What if you could change the WordPress language and have all the WordPress menus in your native language? What if a client of yours asked for a translated version of WordPress so they could navigate on their site and publish content easier? Wouldn’t it be a nice addition to your WordPress arsenal if you could change the English that WordPress uses to a more localized language? Well, get ready because in this short guide you will find out how you can easily do this on your own.
WordPress Language 101
Before we continue on how you can change the language that WordPress uses, we’d better take a step back and make sure we speak the same language. Simply put, there’s much misunderstanding when it comes to WordPress languages. People refer to Site Language, WordPress Language, and Dashboard Language without knowing what each of these terms means. So, we’d better clarify the above terms to have a solid foundation in our conversation. A list containing the explanation of each term follows:
- Site Language is the language in which the content of your website is shown to the visitors when they arrive at one of your pages or posts.
- Dashboard Language is the language in which the WordPress Dashboard elements are shown. This includes the navigation bar, the login screens, the settings screens etc.
- WordPress Language is a rather abstract term resulting in the misunderstanding of the whole WordPress Language concept by millions of WordPress users. While some people think of WordPress Language as the interface language (i.e. dashboard language), others think that this term is about the front-end (visitor) language. Let’s try to not use this term from now on, to avoid any further
OK! I got it! How can I change the WordPress Site Language?
Changing the default WordPress Site Language is a very easy process. To be more specific, it has only recently become a very easy process. In previous WordPress versions many people couldn’t figure out how to do it, as some coding skills were required. However, the only thing you have to do now is follow the easy steps presented below:
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 2: Locate the “Settings” tab on your navigation bar.
Step 3: Click on the “General” tab.
Step 4: Locate the “Site Language” section, pick the language you want and click “Save Changes”. To find out which languages and locales exist so far, you can visit the following link: https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/
As soon as you finish selecting your language and saving the changes, the Dashboard reloads and it is now translated to the language you’ve selected above. If you visit your site now, you’ll find out that the menus, widget names, and even some pages’ titles will be translated as well. Of course, your content will remain as it was before. We are not talking about a multilingual site here. You’ve just changed the WordPress Dashboard language and the names of some menus and default pages.
“Oh! Snap! I just wanted to change my WordPress Dashboard language. I didn’t want any changes on my front-end web-site!”
Relax! We are not done yet! You are about to find out how you can change only the Dashboard language to avoid any changes on how your visitors view your website. In fact, this should be a standard WordPress function, but it is not implemented yet. So, we will use a plugin specifically tailored for this purpose. Its name is R3DF – Dashboard Language Switcher. What this plugin does is what its name reveals. It translates ONLY your WordPress Dashboard Language. PERIOD! No further element translations, no messing with your front-end site content. No further worries. Just a WordPress Dashboard language change! To use the plugin just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress Dashboard.
Step 2: Locate the “Plugins” tab on your navigation menu and click on “Add New”.
Step 3: Type R3DF – Dashboard Language Switcher in the search box, or simply type R3DF.
Step 4: Install and activate the plugin.
Step 5: Choose your desired language from the menu that appears at the top of your screen.
Step 6 (Optional): Navigate to the plugin settings and choose what the plugin will translate.
HINT: If no languages appear in the drop down menu mentioned in Step 5, you can install them using this little trick. Navigate to the language settings, as shown in the last paragraph. Pick the language you want. WordPress will install it automatically. Then pick the default language again (English) and click save. Now, the “R3DF – Dashboard Language Switcher” plugin will be able to locate and use your newly installed language. Its developers omitted to create a language pick menu, but you’ve just found a workaround. You can now change your WordPress Dashboard language to whichever you like or your clients like.
This sums up our guide on how to change your WordPress Language, whether it is your Site Language or Dashboard Language. If you want to change them simultaneously WordPress got you covered. If you want to change only the WordPress Dashboard Language, download and use the “R3DF – Dashboard Language Switcher” plugin, as shown above. Just a quick reminder here: This guide doesn’t explain how to create a multilingual WordPress site. This could be the subject of another guide, should you want us to write. Thank you for reading!