How To Use WordPress In Other Languages

Learn how to configure your WordPress site for use in another language.

How To Use WordPress In Another Language

How To Translate WordPress Into Another Language

Have you ever wondered if WordPress can be configured to display your content in different languages?

The answer is … yes, absolutely! You can configure WordPress to display content in almost every language available and reach new international markets.

Although WordPress displays content in U.S. English by default, the software has the built-in capability to be used in other languages. WordPress makes available themes and translation files for other languages and provides language support for over 70 languages.

Important

In this tutorial, you will learn about the international language capabilities of WordPress and how to configure your WordPress site’s default language.

To learn how to easily create a multilingual site using WordPress plugins, see the tutorial below:

How Many Languages Can Your WordPress Site Translate?

The WordPress community has already translated WordPress into over 70 languages and they are currently working on translating many more.

You can set up a WordPress site or blog to display your content in any of the languages below as your site’s default language:

AfrikaansGreekPersian
AlbanianHebrewPolish
ArabicHindiPortuguese
AzeriIcelandicRomanian
BasqueIndonesianRussian
BelarusianItalianSakha
BengaliJapaneseSerbian
BosnianJavaneseSinhala
BulgarianKazakhSlovak
ChineseKhmerSlovenian
CroatianKoreanSpanish
CzechKurdishSundanese
DanishKyrgyzSwedish
DutchLatvianTajik
EsperantoLithuanianTamil
EstonianMacedonianThai
FaroeseMagyarTurkish
FinnishMalagasyUighur
FrenchMalayUkrainian
GaelicMongolianUrdu
GalicianMyanmarUzbek
GeorgianNiasVietnamese
GermanNorwegianWelsh

Using WordPress In Other Languages

To use WordPress in a language other than English, do the following first:

  • Check the above table, or go here to see if WordPress is available in your language of choice: http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_in_Your_Language
  • If the language you want is not listed, read the “Introduction” section in the above page for alternative options. These options include links to the WordPress Language File Repository and access to translation teams where you can check to see if a translation is currently in progress.

How To Convert WordPress Into Other Languages

Installing WordPress Language Files Automatically

To install an international language version of WordPress automatically, do the following:

Go to the navigation menu and choose Settings > General

WordPress Settings - General Settings

(Settings – General Settings)

This brings up the ‘General Settings’ screen. Scroll down to the bottom section and select a language from the ‘Site Language’ drop-down menu …

Select your language

(Select your language)

Click ‘Save Changes’ to update your settings …

General Settings - Save changes

(General Settings – Save changes)

Your WordPress dashboard and all of the default WordPress terms in your installation files will be translated to the language you have specified …

Your WordPress site has been automatically translated!

(Your WordPress site has been automatically translated!)

Info

Translating your default WordPress installation files into another language does not automatically translate your site content into that language. You will need to create content into the language of your choice, or use a WordPress translation plugin

To learn more about translating content in WordPress using plugins, see the tutorial below:

WordPress Translation Plugins

To learn more about configuring your WordPress General Settings section, see the tutorial below:

WordPress General Settings

Installing WordPress Language Files Manually

If you can’t translate your WordPress site automatically using the method described in the previous section, you will need to manually install and configure your WordPress site to use translated language files. To manually install an international language version of WordPress, you have two choices:

  • You can follow the instructions provided for your language listed here: WordPress in Your Language. These will show you how to install WordPress in another language.
  • If instructions are not available, follow the tutorial below to install language files into your WordPress site. This will translate key terms on your site into the language of your choice.

Here are the steps you need to follow to manually install and configure an international language version of WordPress on your site. This will convert the key terms used throughout your WordPress site, but not your actual content. For help translating your actual content, see this tutorial where we explore language translation plugins.

Note: If you make an error in the steps or you do not specify the correct language, WordPress will default back to English. If you need help with these steps please contact a professional developer.

First, download the .mo language file (Machine Object file) for your language (see WordPress in Your Language for help on this). This file is typically included in the translated versions of WordPress …

How To Translate WordPress Into Another Language

Note: Do not try to edit .mo files directly (you need special software editors to do this).

The naming convention of the .mo files is based on the ISO-639 language code (e.g. pt for Portuguese) followed by the ISO-3166 country code (e.g. _PT for Portugal or _BR for Brazil). So, for example, the Brazilian Portuguese file would be called pt_BR.mo, and a non-specific Portuguese file would be called pt.mo.

Note: For a complete list of country codes and language codes see the bottom of this page.

After downloading the language files to your computer, extract the contents and locate the .mo file (typically, this will be located inside the “wordpress > wp-content > languages” directory) …

How To Use WordPress In Another Language

Note

Important: Always backup your WordPress files and database before making changes to your WordPress application! If you need help with this step, contact us or refer to our tutorials on how to backup your WordPress files and database.

