WP Basics – Translating Your WordPress Theme

This is something that comes up often when answering support questions for our customers. So I have written a neat little guide to help you translate your WordPress theme using the POT file provided with your theme.

Tools you will need

The bulk of the work is carried out using a fabulous piece of software called POEdit. This software is free to use, with a premium license available to make the job even easier (aimed more at theme developers). You will also need to ensure your new language files are correctly named, so id suggest to bookmark this list for your reference (we will cover this a little more later)

The process

The begin, head to Settings > General in your WP dashboard and use the language drop down box to change the language to your chosen region. As soon as you hit save you will notice your admin will now display in your chosen language.


Next, load up POedit and select ‘Create New Translation’


You will be asked to supply your POT file next. In most themes you will find this within the languages folder inside your theme itself. Once you have loaded the original language, you can now begin translating things how you want. Begin by choosing your new language from the dropdown box shown.


You will be presented with a long list of strings/text used by your theme – these will range from text seen only in the WP admin area to text used on the front-end (the bit viewers see) so you may wish to only translate certain areas – this is up to you. To translate the text, simply select the line you wish to edit and place your desired translation in the box provided.

Once done, your done, hit save to have POedit save a copy of your new PO and MO files (these are what WordPress uses to determine your custom translated text) and save these to your themes language folder (the same folder where the original POT file was located)

Finally, upload either the new language file to your site via FTP or upload the entire theme via Appearance > Themes and your all set.



    1. Hey there!

      That’s the exact idea of translations & WordPress, even if it’s within the same language, changing some words in the theme is best done using a translation. Why? Well it stops all your changes being overwritten by a theme update!


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