Using WordPress in Other Languages

In this workshop, we’ll share how to set up your WordPress site in another language. You will learn how to change the front-end and back-end (dashboard) language, different types of a multilingual site, and some of the common features of multilingual WordPress plugins.

Key sections

  • 00:40 – Setting Your Site’s Interface Language
  • 03:03 – Different Types of Multilingual Site
  • 03:43 – Choosing a Multilingual Plugin
  • 07:16 – Polylang Plugin
  • 11:59 – TranslatePress Plugin

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how to use WordPress frontend and backend in a different language
  • Get familiar with the types and characteristics of multilingual sites
  • Learn how to choose a multilingual plugin
  • Learn the basics steps of translating a website using Polylang and TranslatePress plugins


Naoko Takano 0:02
Hi, I’m Naoko. I’m Japanese translator on WordPress and Hollywood’s team bubble mentor.

Erica Varlese 0:10
Hi, I’m Erica. I’m a Community Wrangler sponsored by Automattic.

Naoko Takano 0:15
In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to use WordPress in multiple languages. We will cover how to set and change your type language, as well as how to present content in more than one language on your site.

Erica Varlese 0:29
We will also walk through the setup of two plugins, PolyLang and TranslatePress, and we will discuss how to find the best plugin for your needs. Let’s get started. If you’re running a multilingual site, you may prefer to have your site’s dashboard displayed in the language other than American English. In this section, we’ll explain the ways in which you can change your site’s language setting for administrative paid pages. translations of the WordPress software are coordinated by a large team of dedicated volunteers. The software is at least partially translated into about 200 languages and is fully translated into about 50. When you download WordPress from, you’ll see an option to select your site’s language in the installation process. If you originally selected English or any language in the installation process, but would like to change it. You can change this by going to your site’s dashboard settings page and clicking on the general settings. here under state language, you can select the language of your choice from the drop down menu and then click on save changes. Alternatively, you can directly download the WordPress software in your language by going to your languages Rosetta site, or the internationalized version of You can generally find the site by typing in the two letter abbreviation of your language, such as j A for Japanese in front of In other words, J will bring you to the Japanese site for Once you’re on the localized version of the site, you can download WordPress in your language by clicking on the download button. This will change the front end language of your site. If the theme you’re using doesn’t have the translation for the language you choose text displayed from the theme will still be in English. If you want to contribute translation for the themes on the WordPress theme directory, you can do so from translate that wordpress lets you use the dashboard of your site in a different language than the front end. This is useful when you have multiple users on your site, and each of them have a different language preference. To take to change the dashboard language of your site. Go to the profile screen under users on the dashboard. On that page, go to the language drop down and select one of the languages. After you click Update Profile, the dashboard will change into that language.

Naoko Takano 3:04
There are a number of ways to have a multilingual website with WordPress. those options include a site that displays one language per post a page, a site that displays multiple languages for post a page. Each language has its own WordPress installation as portable multisite installation, a site that displays translation source to from an external service. Of course, you can write your posts or pages in any language that you prefer. However, when we talk about managing a multilingual site, we’re looking at ways to better manage and display your multilingual content such as when you see a language switcher on our website. When choosing a plugin, there are a few things to keep in mind. For reference, we made a comparison chart to show different features available from popular multilingual plugins. It is always important to note that the one plugin may have different features from another, that does not mean one is good or bad. Rather, the features that are most important to you depend on what you need and your use case. Here we have highlighted features that may be important factors in your decision making. For example, under the type column, we explore characteristics of each plugging, which may include integration with automated translation tools, or third party translation services, and whether the translation is stored within the original post or a separate entry in a database. The uninstall comm highlights some different behaviors that may happen when you uninstall the plugin. Some plugins let you keep the content as playing posts and pages, and others require additional cleanup. If the translated text is sourced from a third party service provider, you may lose the transition altogether when the plugin is removed. Themes plugins strings shows which part gains allow you to translate strings that come from your site’s themes or plugins. Some plugins only provide ways to translate that paint export of both posts and static pages. You may also want to check your requirements for translating other types of text such as contents of custom post types, custom fields, widgets, menus, all text and captions of embedded images and more. Machine Translation and manual editing show which plugins integrate with machine translation services, such as Google Translate in detail, and which allow you to edit the translation results by those services. What does this mean? For someone who wants to translate the site into multiple languages, but does not have the resources or need for human translation? Something like g translate would be a good option for someone who wants to manually edit and provide their own translations. options like Poli Lang, or translate press may be a better choice. If we want to hire professional translators, we got em WP ml offers that option as well. But it still all depends on your needs. As mentioned before. If you’re really not sure which one to pick, we recommend testing some of the candidates instead of just reading about them or asking for recommendations. Because everyone’s workflow and needs are different. You may be surprised to realize some essential features as you get familiar with various translation plugins. Many of the plugins also have payment options, and they may be the best way for you. Once you decide on the multilingual plugin on the WordPress directory you like to use, you can install it and activate it by navigating to your dashboard, the plugins sub menu and clicking on Add New. On the app plugins page, search for the name of the plugin you want to install. Click Install. Then click activate.

In the next sections, we will talk about setting up to these specific plugins polylang and trusted press.

