of WordPress installs. WordPress is used on millions of websites around the globe. One of the reasons behind its popularity is the fact that WordPress is easy to localize and can be used to build websites in any language. In this article we will show you how to install WordPress in other languages, so you can change the default language in WordPress.

WordPress in German

Things You Need Before Localizing WordPress

You will need to have a domain name and a web hosting account. To install WordPress, please follow our tutorial on how to install WordPress.

Now that you have installed WordPress, lets look at how to set it up can for your language.

Changing Language in WordPress

WordPress makes it super-easy to select the language. Simply go to Settings » General and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you will see the option to select site language.

Changing WordPress site language from WordPress admin area

WordPress is fully translated into many languages. You will be only able to see languages that are fully translated. If you do not see your language in the list, this does not mean that it is not available or that you can not use it.

Manually Installing WordPress Translation Files For Other Languages

WordPress uses gettext system for translations (localization and internationalization). WordPress volunteers from around the world use a main .pot template file to translate WordPress in their languages. This results into two files for each language. Portable Object format file with .po extension, and Machine Object file with .mo extension. You will need a .mo file for your language.

Go to WordPress in your Language page to see if there is a WordPress translation available for your language.

You need to download and upload the .mo language file to your /wp-content/languages/ OR /wp-includes/languages/ folder. You will have to create a new folder called languages in the wp-content directory.

Once you have uploaded all the .mo and .po files that came with your language, the next step is to tell WordPress to use these language files. Open your wp-config.php file and add the following code:

// Replace fr_FR with your language and country code
define ('WPLANG', 'fr_FR');

Replace fr_FR with your language and country code. The first two letters are for the language code and the other two letters are for the country code. You can find your language and country codes here.

Once you add that text to your wp-config, WordPress will automatically start displaying the admin area in your language. For those of you who don’t want to mess with codes, you can use this plugin called WP Native Dashboard. This plugin allows you to easily install and enable WordPress in your language. Another beauty of WP Native Dashboard plugin is that it allows you to have multiple languages. If you have multiple authors on your site, then you can give them the ability to use WordPress in their native language.

The installation files only convert the WordPress administration areas in your language. You may still need to translate your WordPress theme or other plugins. This can be challenging specially if you have a right-to-left language such as Arabic. While the default WordPress themes (twentytwelve, etc) comes built-in with RTL styles, other third party themes may not.

Help Translate WordPress in Your Language

If you did not find an available translation for WordPress in your language, then perhaps you can help create one. WordPress is an open source software, and all available translations were created by volunteers through out the world. Check out Translating WordPress page for more information on how you can contribute.

We hope that this article helped you install WordPress in other languages. For questions and feedback please leave a comment below.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress lovers led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  • WPBeginner Staff

    Please see our guide on how to find and translate a translation ready WordPress theme.

  • WPBeginner Staff

    Yes you can. We will try to cover this in an upcoming tutorial. Thanks.

  • Arifur Rahman

    Thanks for the tutorial. I was searching for this tutorial for a long time and today I got it. I am grateful to you.

  • Piet

    Good tutorial and I think it is very important that people understand how it is done manually.

    For people that don’t have a lot of time or just cannot be bothered, there is an alternative method to localize your WordPress install by using the plugin WordPress Language (by the same developers as WPML –

  • Mathew Porter

    Nice article, might be able to deploy this for a wp project we did that is being handed over to a french distributer. thanks.

  • Faiz Alam

    wow!! its great to see, how to install wp in other language…

  • galaxyes

    I want to keep the WP admin in English, but show a lang=”ES” in the code, because the content is in Spanish. How can I change that in the whole site?

  • Kris

    Nice tut.

  • DSchragg

    This is great for translating the backend, but what about the front?
    I’ve used WPML in the past and was wondering if there were any better options out there…?

    • Piet

      Important to keep in mind that if you want to use WPML that you do NOT need a localized WordPress install ever.
      WPML needs the default (US English) WordPress install.

  • Chaim

    Thank you very much for this post, it was very helpful.
    Can you please publish a post about how to translate WordPress themes to a right-to-left language? If it is too complicated, can you please write some guide lines?
    Thank you very much,

  • Zimbrul

    Didn’t know about this method. I use another one instead.
    I use the WordPress install zip file in the language I desire (mostly Romanian) and the whole installation is in Romanian. Now, I’ve got the whole site in Romanian but I cannot stand the admin area so I use “Admin in English” plugin to convert the Dashboard in English, the language of choice for me when using the Dashboard.
    Obviously, I use the manual install of the WordPress as I can set up the database and the password to my liking (and I think any blogger should know at any time how to install WordPress manually).