WordPress localization

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How-tos and resources for localizing your WordPress website — that is, for making your Wordpress site in a different language (such as Tibetan), or even in several languages.

Localizing your WordPress site

You can make your site in more than one language just by adding posts or pages in that language. But that can be hard to manage, especially as the site gets bigger, and if you have several people translating. Also it makes the site look kind of disorganised. There are plugins which help you keep track of the translations and translators, and coordinate the original-language posts with the translated ones. Here are a few:

An addition to WordPress to make it easy to manage your website in multiple languages.
February 2011: WPML has now become a commercial plugin - from $29 to $79 / year. The current free version will remain free.
They will "also give free access to non profits" See blog post 2 February 2011
  • Transposh - Translation filter for WordPress
The Transposh filter allows in-context quick translation of websites. It also allows you to crowd-source the translation to your users.


Like most software, WordPress uses the standard .po files which contain the translations in a special format, and the standard gettext program is built into WordPress to read those files.

A .po file can be edited in any text editor. However there is software to make it easy to organise the file and keep track of the translations. One popular program is POEdit.

  • Using POEdit:
POEdit screenshots: http://www.poedit.net/screenshots.php
Translating with POEdit, at WordPress.org
Fixing errors in .pot file, at Jangchup Dorjee's website.


Any .po file can be edited in a text editor, and compiled to the .mo file easily at the command line. But special software can be useful to track your translations, and combine the editing, syntax checking, and compilation all in one program.

  • POEdit http://www.poedit.net/ - Runs on unix/linux, MacOSX, and MSWindows. This seems to be the most commonly used.
  • There are others - will add.

Some definitions

CMS: Content Management System - Software for building a website.
Internationalization: Making software in a way so that it is easy to "localize" it — easy to make it work in different languages.
i18n: abbreviation for internationalization — i-18letters-n
Localization: "Locale" means "place". 'Localization" means, the process of adapting software for a place's language, by adding parts unique to the place, and translating text. Find more on the Localization page.
l10n: abbreviation for localization — l-10letters-n

WordPress websites in Tibetan

More info

http://codex.wordpress.org/Translating_WordPress, at WordPress.org
  • Themes and Plugins:
How to localize WordPress themes and plugins with GetText