Organizer Retrospective for WordPress Translation Day 2021

The WordPress Translation Day (WPTD) 2021 events recap was published on This post includes an overview of the WPTD 6th edition in September 2021, statistics from the events, and other highlights. Check it out, translate it and share!

Below is an overview of the WordPress Translation Day 2021 planning process, what worked well, and what could be improved for next year. While feedback was open to all the WPTD global organizers, these may not reflect everyone’s thoughts, so if you have opinions, suggestions, and other ideas for future organizers, please share those in the comments!

An overview of WPTD 2021 planning

WordPress Translation Day 2021 had some new elements compared to previous editions of WPTD. In June 2021, there was a proposal to host WPTD events spanning the month of September. The organizing team decided to encourage local events throughout the month for more schedule flexibility, with a series of global events in English to take place within a two-week period: September 17 to 30, 2021.

Global organizing for this year’s WPTD happened in a dedicated SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at instance aimed at helping organizers more easily coordinate between teams and tasks. This resulted in a couple of posts to the Make/Polyglots blog to share team updates with the broader Polyglots community. There were roughly four organizing teams, with a lot of cross-over and many organizers working across areas:

  • Website and Design
  • Local events
  • Global events
  • Marketing/Communications

Organizers had a weekly, asynchronous check-in on Slack using automated reminders to share how they were doing, what they were working on, and any help they needed. We primarily coordinated tasks in the WPTD Trello board, and later created a private P2p2 "p2" is the name of the theme that blogs at use (and o2 is the accompanying plugin). When asked to post something "on the p2" by a member of the Polyglots team, that usually means you're asked to post on the team blog for the WPTD organizing team to better plan on specific tasks – for example, coordinating Polyglots Appreciation nominees before they were public. This site was mostly used for writing longer proposals to facilitate feedback, particularly since we decided to skip video-based meetings due to timezone issues.

What went well

Flexibility for local events

For previous WPTD events, locally organized events were typically encouraged to happen in the week of or on September 30th, International Translation Day. Last year, it gained momentum and collaborations continued for several weeks after. For 2021, the decision to extend WPTD celebrations during the whole month was aimed at giving more flexibility to plan events for local communities. It also allowed for some more creative event types, such as multiple events over the course of the entire month. In total, there were 22 local events organized, as compared to about 15 events in the first week of the 2020 event. It’s important to note that for both this year and 2020, everything was organized virtually – including local events – so this is different from previous editions of in-person events!

Events from multiple contributor teams

In addition to the local and global events organized throughout September, there were a handful of sprints and events organized by some of the contributor teams. This included a Community documentation translation sprint, organized by the Community team, and a Learn WordPress subtitling sprint, organized by the Training team. Since Polyglots’ work often overlaps with many areas of the WordPress project, it was felt to be a positive experience to expand how other contributor teams could be proactively involved in planning and celebrating WPTD. 

Improvements for next year

Website improvements

There were some challenges with setting up this year, since it is currently based around a single edition of the event. The organizing team spent time working out the best way to preserve information from previous years and re-use useful content, while also updating and highlighting information related to the 2021 events. 

Some ideas to improve this in the future:

  • fetch data dynamically by creating custom post types, such as Organizers
  • move to a multisiteMultisite Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core. format, so previous versions can be archived by year, similar to WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. websites
  • consider moving the design to the WordCamp base theme and gaining the benefit of WordCamp site functionality (further discussion on the impact on the current features and other considerations would be needed for this)

Communications tools 

Organizing teams

The call for volunteers went out relatively early for this year’s planning. However, there was some additional preparation work that likely would have helped the team get started more quickly and more smoothly. While there was a rough idea to have about four teams (local events, global events, marketing and communications, and website), these weren’t clearly defined at the beginning of organizing. If we plan an extended event in the future, it would help to scope these teams earlier on, both in terms of responsibility and a rough idea of time commitment. This would be especially helpful for people who are unsure about organizing and organizers who may want to lead a specific area. It may also help to more quickly identify if more people are needed in particular areas. 

Related to defining teams and responsibilities, handling subtitles for videos for global events was a challenge for this, and previous, editions. For future, similar events, it would help to either put out a call for volunteers sooner or look for additional tools that might help to make this process smoother very early in the organizing process. Some ways to fix this may include:

  • reviewing the tools available to provide better captioning on the day-of events
  • adding a team within the organizing team to focus specifically on captions and subtitling (during or post-WPTD)
  • looking into additional tools that may help streamline the subtitling process

Access to shared accounts

There are a handful of shared accounts (email, social media, TrelloTrello Project management system using the concepts of boards and cards to organize tasks in a sane way. This is what the team uses for example:, etc.) that some organizers had difficulty accessing during the event. This caused some issues with scheduling and coordinating materials. Some of this was due to the tools’ automated security checks when there were log-ins from different global locations and changes to browser caching or two-factor authentication. Once the post-event items are completed, we hope to resolve as many of these issues as possible and to explore tools to help share access between organizers. This will help make to make this experience smoother, and allow for more organizers to contribute to some of these tasks, particularly across different timezones. 

Condense global events

This year, the organizing team experimented with having multiple global events, in English, from September 17 to September 30, 2021. All of these were live-streamed. Since planning for WPTD started in late July/early August, it felt like a really long time to maintain momentum in some areas and availability for everyone, especially during the pandemic.

While the extended format worked well for local events, we may take a cue from previous WPTD celebrations and condense global events into a single day around International Translation Day itself – September 30 – to allow organizers to focus their efforts, without needing to commit to such a long period of time. Likewise, it may help to set a deadline for event submissions, so it’s easier to gather and promote all the local events. Creating a single focus day could potentially make it easier to plan for additional volunteers and maintain momentum and promotions.

This post was written collaboratively with the following people who helped to write this post and/or shared their feedback: @lmurillom, @webtechpooja, @felipeloureirosantos, @webcommsat, @nalininonstopnewsuk, @harishanker