Have you ever wondered if WordPress can be set up to display your content in other languages?

The answer is … yes, absolutely! You can set up a WordPress site or blog to provide your content in almost any international language you can imagine.

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

In this tutorial you will learn about WordPress’ international language capabilities and how to create a multilingual WordPress blog with the help of various WordPress plugins.

See the video below, and then complete the rest of this tutorial to learn how to translate your WordPress site into another language.

 

How To Translate Your WordPress Site Into Other Languages: Tutorial

The WordPress community has already translated WordPress into over 70 languages. 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:

  • Azeri
  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Basque
  • Belarusian
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Esperanto
  • Estonian
  • Faroese
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Galician
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Magyar
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Javanese
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Kyrgyz
  • Kurdish
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Macedonian
  • Malagasy
  • Malay
  • Mongolian
  • Myanmar
  • Nias
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Sakha
  • Serbian
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Sundanese
  • Swedish
  • Tajik
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Uighur
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh
  • & more…

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 ìIntroductionî 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 Use WordPress In Another Language

To install an international language version of WordPress, you have two choices:

  1. 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.
  2. If specific instructions are not available, then follow the instructions below to manually install language files into your WordPress site or blog. This will convert (i.e. translate) the key terms on your site into the language of your choice.

Manually Installing Language Files

Here are the steps you need to follow to manually install 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 the next section of 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 feel free to contact us.

First, you need to 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 Ö

Using WordPress in 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) …

Using WordPress in another language

Warning

Important: Always back up 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 back up 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 …

Using WordPress in another language

Next, download your wp-config.php to a location in 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 …

Using WordPress in another language

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 …

Using WordPress In Other 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:

Using WordPress In Other 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 …

Using WordPress In Other Languages

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

Using WordPress in another language

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 …

Using WordPress in another language

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

Using WordPress in another language

Once again, ensure that you have a full back up 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 …

Using WordPress in another language

Important

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 be published in a complete different language is to translate the content of the site itself. This can be partly achieved through the help of translation, or multilingual 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 two character codes for many countries and territories:

