How to localize & translate WordPress theme

Author: Categories: WordPress
Updated: July 4, 2014
How to localize & translate WordPress theme

WordPress is most used CMS system for creating both personal and commercial websites. There are tens of thousands different WordPress themes (free and paid). Most of them are in English. If you want to have a website with a professional look, it is necessary to localize WordPress theme into your native language. Localization means to translate all text from chosen theme into other languages.

Every theme contains a language file with the file ending .pot, which you can use to translate the theme. The .pot file is a list of all the texts used in the theme files in English language. These files are named according to the used language (en_EN, po, de_DE.po, etc.). You can go go through every line of text and translate it to your native language (e.g. using software Poedit, which is available for free at poedit.net). Afterwards, you can you save it. There are another files .mo, which are compiled exports from the .po files and used by WordPress to translate the theme.

The easiest way to localize your theme is using the plugin -“Codestyling Localization.” This plugin is free and downloadable from official WordPress plugin directory (wordpress.org/plugins). After the plugin installation and activation, go to

Fig. Main page of Codestyling Localization plugin

Fig. Main page of Codestyling Localization plugin

Tools > Localization and translate the theme. Simple follow the plugin instructions. It is very easy, but according to the theme complexity it requires an appropriate time. From my own experiences, I must say, and it is a near work. Therefore, I recommend finding a theme, which is already localized in your native language.

If you want to have your post and pages in your native language as well, you need to use one of translation plugins. Some of them are free, others paid. The best one is “The WordPress Multilingual Plugin.“ This plugin is excellent, with intuitive interface and compatible with lots of themes and plugins. The price is $29 – $195.

Fig. Example of usage of WPML plugin

Fig. Example of usage of WPML plugin

As you see, if you want to translate any WordPress theme into you native language, you need to buy at least one translation plugin (WPML) and spend lots of time to translate the chosen theme into your native language.

There is another possibility, and it’s to buy an AIT theme.

We have translated all our themes into 16 languages. There you’ll find translated both administration interface and front end design.

Fig. Front end design and administration interface of AIT theme Langwitch

Fig. Front end design and administration interface of AIT theme Sportclub

Besides it, our themes include a module, which you can use to translate your pages or posts into 16 different languages. It’s very simple as you see at picture underneath.

Fig. Translation of a post in AIT WordPress theme

Fig. Translation of a post in AIT WordPress theme

Immediately you can add to any post or page with the translation into a different language. Working with this module is very easy, and you can fast create a multilingual website or blog.

As already mentioned, free theme are very attractive for “zero price”, but additional costs can be higher than the price for a premium theme. Think on the phrase “time is money”and the time, you have spent localizing your theme, you could use working on website content.

Comments (2)

  1. Mamdouh Samy

    Hi,
    I love site and your themes and I especially like the idea of translated themes out of the box, however, I noticed that you didn’t’ mention Arabic as one of the languages and hope you can start to consider that.

    I’ve personally translated some themes to Arabic before and would be glad to help you if you would consider adding Arabic to your languages.

    Regards,
    Mamdouh

  2. sonique

    Ľuboš, you can also use the localization management platform https://poeditor.com/ to translate WordPress themes.

    The benefits of localizing strings this way is that it you can do collaborative translation projects, you can even crowdsource the translations.

    You can also use POEditor with this plugin to automate the string translation process https://wordpress.org/plugins/poeditor/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comments help us to improve our products and services so we keep recording them. We use the comment also for future reference. For further details please see our privacy policy

Pre-sale Questions