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.
Things You Need Before Localizing WordPress
You will need to have completed the basic WordPress install before you can install the language pack. Yes, you do 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 you can translate it for your language.
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. WordPress is available in many languages including but not limited to: Spanish, French, Arabic, Korean, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese (Han), Portuguese, and many others.
You need to download and upload the .mo language file to your
/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.