WordPress Polyglots Team Fuels International Community Growth with 3rd Global Translation Day

The 3rd Global WordPress Translation Day has been set for September 30, 2017. The success of previous events has generated momentum to continue the 24-hour global translation sprints and has also increased the visibility of the Polyglots team’s contributions. These sprints have provided a catalyst for the team’s growth from 5,000 contributors in April 2015 to 17,000 in November 2016. The greater WordPress community has also grown in tandem, as reliable translations are the lifeblood of international WordPress usage.

One way of measuring the growth of the global community is the checking the status of local meetups. After the addition of the dashboard events widget in WordPress 4.8, the community has seen a sharp rise in meetup group growth, according to recent stats from the community team. The widget displays local WordPress events for logged-in users.

“It’s safe to say that the widget has achieved its goals admirably — since WordPress 4.8 was released a little over a month ago, 31 new meetup groups have been formed with 15,647 new members across the whole program,” Hugh Lashbrooke said. “This is compared to 19 new groups and only 7,071 new members in the same time period last year.”

Much of that growth can be attributed to the growth of the international WordPress community, which has continued to advance the concept of regional WordCamps for countries and continents. These include events such as WordCamp Netherlands, WordCamp Europe, and the planned WordCamp Asia, that bring larger groups of WordPress enthusiasts together around a common region.

In 2014, the WordPress community hosted 80 WordCamps in 29 countries. At the conclusion of 2016, there were 115 total WordCamps hosted in 41 different countries.

WordPress’ usage continues to grow every year, and the percentage of non-English-speaking users is also expanding. In 2014, non-English WordPress downloads surpassed English downloads for the first time.

Last July, 53.9% of WordPress sites used the English (US) locale. That number has dropped to 50% as of today, as international usage continues to rise.

Stats from WordPress.org July 2017

Rahul Bansal’s lightning talk at WordCamp Europe identified one example of how the translation sprints are bringing in new contributors in India. In the past, meetup groups have had a problem with retaining new users, who often come to their first meetup lacking both a sense of belonging and confidence in contributing. Bansal and other Polyglots members had an idea to remove this block to contributing by getting new users involved in translating WordPress.

During the last global translation day event, Bansal helped organize a local group to translate WordPress core into Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati. They also translated the subtitles for the WordPress 4.6 release video. The key was that the leaders did not participate in translating strings but rather focused on guiding new translators – 90% ended up being first-time contributors.

WordPress 4.6 shipped with support for 50 languages and the complete Gujarati translation was added to core just a few days before the release. Its inclusion in the release made WordPress more accessible to approximately 65.5 million Gujarati speakers worldwide.

The 3rd Global WordPress Translation Day falls on the same day that the United Nations has designated as International Translation Day, a new initiative to recognize “the role of professional translation in connection with nations and fostering peace, understanding, and development.”

WordPress has only just begun to explore its potential to democratize publishing and hasn’t even cracked the ice in terms of usage across the world’s most popular languages. Sites using the various Chinese and Arabic locales make up less than 2% of international usage, despite these languages having more than a billion native speakers combined. If WordPress adoption takes off in these parts of the world, it will create a whole new wave of contribution and vastly expand the world market for commercial plugins and themes. The Polyglots team are on the forefront of making this possible.

The first two WPTranslationDay events were held in April and November of 2016. The second event had a 74% increase in participation over the first with a total of 780 translators participating. This year organizers are aiming to host more local translation sprints to surpass the 67 held in November. If you want to join the Polyglots team to help serve WordPress’ growing international community, you can attend or organize one of the local events, watch sessions live on CrowdCast, organize a remote event, become a speaker, or start translating at translate.wordpress.org.

11 Comments


  1. It is surprising WordPress has much use in other languages when you look at how poor the homepages like es.wordpress.org are. (Half the page talks about wp-config.php and mentions WordPress 2.7.)

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    1. Most Rosetta sites aren’t managed by active people, which is sad, as people can only use WordPress in their local language, but can’t find more info about the project in their locale, including how to translate it to their language.