AD – Andorra
AE – United Arab Emirates
AF – Afghanistan
AG – Antigua and Barbuda
AI – Anguilla
AL – Albania
AM – Armenia
AN – Netherlands Antilles
AO – Angola
AQ – Antarctica
AR – Argentina
AS – Samoa (American)
AT – Austria
AU – Australia
AW – Aruba
AX – Aaland Islands
AZ – Azerbaijan
BA – Bosnia and Herzegovina
BB – Barbados
BD – Bangladesh
BE – Belgium
BF – Burkina Faso
BG – Bulgaria
BH – Bahrain
BI – Burundi
BJ – Benin
BM – Bermuda
BN – Brunei
BO – Bolivia
BR – Brazil
BS – Bahamas
BT – Bhutan
BV – Bouvet Island
BW – Botswana
BY – Belarus
BZ – Belize
CA – Canada
CC – Cocos (Keeling) Islands
CD – Congo (Dem Rep)
CF – Central African Republic
CG – Congo (Rep)
CH – Switzerland
CI – CÙte dIvoire
CK – Cook Islands
CL – Chile
CM – Cameroon
CN – China
CO – Colombia
CR – Costa Rica
CU – Cuba
CV – Cape Verde
CX – Christmas Island
CY – Cyprus
CZ – Czech Republic
DE – Germany
DJ – Djibouti
DK – Denmark
DM – Dominica
DO – Dominican Republic
DZ – Algeria
EC – Ecuador
EE – Estonia
EG – Egypt
EH – Western Sahara
ER – Eritrea
ES – Spain
ET – Ethiopia
FI – Finland
FJ – Fiji
FK – Falkland Islands
FM – Micronesia
FO – Faeroe Islands
FR – France
GA – Gabon
GB – Britain (United Kingdom)
GD – Grenada
GE – Georgia
GF – French Guiana
GG – Guernsey
GH – Ghana
GI – Gibraltar
GL – Greenland
GM – Gambia
GN – Guinea
GP – Guadeloupe
GQ – Equatorial Guinea
GR – Greece
GS – South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
GT – Guatemala
GU – Guam
GW – Guinea-Bissau
GY – Guyana
HK – Hong Kong
HM – Heard Island and McDonald Islands
HN – Honduras
HR – Croatia
HT – Haiti
HU – Hungary
ID – Indonesia
IE – Ireland
IL – Israel
IM – Isle of Man
IN – India
IO – British Indian Ocean Territory
IQ – Iraq
IR – Iran
IS – Iceland
IT – Italy
JE – Jersey
JM – Jamaica
JO – Jordan
JP – Japan
KE – Kenya
KG – Kyrgyzstan
KH – Cambodia
KI – Kiribati
KM – Comoros
KN – St Kitts and Nevis
KP – Korea (North)
KR – Korea (South)
KW – Kuwait
KY – Cayman Islands
KZ – Kazakhstan
LA – Laos
LB – Lebanon
LC – St Lucia
LI – Liechtenstein
LK – Sri Lanka
LR – Liberia
LS – Lesotho
LT – Lithuania
LU – Luxembourg
LV – Latvia
LY – Libya
MA – Morocco
MC – Monaco
MD – Moldova
ME – Montenegro
MG – Madagascar
MH – Marshall Islands
MK – Macedonia
ML – Mali
MM – Myanmar (Burma)
MN – Mongolia
MO – Macao
MP – Northern Mariana Islands
MQ – Martinique
MR – Mauritania
MS – Montserrat
MT – Malta
MU – Mauritius
MV – Maldives
MW – Malawi
MX – Mexico
MY – Malaysia
MZ – Mozambique
NA – Namibia
NC – New Caledonia
NE – Niger
NF – Norfolk Island
NG – Nigeria
NI – Nicaragua
NL – Netherlands
NO – Norway
NP – Nepal
NR – Nauru
NU – Niue
NZ – New Zealand
OM – Oman
PA – Panama
PE – Peru
PF – French Polynesia
PG – Papua New Guinea
PH – Philippines
PK – Pakistan
PL – Poland
PM – St Pierre and Miquelon
PN – Pitcairn
PR – Puerto Rico
PS – Palestine
PT – Portugal
PW – Palau
PY – Paraguay
QA – Qatar
RE – Reunion
RO – Romania
RS – Serbia
RU – Russia
RW – Rwanda
SA – Saudi Arabia
SB – Solomon Islands
SC – Seychelles
SD – Sudan
SE – Sweden
SG – Singapore
SH – St Helena
SI – Slovenia
SJ – Svalbard and Jan Mayen
SK – Slovakia
SL – Sierra Leone
SM – San Marino
SN – Senegal
SO – Somalia
SR – Suriname
ST – Sao Tome and Principe
SV – El Salvador
SY – Syria
SZ – Swaziland
TC – Turks and Caicos Islands
TD – Chad
TF – French Southern and Antarctic Lands
TG – Togo
TH – Thailand
TJ – Tajikistan
TK – Tokelau
TL – Timor-Leste
TM – Turkmenistan
TN – Tunisia
TO – Tonga
TR – Turkey
TT – Trinidad and Tobago
TV – Tuvalu
TW – Taiwan
TZ – Tanzania
UA – Ukraine
UG – Uganda
UM – US minor outlying islands
US – United States
UY – Uruguay
UZ – Uzbekistan
VA – Vatican City
VC – St Vincent and the Grenadines
VE – Venezuela
VG – Virgin Islands (UK)
VI – Virgin Islands (US)
VN – Vietnam
VU – Vanuatu
WF – Wallis and Futuna
WS – Samoa (Western)
YE – Yemen
YT – Mayotte
ZA – South Africa
ZM – Zambia