Open up your FTP software and create a new folder in your /wp-content or /wp-includes server directory called /languages. Next, upload the .mo file to the languages folder you have just created in your server …

How To Configure WordPress For Other Languages

Next, download your wp-config.php to a location on your computer that you will be able to easily find. Note: It’s always a good idea to download an additional copy of files you plan to modify to a “backup” folder …

How To Translate WordPress Into Other Languages

Open your wp-config.php file in a text editor (remember to always back up your files before making any changes to your WordPress site) and change the following line to add the filename of your language translation file …

How To Configure WordPress For Different Languages

Edit this line according to the .mo file you’ve just downloaded. For example, to change your WordPress site to use Brazilian Portuguese, you would change the above line to the following:

How To Configure WordPress For Different Languages

You can also use the above method to change your WordPress default language from en_US to some other variant of English. For example …

How To Use WordPress In Other Languages

Below is an actual example of a wp-config.php file that has just been modified as shown above …

How To Translate WordPress Into Other Languages

Once you have added your language code, save your wp-config.php file.

Upload the modified wp-config.php file to your WordPress installation root directory, replacing the existing wp-config.php file …

How To Translate WordPress Into Different Languages

You will be asked to confirm whether you want to overwrite the existing file on your server. Click the “Overwrite” button to proceed …

How To Translate WordPress Into Another Language

Once again, ensure that you have a full backup of your WordPress files and data before making any changes to your site. This way, if anything goes wrong, or you just want to restore WordPress to its previous configuration, you can easily reverse any damage by simply re-uploading a copy of the unmodified wp-config.php file you have just backed up to your server, overwriting the newly modified file.

Open your Internet browser and bring up your WordPress site. Your site or blog should now display many of the key terms in the newly-installed language …

How To Use WordPress In Another Language

Important Info

Note: If you are dealing with multiple WordPress site installations (e.g. WordPress MultiSite), then you can either set the language on a per-blog basis through the “Site language” option in the Settings >General subpanel or set the default language for the entire network under the Network Admin > Settings panel (“Default Language”).

Once you have converted the core WordPress terms on your site to the new language, the next step to having your site published in a different language is to translate the content of the site itself. This can be partly achieved through the help of translation or multilingual plugins.

To learn more about translating your content into other languages, see the tutorial below:

How To Translate WordPress Content Into Different Languages Using Plugins

Using WordPress In Other Languages – Additional Information

Below are some additional information tables you may find useful regarding using WordPress in other languages:

Country Codes

The ISO 3166 standard defines the following two character codes for many countries and territories:

AD - AndorraKZ - Kazakhstan
AE - United Arab EmiratesLA - Laos
AF - AfghanistanLB - Lebanon
AG - Antigua and BarbudaLC - St Lucia
AI - AnguillaLI - Liechtenstein
AL - AlbaniaLK - Sri Lanka
AM - ArmeniaLR - Liberia
AN - Netherlands AntillesLS - Lesotho
AO - AngolaLT - Lithuania
AQ - AntarcticaLU - Luxembourg
AR - ArgentinaLV - Latvia
AS - Samoa (American)LY - Libya
AT - AustriaMA - Morocco
AU - AustraliaMC - Monaco
AW - ArubaMD - Moldova
AX - Aaland IslandsME - Montenegro
AZ - AzerbaijanMG - Madagascar
BA - Bosnia and HerzegovinaMH - Marshall Islands
BB - BarbadosMK - Macedonia
BD - BangladeshML - Mali
BE - BelgiumMM - Myanmar (Burma)
BF - Burkina FasoMN - Mongolia
BG - BulgariaMO - Macao
BH - BahrainMP - Northern Mariana Islands
BI - BurundiMQ - Martinique
BJ - BeninMR - Mauritania
BM - BermudaMS - Montserrat
BN - BruneiMT - Malta
BO - BoliviaMU - Mauritius
BR - BrazilMV - Maldives
BS - BahamasMW - Malawi
BT - BhutanMX - Mexico
BV - Bouvet IslandMY - Malaysia
BW - BotswanaMZ - Mozambique
BY - BelarusNA - Namibia
BZ - BelizeNC - New Caledonia
CA - CanadaNE - Niger
CC - Cocos (Keeling) IslandsNF - Norfolk Island
CD - Congo (Dem Rep)NG - Nigeria
CF - Central African RepublicNI - Nicaragua
CG - Congo (Rep)NL - Netherlands
CH - SwitzerlandNO - Norway
CI - Côte dIvoireNP - Nepal
CK - Cook IslandsNR - Nauru
CL - ChileNU - Niue
CM - CameroonNZ - New Zealand
CN - ChinaOM - Oman
CO - ColombiaPA - Panama
CR - Costa RicaPE - Peru
CU - CubaPF - French Polynesia
CV - Cape VerdePG - Papua New Guinea
CX - Christmas IslandPH - Philippines
CY - CyprusPK - Pakistan
CZ - Czech RepublicPL - Poland
DE - GermanyPM - St Pierre and Miquelon
DJ - DjiboutiPN - Pitcairn
DK - DenmarkPR - Puerto Rico
DM - DominicaPS - Palestine
DO - Dominican RepublicPT - Portugal
DZ - AlgeriaPW - Palau
EC - EcuadorPY - Paraguay
EE - EstoniaQA - Qatar
EG - EgyptRE - Reunion
EH - Western SaharaRO - Romania
ER - EritreaRS - Serbia
ES - SpainRU - Russia
ET - EthiopiaRW - Rwanda
FI - FinlandSA - Saudi Arabia
FJ - FijiSB - Solomon Islands
FK - Falkland IslandsSC - Seychelles
FM - MicronesiaSD - Sudan
FO - Faeroe IslandsSE - Sweden
FR - FranceSG - Singapore
GA - GabonSH - St Helena
GB - Britain (United Kingdom)SI - Slovenia
GD - GrenadaSJ - Svalbard and Jan Mayen
GE - GeorgiaSK - Slovakia
GF - French GuianaSL - Sierra Leone
GG - GuernseySM - San Marino
GH - GhanaSN - Senegal
GI - GibraltarSO - Somalia
GL - GreenlandSR - Suriname
GM - GambiaST - Sao Tome and Principe
GN - GuineaSV - El Salvador
GP - GuadeloupeSY - Syria
GQ - Equatorial GuineaSZ - Swaziland
GR - GreeceTC - Turks and Caicos Islands
GS - South Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsTD - Chad
GT - GuatemalaTF - French Southern and Antarctic Lands
GU - GuamTG - Togo
GW - Guinea-BissauTH - Thailand
GY - GuyanaTJ - Tajikistan
HK - Hong KongTK - Tokelau
HM - Heard Island and McDonald IslandsTL - Timor-Leste
HN - HondurasTM - Turkmenistan
HR - CroatiaTN - Tunisia
HT - HaitiTO - Tonga
HU - HungaryTR - Turkey
ID - IndonesiaTT - Trinidad and Tobago
IE - IrelandTV - Tuvalu
IL - IsraelTW - Taiwan
IM - Isle of ManTZ - Tanzania
IN - IndiaUA - Ukraine
IO - British Indian Ocean TerritoryUG - Uganda
IQ - IraqUM - US minor outlying islands
IR - IranUS - United States
IS - IcelandUY - Uruguay
IT - ItalyUZ - Uzbekistan
JE - JerseyVA - Vatican City
JM - JamaicaVC - St Vincent and the Grenadines
JO - JordanVE - Venezuela
JP - JapanVG - Virgin Islands (UK)
KE - KenyaVI - Virgin Islands (US)
KG - KyrgyzstanVN - Vietnam
KH - CambodiaVU - Vanuatu
KI - KiribatiWF - Wallis and Futuna
KM - ComorosWS - Samoa (Western)
KN - St Kitts and NevisYE - Yemen
KP - Korea (North)YT - Mayotte
KR - Korea (South)ZA - South Africa
KW - KuwaitZM - Zambia
KY - Cayman IslandsZW - Zimbabwe

Language Codes

The ISO 639 standard defines two-letter codes for many languages, and three-letter codes for more rarely used languages:

Usual Language Codes

aa - Afarlg - Ganda
ab - Abkhazianli - Limburgish; Limburger; Limburgan
ae - Avestanln - Lingala
af - Afrikaanslo - Lao; Laotian
ak - Akanlt - Lithuanian
am - Amhariclu - Luba-Katanga
an - Aragoneselv - Latvian; Lettish
ar - Arabicmg - Malagasy
as - Assamesemh - Marshallese
av - Avaricmi - Maori
ay - Aymaramk - Macedonian
az - Azerbaijaniml - Malayalam
ba - Bashkirmn - Mongolian
be - Belarusianmo - Moldavian
bg - Bulgarianmr - Marathi
bh - Biharims - Malay
bi - Bislamamt - Maltese
bm - Bambaramy - Burmese
bn - Bengali; Banglana - Nauru
bo - Tibetannb - Norwegian Bokmål
br - Bretonnd - Ndebele, North
bs - Bosnianne - Nepali
ca - Catalanng - Ndonga
ce - Chechennl - Dutch
ch - Chamorronn - Norwegian Nynorsk
co - Corsicanno - Norwegian
cr - Creenr - Ndebele, South
cs - Czechnv - Navajo; Navaho
cu - Church Slavicny - Chichewa; Nyanja
cv - Chuvashoc - Occitan; Provençal
cy - Welshoj - Ojibwa
da - Danishom - (Afan) Oromo
de - Germanor - Oriya
dv - Divehi; Maldivianos - Ossetian; Ossetic
dz - Dzongkha; Bhutanipa - Panjabi; Punjabi
ee - Éwépi - Pali
el - Greekpl - Polish
en - Englishps - Pashto; Pushto
eo - Esperantopt - Portuguese
es - Spanishqu - Quechua
et - Estonianrm - Romansh
eu - Basquern - Rundi; Kirundi
fa - Persianro - Romanian
ff - Fulahru - Russian
fi - Finnishrw - Kinyarwanda
fj - Fijian; Fijisa - Sanskrit
fo - Faroesesc - Sardinian
fr - Frenchsd - Sindhi
fy - Western Frisianse - Northern Sami
ga - Irishsg - Sango; Sangro
gd - Scottish Gaelicsi - Sinhala; Sinhalese
gl - Galiciansk - Slovak
gn - Guaranisl - Slovenian
gu - Gujaratism - Samoan
gv - Manxsn - Shona
ha - Hausaso - Somali
he - Hebrew (formerly iw)sq - Albanian
hi - Hindisr - Serbian
ho - Hiri Motuss - Swati; Siswati
hr - Croatianst - Sesotho; Sotho, Southern
ht - Haitian; Haitian Creolesu - Sundanese
hu - Hungariansv - Swedish
hy - Armeniansw - Swahili
hz - Hererota - Tamil
ia - Interlinguate - Telugu
id - Indonesian (formerly in)tg - Tajik
ie - Interlingue; Occidentalth - Thai
ig - Igboti - Tigrinya
ii - Sichuan Yi; Nuosutk - Turkmen
ik - Inupiak; Inupiaqtl - Tagalog
io - Idotn - Tswana; Setswana
is - Icelandicto - Tonga
it - Italiantr - Turkish
iu - Inuktitutts - Tsonga
ja - Japanesett - Tatar
jv - Javanesetw - Twi
ka - Georgianty - Tahitian
kg - Kongoug - Uighur
ki - Kikuyu; Gikuyuuk - Ukrainian
kj - Kuanyama; Kwanyamaur - Urdu
kk - Kazakhuz - Uzbek
kl - Kalaallisut; Greenlandicve - Venda
km - Central Khmer; Cambodianvi - Vietnamese
kn - Kannadavo - Volapük; Volapuk
ko - Koreanwa - Walloon
kr - Kanuriwo - Wolof
ks - Kashmirixh - Xhosa
ku - Kurdishyi - Yiddish (formerly ji)
kv - Komiyo - Yoruba
kw - Cornishza - Zhuang
ky - Kirghizzh - Chinese
la - Latinzu - Zulu
lb - Letzeburgesch; Luxembourgish

Rare Language Codes

ace - Achinesemai - Maithili
awa - Awadhimak - Makasar
bal - Baluchiman - Mandingo
ban - Balinesemen - Mende
bej - Beja; Bedawiyetmin - Minangkabau
bem - Bembamni - Manipuri
bho - Bhojpurimos - Mossi
bik - Bikolmwr - Marwari
bin - Bini; Edonap - Neapolitan
bug - Buginesenso - Pedi; Sepedi; Northern Sotho
ceb - Cebuanonym - Nyamwezi
din - Dinkanyn - Nyankole
doi - Dogripag - Pangasinan
fil - Filipino; Pilipinopam - Pampanga; Kapampangan
fon - Fonraj - Rajasthani
gon - Gondisas - Sasak
gsw - Swiss German; Alemannic; Alsatiansat - Santali
hil - Hiligaynonscn - Sicilian
hmn - Hmongshn - Shan
ilo - Ilokosid - Sidamo
kab - Kabylesrr - Serer
kam - Kambasuk - Sukuma
kbd - Kabardiansus - Susu
kmb - Kimbundutem - Timne
kok - Konkanitiv - Tiv
kru - Kurukhtum - Tumbuka
lua - Luba-Luluaumb - Umbundu
luo - Luo (Kenya and Tanzania)wal - Walamo
mad - Maduresewar - Waray
mag - Magahiyao - Yao

Congratulations … now you know how to publish WordPress into other languages.

How To Translate WordPress Into Different Languages

(Source: Pixabay)

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Martin Aranovitch is the founder of WPCompendium.org and the author of The Small Business Digital Manager. WPCompendium.org provides hundreds of FREE tutorials that show you how to use WordPress to grow your business online with no coding skills required! Get our FREE "101+ WordPress Tips, Tricks & Hacks For Non-Techies" e-course with loads of useful WordPress tips!

Originally published as How To Use WordPress In Other Languages.