After our last few posts on translating the content on your WordPress site, you may be wondering if there’s also a way to translate the admin panel and other “back-end” features as well. As a matter of fact, there is, and in this guide we’ll show you a few ways to do it!
Like many other major sites and projects out there (such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), the core WordPress application, as well its documentation and many of the plugins in their public repository, have been translated by multilingual members of its own core base of users. In fact, WordPress is currently available in over 65 languages thanks to these efforts.
So how do you use WordPress in a language other than English?
If you’re launching a new site with a fresh installation of WordPress, one of the first steps you do when running the installer script is selecting the language. This not only uses that language for the remainder of the installation and initial setup, it also sets that as your site’s language in the back-end as well.
If you already have WordPress installed and want to change the language it uses, this is still a simple process. From the wp-admin panel, go to the Settings » General menu and find a dropdown labeled “Site Language” near the middle of that page. Simply scroll through and select you’re preferred language, save your changes, and voilà—WordPress should now be displayed in the language you chose.
As mentioned, WordPress has been translated into 65 languages, but as you’re probably aware there are many, many more than 65 languages spoken on earth. If you want WordPress translated into another language that is not available from one of the options above, there is a third method you can use as well.
Visit the WordPress Polyglots page to view the current list of languages that volunteers have translated WordPress into. From that section you can also see the percentage of text that has been translated for each of those languages as well. Once you’ve found the language you need, click on the “View Team Page” link on the right-hand side of the table to view more information on the translations in that language.
From that page you will find a “Download language pack” button. Clicking this will export all of the available translations to a Machine Object message catalog (.mo) file. After the download has finished, unzip it and upload the .mo file to the /wp-content/languages/ directory of your WordPress site via FTP, then return to the Settings » General page once more. Refresh the page and the new language should now be available as an option. Now simply select it using the steps listed in the “Option 2” section above!
If you are looking for information on how to translate your theme, plugins, and site content, please see our previous post, Creating a Multilingual WordPress Site Easily, for more information on how you can do that quickly and easily.