Erica Varlese 7:18
Now I’m in my plugins installed plugins page. Here I’m going to activate polylang. Because I’ve already installed this on my site, my experience will look a little bit different. However, once polylang is activated, you can see the A languages menu item has been added to the sidebar menu. By default, when you install polylang, it will bring you to the polylang setup wizard, which you can also access in the future via languages set up. If we go through the wizard, you can see that I’ve added two languages for my site, American English and Italian. We click on continue, you can see that I’m allowing for media to be translated. And if I click Continue one more time, we’re ready to go back to the dashboard. Under languages languages, you can see the languages I’ve selected from my site. I can also add additional languages here in the future. Under strings translations, you can see that this allows me to manage specific strings on my site. For example, if I want to translate my site tagline for one of the languages I’ve added, I can do that here.

This shows a number of settings available through the plugin, we won’t go through each of the individual settings. But just to give an example, URL modifications, allows you to change the settings for how the URL or permalink structure looks based on the language of your site visitor has selected. For example, you can add the language abbreviation like n to the end of the to the end of your URL or bring it to the beginning.

And finally, lingo tech connects with a third party service that will either automatically or professionally translate your site for you. That’s just another option. From here if we navigate to posts, all posts, we can also see that polylang has added a new item to our Posts Page. It shows a flag for each individual language available on our site. In this case, American English and Italian. The plus sign appears under the language that does not have a translation that correlates to that poster page. If I click on that, it will bring me to the editor where I can add my translation. Here I’m just going to add a small amount of text as an example.

Before I click publish, you can also see that polylang has added an additional setting to the editor that allows me to select the post or page language from within the editor as well. Here I’ve selected Italian because this is the Italian translation of my post.

Then I’ll click publish, and take a look at my post. Now, this is a very new site. And you’ll notice that even though there’s not a lot of content, we do have a post in two different languages. So there is enough that if we had an English or an Italian speaking visitor, they might want a language switcher. If we go to Appearance widgets, we see that polylang has added a language switcher widget to the site. We’ll add that widget to the footer widget area. And also make sure that it’s available for all languages. This drop down gives you the ability to change which widgets appear for which languages. For example, if you have a text widget in English, you can make sure it only shows on the English version of your site. I’m going to select the option to show the names and flags of the languages and save. Once we add that we can navigate back to the home page of our site and see how it works. So if I go down to the footer widget area of my site where I added the language switcher, you can see that we now have just that a language switcher. Clicking here allows me to switch between Italian and English. Keep in mind that while this is the default style for the language switcher, its appearance will change based on the theme you’re using and if you make any of your own modifications, and there you have it, this is just one of the many ways that you can set up a multilingual site with WordPress.

Naoko Takano 12:01
After you install and activate translate press, you will see a red notification bubble next to the Settings menu. mouse over it and set the Translate press sub menu. This is the transit press settings page. This time will will translate English content to Japanese next to all languages. Select Japanese by clicking on the Choose drop down and entering gap. Then search Japanese from the list and press add the reversion of the transit press plugin let you add only one language pair. Below the setting. There are some other options such as whether or not you want to display the native language name, use a sub directly for the URL of the default language and force language and custom links without language encoding. You can also set up options for the language switcher, but I’ll leave them as default settings for now. Before leaving the screen, make sure to hit Save Changes. Okay, now you have established our language pair of English and Japanese. Let’s start translating. Next to the General tab is a blue transept site tab. When you click it, a new browser tab will launch. On this page, you can hover over any text, click on the pencil icon, then modify the translation in the sidebar. After editing, don’t forget to save translation. For link, you can even translate the title attribute and a target link or upload a translated version of a media file to open as a link target. It’s helpful to remember, you can use a keyboard shortcut, which is control plus s to say, to review any changes you made, use the language drop down menu at the top of the left sidebar. This screen works like the theme customizer. You can click links to go to another page and translate text within that page. Once you finish editing, you can close the window to go back to the settings screen. The free version of translate press comes with automatic translation integration for Google Translate. If you want to automatically pre translate the content to assist your translation process, you will still need to pay Google for the API key usage fee after a certain number of translations beyond the preview. If you prefer deep out you need a paid subscription for that translate press Adam forward. You can find more information about the bell upgrade and other paid add ons from the add on tab here. The license tab is where you enter the license key For the add ons Advanced tab has more settings for troubleshooting and other special cases. You can exclude strings to translate, set up the date format for each language, or other custom language. Now that you’re all set on the back end, check out your new multilingual site from the front end. The default style of the language switcher appears at the bottom of the page. You can switch languages using this and now you see the translation live on your site.

Workshop Details


Naoko Takano

I am a full-time sponsored contributor at Automattic. My current focus area is contributor experience improvement, including the Five for the Future and the WordPress Contributor Mentorship Program.

I have been involved in the Japanese WordPress community to help with translation, documentation, WordCamps & Meetups.
WordPress 日本語翻訳についての情報をお探しの方はこちらをご覧ください。

– Former Japanese Team Locale Manager (2008-2024)
– Former Japanese General Translation Editor (GTE)
– Polyglots Team Global Mentor
– Community Team Program Manager (Deputy)
– WordCamp Asia 2020 & 2023 Global Lead

Erica Varlese

Hi! I’m a Community Deputy, WordCamp organizer, Project Translation Editor (PTE) for Brazilian Portuguese, and former Polyglots team rep. My contributions to the WordPress project are sponsored by Automattic, and I spend most of my time contributing to the Polyglots and Community teams. My WordPress journey began a little more than 10 years ago, when I started my blog while working as a freelance writer. In my offline life, I love travel, coffee, and learning languages.