English is the default language for WordPress backend. However, we can not simply overlook the fact that WordPress users from non-English speaking countries are rapidly increasing. In light of this situation, WordPress has improved the platform’s capability to accommodate languages from all over the world. If you are interested to know which languages WordPress support, go through this link. The translation team is working continuously to make WordPress completely available in these languages.
In this post, I will talk about how you can translate your WordPress backend from English to your desired language. Mind you, we will not talk here about how to translate your website. We have already published an instructive article on WP website translation last month.
How to Translate WordPress Backend
Before we go into details, first let us give you a brief overview of how these language things work.
As you might know, WordPress uses GNU localization framework to translate it into different languages. Three different file formats are used in this framework-
POT ( Portable Object Template )
It contains the texts / words that are ready for translation.
PO ( Portable Object )
It contains the text that has been translated from POT files.
MO ( Machine Object )
These are basically the PO files that have been converted into a machine-readable format.
Before you can use WordPress backend in your language other than English, you must check if WordPress is available in your desired language. WordPress is available in some completely translated version such as Japanese, Portuguese, Hindi etc. You can install them just like the general version and start using it. But what if your language is not readily available? In that case, you need to go through the following process and translate your backend at your convenience!
Step-1: Find Your Language File From Translation Repository
For the other language versions, there is a repository where official translation files are stored and maintained. Find out if your language is available in the list and download the .mo files. Using a FTP solution, upload those files to /wp-content/languages or wp-includes/languages. There is a possibility that you do not have a language folder in that location. If no, you should definitely create one so that you can store all your language files in one place.
Step-2: Configure The Language Files For Your WordPress
Then you need to open up wp-config.php file from your WordPress install and add this code.
define ( ‘WPLANG’ , ‘es_ES’ ) ;
This code is for using the Spanish language in Spain. Set your own language and country code instead of ‘es_ES’. You can find the official language codes in this link.
Whenever you update the wp-config.php file, the language of your WordPress backend will be reset accordingly. Let me give you a reminder again that it will apply only to your dashboard NOT TO your website frontend.
Can not find your language?
It is possible that WordPress is not available in your language. You can voluntary contribute by creating and updating the translation file in your language. Just log into wordpress.org with your own account and let others know how you can contribute!
As you can see, it’s very easy to translate your WordPress backend. There are also opportunities of contributing in the community. If you think there are any other easier ways of doing these tasks, then let us know in the comments. We will be happy to mention your name in our blog if you could give us something helpful!