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    2. Hi Matt!

      yes we may have some pages not updated (we do us much as we can) but, in the other hand, we update and work a lot in other pages in the Rosetta sites:

      – Contribute page helps a lot for onboarding: https://es.wordpress.org/colabora/
      – We have an updated Meetup list page. Our community makes big efforts on helping other WordPress users to organize new Meetups and WordCamps (maybe 10 next year) https://es.wordpress.org/colabora/comunidad/meetups-en-activo/
      – We use the blog to publish each week the Meetups and WordCamps events https://es.wordpress.org/news/
      – The team blog it’s also used to organize the different contribution teams: https://es.wordpress.org/team/

      I think, as we spoke in the CS, that the major “problem” is that Rosetta sites are quite limited (taking in account that they are a WordPress Site). So sometimes you feel without “illusion” to try to do new things. You can’t install plugins, for example us I suggested in CS, to automatically show the next Meetups/WordCamps in a Widget on the sidebar.

      I know that we can do it better, and will try to and do our best. I will take the challenge of updating the homepage of the es.wordpress.org site.

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    3. Hi Matt!

      That has been a very poor and sad comment about the Spanish community, one of the most active community in translations, meetups, WordCamps, etc.

      We have asked for the new design a long time ago and we’re still waiting.

      By the way, the es.wordpress.org page is a bit more informative than others, and covers installation instructions from 2.1 to 3.7 (when everything changed).

      Have a cup of tea and relax ;)

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    4. Dear Matt,

      this phenomenon has historical reasons in my opinion.

      When I began my contributions to the project in spring 2012 there was a Rosetta page for the German speaking community, which was only used to build the release packages.

      You know the history of the German speaking community well, I guess. ;-)

      There was a community driven forum and a community site beyond the .org ecosystem. I remember the struggles we had to fill the Rosetta site with related content at the beginning. It was hard to switch from a working community site with full edit rights to a .org restricted backend of a Rosetta site.

      Andrew Nacin knows how often I bothered him to get more functionality on the local sites like a team P2/O2.

      Since the Contributor Day 2014 at the WordCamp Hamburg, we have a bigger team in the German speaking community. One sub-group is responsible for the content creation of the local site https://de.wordpress.org/. It is really great to watch this shift.

      5 years after I picked up the role as locale manager for #de_DE I saw a lot of improvements. There are many open tickets to get closed to make the administration of a local site easier and more comfortable.

      But I can imagine, that locales with a lower count of active volunteering members are struggling with that kind of work.

      This is one reason, why the Polyglots team does is organizing the Global WordPress Translation Day.

      As long as the most of the Polyglots are volunteers we can’t expect a fast ongoing. But we will do our best to motivate and educate to do it better.

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    5. We decided at es_ES to use the main page only for important updates so people do not get confused and lost the .org main updates. We basically replicate the main wp.org blog.

      We use the other sites for weekly updates like https://es.wordpress.org/news/

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  2. I’m wondering whether waiting strings also got approved (or rejected) during these translating days, or not. When I take a look at my own plugins there are many strings waiting to get approved for quite some time now. I cannot take care of them myself because I’m not a native speaker and don’t know people who are.

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    1. @Guido I totally understand your concerncs. The Polyglots team is working on improvements how to reduce waiting strings. One goal of the third Global WordPress Translation Day is the onboarding of new project translation editors which are translation contributors with rights to review and approve waiting strings.

      In your case I recommend to get in touch with the GTEs of the locales with waiting strings. Every locale team has mostly it’s own approval process. You’ll find more information, how to contact them on the Polyglots Handbook: https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/handbook/about/teams/

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      1. Hi Birgit,

        I have already posted a request on the polyglots page some time ago regarding locales that where (almost) fully translated and some friendly helpful GTEs did approve strings and even translated some strings. So yes, asking GTEs directly helps for sure.

        I hope your team will find a solid solution to reduce the amount of waiting strings. Keep up the good work!

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