Welcome to the Translator Handbook!
Within the chapters of this translator handbook, you’ll find everything you need to localize and internationalize WordPress into your language.
What is Internationalization?
Internationalization and localization (commonly abbreviated as i18n and l10n respectively) are terms used to describe the effort to make WordPress (and other such projects) available in languages other than English for people from different locales, who have different dialects and local preferences.
The process of localizing software has two steps. The first step is when the developers provide a mechanism and method for the eventual translation of the program and its interface to suit local preferences and languages for users worldwide. This process is internationalization (i18n). WordPress developers have done this already, so in theory, WordPress can be used in any language.
The second step is the actual localization (l10n), the process by which the text on the page and other settings are translated and adapted to another language and culture, using the framework prescribed by the developers of the software. WordPress has already been localized into many languages (see our list of teams for more information).
This handbook explains how translators (bi- or multi-lingual WordPress users) can go about localizing WordPress to more languages.
About the Team
The polyglots team is responsible for ensuring WordPress is available in dozens of languages and many more regions. It’s a big job, which is why we need help from native speakers of many languages to make it possible.
The polyglots team consists of volunteers from around the globe who take care of translations for a specific language (see a list of translation teams). Find out how you can become a part of your local team or how you can create one and help translate WordPress into your language.
The polyglots team can be reached at the polyglots blog and on the #polyglots channel on Slack.
The easiest way to start translating WordPress is to go to translate.wordpress.org. Everyone can translate, as long as they are logged in to their WordPress.org account.
On translate.wordpress.org, you fill find a list every language available for translating WordPress. If one of the languages listed is one you speak and hasn’t been completely translated (listed at 100%), you can see the untranslated strings and suggest translations.
Before your translations become part of WordPress, they will need to be approved by a translation editor – a trusted member of the polyglots community who can also appoint new translation editors.
To ease the localization of software, a number of projects have been created, including one created just for localizing WordPress: GlotPress (translate.wordpress.org).
While we recommend you use GlotPress for your translating needs, you’re free to use other software for the actual translation of WordPress, including Gettext directly and PoEdit. Ultimately, however, you’ll need to use GlotPress for the final creation of the WordPress package as well as for managing translations of other software, like plugins and themes.
Rosetta Sites & Forums
Rosetta Sites are gateways to local communities. They are the version of WordPress.org in a specific language. They are also the place where you can download WordPress in that language, find more information on the team of translators and see examples of websites that have been built with WordPress in that language.
Local forums are the place for discussions and support in a specific language.
Throughout this handbook, we’ll use a few terms that you might want to familiarize yourself with.
- Internationalization: As mentioned above, internationalization is the method in which we make WordPress available in different languages and regions.
- Localization: Localization is the process of translating software to a different language. This term is often used interchangeably in this handbook with internationalization.
- Locale: A locale (as opposed to “local”) is the combination of a language and a regional dialect. Locales often refer to countries. For example, Portuguese (Portugal) and Portuguese (Brazilian). The default locale for WordPress is English (U.S.). To define a locale we either use a language code + a country code or the ISO 639-3 code of a language.
- Rosetta site: The local WordPress.org site for a specific locale. For example the Portuguese Rosetta site is pt.wordpress.org and the Bulgarian site is bg.wordpress.org.
Tip: For a full list of terms, read the Polyglots Handbook Glossary