ZW – 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 – Afar
ab – Abkhazian
ae – Avestan
af – Afrikaans
ak – Akan
am – Amharic
an – Aragonese
ar – Arabic
as – Assamese
av – Avaric
ay – Aymara
az – Azerbaijani
ba – Bashkir
be – Belarusian
bg – Bulgarian
bh – Bihari
bi – Bislama
bm – Bambara
bn – Bengali; Bangla
bo – Tibetan
br – Breton
bs – Bosnian
ca – Catalan
ce – Chechen
ch – Chamorro
co – Corsican
cr – Cree
cs – Czech
cu – Church Slavic
cv – Chuvash
cy – Welsh
da – Danish
de – German
dv – Divehi; Maldivian
dz – Dzongkha; Bhutani
ee – …wÈ
el – Greek
en – English
eo – Esperanto
es – Spanish
et – Estonian
eu – Basque
fa – Persian
ff – Fulah
fi – Finnish
fj – Fijian; Fiji
fo – Faroese
fr – French
fy – Western Frisian
ga – Irish
gd – Scottish Gaelic
gl – Galician
gn – Guarani
gu – Gujarati
gv – Manx
ha – Hausa
he – Hebrew (formerly iw)
hi – Hindi
ho – Hiri Motu
hr – Croatian
ht – Haitian; Haitian Creole
hu – Hungarian
hy – Armenian
hz – Herero
ia – Interlingua
id – Indonesian (formerly in)
ie – Interlingue; Occidental
ig – Igbo
ii – Sichuan Yi; Nuosu
ik – Inupiak; Inupiaq
io – Ido
is – Icelandic
it – Italian
iu – Inuktitut
ja – Japanese
jv – Javanese
ka – Georgian
kg – Kongo
ki – Kikuyu; Gikuyu
kj – Kuanyama; Kwanyama
kk – Kazakh
kl – Kalaallisut; Greenlandic
km – Central Khmer; Cambodian
kn – Kannada
ko – Korean
kr – Kanuri
ks – Kashmiri
ku – Kurdish
kv – Komi
kw – Cornish
ky – Kirghiz
la – Latin
lb – Letzeburgesch; Luxembourgish
lg – Ganda
li – Limburgish; Limburger; Limburgan
ln – Lingala
lo – Lao; Laotian
lt – Lithuanian
lu – Luba-Katanga
lv – Latvian; Lettish
mg – Malagasy
mh – Marshallese
mi – Maori
mk – Macedonian
ml – Malayalam
mn – Mongolian
mo – Moldavian
mr – Marathi
ms – Malay
mt – Maltese
my – Burmese
na – Nauru
nb – Norwegian BokmÂl
nd – Ndebele, North
ne – Nepali
ng – Ndonga
nl – Dutch
nn – Norwegian Nynorsk
no – Norwegian
nr – Ndebele, South
nv – Navajo; Navaho
ny – Chichewa; Nyanja
oc – Occitan; ProvenÁal
oj – Ojibwa
om – (Afan) Oromo
or – Oriya
os – Ossetian; Ossetic
pa – Panjabi; Punjabi
pi – Pali
pl – Polish
ps – Pashto; Pushto
pt – Portuguese
qu – Quechua
rm – Romansh
rn – Rundi; Kirundi
ro – Romanian
ru – Russian
rw – Kinyarwanda
sa – Sanskrit
sc – Sardinian
sd – Sindhi
se – Northern Sami
sg – Sango; Sangro
si – Sinhala; Sinhalese
sk – Slovak
sl – Slovenian
sm – Samoan
sn – Shona
so – Somali
sq – Albanian
sr – Serbian
ss – Swati; Siswati
st – Sesotho; Sotho, Southern
su – Sundanese
sv – Swedish
sw – Swahili
ta – Tamil
te – Telugu
tg – Tajik
th – Thai
ti – Tigrinya
tk – Turkmen
tl – Tagalog
tn – Tswana; Setswana
to – Tonga
tr – Turkish
ts – Tsonga
tt – Tatar
tw – Twi
ty – Tahitian
ug – Uighur
uk – Ukrainian
ur – Urdu
uz – Uzbek
ve – Venda
vi – Vietnamese
vo – Volap¸k; Volapuk
wa – Walloon
wo – Wolof
xh – Xhosa
yi – Yiddish (formerly ji)
yo – Yoruba
za – Zhuang
zh – Chinese
zu – Zulu
Rare Language Codes
ace – Achinese
awa – Awadhi
bal – Baluchi
ban – Balinese
bej – Beja; Bedawiyet
bem – Bemba
bho – Bhojpuri
bik – Bikol
bin – Bini; Edo
bug – Buginese
ceb – Cebuano
din – Dinka
doi – Dogri
fil – Filipino; Pilipino
fon – Fon
gon – Gondi
gsw – Swiss German; Alemannic; Alsatian
hil – Hiligaynon
hmn – Hmong
ilo – Iloko
kab – Kabyle
kam – Kamba
kbd – Kabardian
kmb – Kimbundu
kok – Konkani
kru – Kurukh
lua – Luba-Lulua
luo – Luo (Kenya and Tanzania)
mad – Madurese
mag – Magahi
mai – Maithili
mak – Makasar
man – Mandingo
men – Mende
min – Minangkabau
mni – Manipuri
mos – Mossi
mwr – Marwari
nap – Neapolitan
nso – Pedi; Sepedi; Northern Sotho
nym – Nyamwezi
nyn – Nyankole
pag – Pangasinan
pam – Pampanga; Kapampangan
raj – Rajasthani
sas – Sasak
sat – Santali
scn – Sicilian
shn – Shan
sid – Sidamo
srr – Serer
suk – Sukuma
sus – Susu
tem – Timne
tiv – Tiv
tum – Tumbuka
umb – Umbundu
wal – Walamo
war – Waray
yao – Yao

Congratulations … you have completed the tutorial on using WordPress in other languages.