How to translate WordPress themes without coding?

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It’s a common question when you by a new WordPress theme. How do you translate a WordPress theme into your language? Or how do you change a text in a WordPress theme? Normal users can find this task hard as they don’t know coding nor familiar with technical terms. In this post, we’ll help you resolve that problem without coding at all.

To translate the theme, there are two ways to do it.

  1. On your PC/Mac, using Poedit
  2. Directly within WordPress by using a localization plugin

Translating with Poedit

To translate a WordPress theme with Poedit, please do the following steps:

  1. Download and install POEdit translation editor (https://poedit.net/) on your computer
  2. Go to the theme translation folder (/wp-content/themes/theme-slug/languages/)
  3. Make a copy of the file “xx_XX.po” and rename the file to the locale of your language. For example, German would be de_DE.po. See language code list here. http://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_in_Your_Language
  4. Open POEdit and load the file. (i.e de_DE.po), and set your language first
  5. Translate all the strings in the list and save changes. After you save, you will have two files. (i.e. de_DE.po and de_DE.mo)
  6. Upload these files to /wp-content/themes/theme-slug/languages/
  7. For WordPress 4.0 and above, go to Settings → General and select Site Language
  8. Save a backup of these files somewhere safe. If you upgrade the theme from WordPress admin, the language files will have to be re-uploaded.

This method sounds a little technical, but that’s the official way to translate a WordPress theme.

Translate a WordPress theme with Logo Translate plugin?

To translate a WordPress theme without coding, we need help from a WordPress plugin: Loco Translate. This plugin allows us to translate any text directly in the WordPress admin area. It even creates the language files for our themes or plugins that we can download for future use on another site. A good thing is this plugin is compatible with all of our WordPress themes!

Using Logo Translate is the easiest way to translate a WordPress theme for beginners that doesn’t require any coding knowledge.

First, you need to install the plugin. Go to Plugins → Add New and search for Logo Translate. Then install and activate the plugin.

After installing the plugin, you’ll see a new menu item Loco Translate on the left. Now go to Loco Translate → Themes and select the theme you want to translate (usually the current active theme):

Select a theme to translate

Select a theme to translate

Then click on New language to create a new translation. Select the new language and where to save the translation file. We recommend saving files into the language folder to make sure the translation is available when the theme is updated.

Select a new language

Select a new language

After that, click Start translating button.

Now the translation screen appears with all the text from the theme. To translate a text, simply select it and enter the translation in the box below:

Translate a text in the theme

Translate a text in the theme (click to see full image)

When it’s done, click Save to save your translation.

Now to switch the website to your language, go to Settings → General and choose your language from the select box Site Language:

Change your site language

Change your site language

Now view your website and see all the text are translated!

Bonus Tip: Change any text in your WordPress theme

Sometimes you don’t want to translate a whole WordPress theme. You just need to change some words in the theme like “Continue reading” or similar. Some developers probably tell you to change that directly in the theme files, but it’s too risky. Firstly, it’s not safe to do that, especially when you’re not a coder. Secondly, all your changes will be lost when you update the theme.

So, how to change a text in a WordPress theme without coding?

If you read all the guide above, then the answer is very simple: using the Loco Translate plugin. Yes, you can use that plugin for not only translating your WordPress theme, but also for changing text in it.

To do that, simply create a translation for your theme. Select language English as the new translation language. Because we select English as our new language, we actually don’t translate anything because our website is already in English. This is just a hack to help us change the text.

Then in the translation table, select the word or sentence you want to change and enter a new text for it in the translation. That new text will be used instead of the original text! Very simple!

We hope this guide will help you use WordPress themes with joy and fun. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to send us an email. And don’t forget to checkout our latest WordPress portfolio theme!

1 Comment

  1. Xan on April 11, 2017 at 14:23

    You can also translate WordPress themes using this web-based translation management platform https://poeditor.com that has a WordPress plugin included: https://wordpress.org/plugins/poeditor/

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