Ways of Translating a WordPress Theme for Improving Accessibility

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Accessibility and usability of a website can help you increase the flow of web traffic on your site across the globe. Letting website owners manage their sites in their native languages can help you improve the accessibility of a website. If you create a WordPress site that has readers or visitors from non-English speaking countries, then you should translate your WordPress theme in the preferred language(s).

However, most of the users think that localization of the theme means translation of the content on the frontend such as blog posts and pages. But in reality, it refers to the theme-related content in the admin area. It includes a description, the customizer, and options of a WordPress theme.

The WordPress Core team always concentrates on the translation of WordPress core.  In fact, it has already translated into multiple foreign languages that make WordPress a World’s leading content management system.

Localization of a WordPress theme can be helpful for those who use the admin area in their native language, otherwise, an essential section of their admin area or setting will be presented in English, while the other sections in their native language. It is not as fluent as you think.

What is the difference between Internationalization and Localization?

If you want to translate a WordPress theme into other languages, then you need to follow 2 significant steps:

  • Internationalization (I18n), and
  • Localization (I10n).

Internationalization is a process that allows theme developers to add features into their themes to help you create the translation-ready theme in the next process. In other words, when a theme is embedded with internationalization features, it is called translation-ready, but, still; you need to translate it into other languages.

Translation occurs during the Localization process. It happens when a translator/developer/ site owner translates the theme into a foreign language =using the features of Internationalization in the theme.

In this blog post, we will explore the process of translating a WordPress theme in the foreign languages such as (French, Spanish, etc).

1.Discover Translation-Ready WordPress Themes

Localization of a WordPress theme is as simple as speaking the selected language. For that, you don’t need to be a developer or programmer.

Firstly, you need to find out the most suitable translation-ready WordPress theme. You can visit the WordPress Theme Directory to download the reliable translation- ready WordPress theme.

Thereafter, you need to click on the “Feature Filter”, cross-check the “Translation Ready” feature, bang on the “Apply Filters” icon and select the desired theme.

2.Incorporate Translation with Poedit

Using a translation-ready theme means the author already embedded internationalization features to it. Every translation-ready theme includes a file, along with them .POT extension to let you translate the theme with ease.

First, you need to find out this file – which is located inside the /languages folder. The .POT file is a translation template file that you can translate into any other language. But for that, you need to load this file into the Poedit translation editor program.

Poedit is an incredible tool that allows you to write translations for any website or software that uses Gettext for localization such WordPress. Since Poedit is a standalone program functioning for your desktop, so you need to download and install it on your desktop first.

Translation-Ready WordPress Themes

Once you are done with the Poedit’s installation process, you will see the following screen:

a)Build a new translation

Sadly, the “Translate WordPress theme” option can only be selected by those who upgrade to Poedit Pro. Thereafter, you can select the second option, which is “Create new translation”.

After hitting on it, you can choose the .pot file that you have previously located. After that, you need to select the language in which you want to translate your WordPress theme.

b)Translate the file

Poedit program lets you translate the file into any other language with ease.  Since the source text is sliced into shorter strings, you can easily translate these strings one by one. In fact, you don’t need to translate an entire file at once; you can save your work and get back to it whenever you want to.

c)Cross-check translation properties

It is better to check the translation properties before saving the translation. You can find them in the Catalogue > Properties top bar menu item. However, the first two items inside the Translation Properties Pop-up, the Project name, and the Language are set as default by Poedit, but, still, it is necessary to concentrate on the next item, Plural Forms.

Plural Forms are a crucial aspect of translation because in every language plurals follow particular patterns that can be utilized by translation editor software.

However, the Poedit sets the default plural translation rules, but you can customize them according to your needs.

d)Save the Translation files

It becomes essential to use the right format while saving your translation file. At the end of the file’s name, you need to add the relevant country and language code.

WordPress makes the use of gettext language-country codes, you need to include the most suitable language code first and at the end, including the country code.

Fortunately, Poedit is a user-friendly program that lets you save the translation file within a few clicks. It also offers the right language code inside the “Save as…” pop up window. Here, the first two letters stand for language code, and the second two letters for the country code.

You also need to write the name of the WordPress theme before mentioning the language-country code. The example file will be saved as the themename_es_ES.po file name. The .PO file includes the translation, and you can open it if you want to customize the translation later.

 e)Upload your translation file

Once your translation files get ready, you can upload the modified theme to your server using an FTO client. You can either upload an entire theme again or also insert only the two new translation files to the /languages folder of your WordPress theme.

Conclusion

Translating a WordPress theme to any of your preferred languages can help you increase the accessibility of your website. You can create two separate translation files (a .PO and a .MO file) using Poedit program for each language.

This is really a cool process that can help you engage global visitors towards your website, without any heavy lifting. All you need to do is to follow these simple yet effective steps.

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