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How to Find a Translatable WordPress Theme

If you're building a multilingual WordPress site, you need a multilingual WordPress theme.

You don't necessarily need a theme that has been translated, but you do need a theme that can be translated.

Let me show you how you can find a translatable theme.

If you want to get started quickly, watch the video guide below. This video is taken from the "How to Build Multilingual Sites With WordPress" class on YouTube. Scroll down below the video for the text-and-image tutorial:

Translate WordPress Themes from WordPress.org

Go to WordPress.org and right at the top, click "Themes". The tool we're going to use on this page is called the "Feature Filer":

feature filter

Look in the center columns called "Features" and check the box at very bottom that says "Translation Ready". Click the "Apply Filters" button.

Translate WordPress Themes on WordPress.org

After you search for "Translation Ready" themes, you'll see all results. You can see there were 2,682 translation-ready themes when I created this tutorial.

Translated WordPress Themes on WordPress.org

Let's dive down and inspect an individual theme. Click the "More Info" text over one of the themes:

Translate WordPress Themes using Wordpress.org tooks

It's one thing for a developer to say that their theme is translation-ready but how can you prove it really is?

On the right-hand side of a theme page, click the "Subversion Repository" link:

subversion repository

  • You will now see all the different versions of this theme:

Translate WordPress Themes versions

  • Click to visit the latest version of theme you're looking at. In the image above, that means version 1.0.9.
  • Look for the style.css file (every single theme has a style.css).

style css

The one thing we're looking for in this file is always near the top and it's a "text domain" line. In the image belowm the text domain is "type". The content of the "text domain" line doesn't matter. It just needs to be a unique keyword for translatng this theme. If the "text domain" line exists, you're good to go.

text domain

I mentioned that the "text domain" line is enough, but I'll show you one more trick to check the quality of your theme. Click on the header.php file and we're going to look for some translation functions.

header

On this page we're looking for a function reference for a translation function called "underscore E". You can find out more about WordPress translation functions here. That page has a list of all of the translation functions that help you translate WordPress themes. You don't necessarily need to know what they do - you simply need to know that they exist. You just need to know that they're in the code for your theme.

Look in the image below and you can see the "underscore E" function used for the "Skip to content" text. This means that any translated text that has been escaped for safe use. A little further down the page, there's another translation function: esc_attr_e on WordPress.org. You don't necessarily need to know what they're doing the mere fact that they're in the code tells you that the developer is aware of the concept of internationalization and has prepared this theme for it.

Translate WordPress Themes with functions

More Reading on Multilingual WordPress Topics

You can also check out more WordPress multilingual tutorials from OSTraining:


About the author

Topher is an accomplished programmer, having written his own content management systems and managed some very large websites. He loves to help people and believes playing with WordPress is fun. Topher lives in Michigan, USA.